help exchange   Host 56200
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All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 2.5
Persons: 1 - 3
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 56200
Region: Midwest

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Last Updated: March 24, 2020

Hi there! If you want to experience many different things, this may be the place for you! I have a small organic farm with over 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, as well as many other native plant species. I also have a Natural Foods Store and deli (We have lots of posts and photos on FB and IG). The store is located in a town in Iowa with a population of 10,000 in the winter and 100,000+ in the summer, because of all the seasonal residents and people who come to vacation at the lakes. The farm is located in a town in Minnesota, 33 miles from the store, with a population of about 40!

I would like to find 1-3 individuals, or a couple, who are willing and able to come here for an extended stay, if not the entire growing season, which is April Ė October. Shorter stays by additional people may be okay, but my main focus, and need, is to find people who will be here for most of this time frame, who can consistently and reliably help with growing things at the farm, and who will help sell things at one or more of the farmers markets. I prefer longer stays by people who I would only have to teach or train once, and who can then do things without needing a lot of additional supervision, as opposed to having to spend a lot of time training new people frequently.

What we do is sometimes different from day to day, or week to week, depending on what needs to be done at the farm or store, what projects or events are going on, what the weather is going to be like, how long you are staying, what your interests are, etc., so it would be great if you are flexible, easy-going, adaptable, ambitious and spontaneous! You would have a minimum of 2 days off per week, in most cases, but at the same time, the standard work exchange program of working 5 hours a day, for 5 days a week, in exchange for room, board and education, may or may not always fit very well with the kind of schedule or arrangement that we have, or that is needed.

If you stay for 3 months or longer, and you are legally eligible to work in the U.S., then you may be able to work as a part-time paid employee at the store, either making things in the kitchen, or as a cashier. There may also be an opportunity for you to do some graphic design, photography, marketing, website development or social media work too, if you are so inclined. In addition, if you have any talents, skills, hobbies, professions or interests that you would like to try to make money with, on the side, by selling your products or services at the store, farmers market, or other places and events, we may be able to arrange that! Once again, it really depends on you, what your interests are, and what you want to do or learn! Since we have such a wide selection of herbs, fruits, berries, flowers, and other things that are available here, there is an endless array of things can be made or done. So if you are looking for a place, or project, that you can really sink your teeth, or roots, into for a while, and let your creative juices flow, this might just be it?!!

NOTE: I seem to get a lot of messages from people, especially from other countries, who want to come here sometime between November and February while it is winter, but unless you are wanting to spend that time doing indoor projects, getting a jump start on working at the store, or on making things that you might want to sell this summer, such as jewelry, art, paintings, soap, lotion, infusions, brewing, etc., then there is probably not going to be much for you to do here during this time, until it decides to be spring outside.

Since 2010, I have hosted over 60 people from all over the world thru several different work exchange organizations. I like to have fun, and I go to as many as 10 music festivals a year, and sometimes I go on roadtrips where mountains, forests, waterfalls, hot springs, lakes, beaches, camping, hiking, tubing, bonfires, etc. are involved. If you are here at the time that I am doing any of this, you may be able to come along, if you would like, and if it works out to do so.

While I do not have any animals that I claim as my own, there are a number of cats that prowl around the neighborhood, including 4 that were born here in the spring of 2019 (The Snarlingtons), and have since taken up residency in the chicken tractor and cathouse that I built. I do not let them, or any other animals, into the house, however, in case someone comes here who is allergic. If you want to have bees, chickens, ducks, rabbits, goats, sheep, etc., you may be able to do that, if you are going to stay here long enough for that to be a realistic endeavor, and as long as that isnít going to end up creating too much additional work for me! There is an elk ranch across the road, and I have another neighbor that does animal rescue who has all sorts of hairy 4-legged creatures!

What you make of this opportunity is up to you! It is my hope that you make the most of it, and that we have a fantastic, and mutually beneficial time, while you are here. If you have any sort of habits, issues or addictions that might get in the way of that happening, however, then coming here may not be the best idea! Otherwise, if you have any questions, or if you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, then please send me a message. Thank you!


I want to keep this as short as I can, but yet try to properly and fully convey what happened. Carmen Lindsley applied to come here. She made herself out to seem nice, normal and educated in my preliminary communications with her before she came. After her arrival, however, it didn't take long before things started to happen that were just very bazaar, upsetting and unsettling.

Whatever terrible abuse or trauma that Carmen must have gone thru in her life, and was suffering from thereafter, she tried to project that onto the people who were around her, while she was here, in various different ways. Everyone tried to get along with her, but too often, she made doing that, or even having a civil conversation with her, to be almost impossible.

If Carmen ever felt angry, sad, lonely, afraid or upset while she was here, it was mostly a result of her own doing, rather than because of the actions of anyone else. Carmen mostly kept to herself, except for the times where she would get bored with that, or whatever, and then she would go way out of her way to hunt people down, just in order to create drama with them that otherwise would not have existed, and then upon doing so, she would retreat back to her tent in the back woods again, where she insisted on staying, and that's where she would spend most of her time, so she was hardly ever even in the house.

On top of that, the smoke that Carmen referred to was in the front yard, not in the house, and it was only a problem between her and Kenny because she forced the issue, and made it out to be one. Carmen would try to push people's buttons, manipulate them, and twist around their words and actions, in order to suit the narratives that she wanted to push, and often times, she wouldn't leave people alone until they would finally react to her in the negative manner that she seemed to be seeking and wanting, so that she could then make herself out to be the victim of some one or some thing. Carmen said and did stuff that was just incredibly off the wall, at times, and she would try to use religion to push her agenda and narrative upon others, and if they wouldn't agree with her, or go along with whatever she was saying, then she would start making all sorts of wild and crazy accusations or allegations against them.

Before arriving, I had told Carmen that by staying for 3 months or longer, she would be able to work at the store and the farmers market, but then upon letting her do so, I observed how she talked and acted towards some of my customer's in a similar fashion to the way that she behaved towards people at the farm. Upon seeing the bewildered or angry looks that some of the customers would get, it quickly became quite clear that there was no way that I could allow her to continue to work at either of those places, and she didn't like that. I imagine that's what the "broken promises" are that Carmen is referring to. I didn't lie, I just did what was best for everyone involved, other than her. She had told me that she had been fired from the last place that she had worked at, and now I was seeing, firsthand, the likely reason as to why that happened.

One day, Carmen's behavior upset the other work exchange people so much, that finally, enough was enough, and so I went to go tell her that it would be best if she left, only to find that she, and all of her stuff, were already gone! But not without her leaving a path of chaos and destruction in her wake.

After disappearing from the farm, Carmen then called the police and child services, in what appeared to be an attempt to tear apart the work exchange family that was here that she didn't get along with. After asking us a few questions, the Sheriff seemed to quickly realize that Carmen's claims were unfounded. No one, other than Carmen, saw any problem with a little 3-year old hippy girl running naked thru a garden sprinkler and laughing with glee when it was 95 degrees outside! A city administrator then came asking questions, because Carmen apparently had gone to some church in a town 5 miles away, where she had started all kinds of drama there, in trying to force some church members to give her a ride somewhere, and threatening them if they didn't. Then she made a fake profile on this site, and sent me a message, saying that she was interested in coming here, only to then, after I replied, send me a nasty message.

It seems as though this reference that Carmen wrote has FAR more to do with whatever trauma and abuse that she must have gone thru with her own family than it did with anything that she actually experienced while she was here. In no way do I mean to marginalize or be insensitive to what she must have gone thru, but still, that is no excuse for her to come here, cause mayhem, and behave towards others in the manner that she did! Carmen's departure actually came as a great relief. Everyone was then able to relax, work, and be at peace, without the stressful sideshow drama.

I hope that Carmen got whatever sort of professional help and support that she needed, and I hope that anyone who reads this, will do so objectively, when considering whether to come here. There were 4 other work exchange people here at the same time as Carmen, one of which liked to go dumpster diving for fun, and what always went on, or was said or done between them, I don't know. That's kinda beyond my control. So whatever their interactions were, that really has nothing to do with me, and it shouldn't have any bearing on the opportunity that exists here for anyone now, 3 years later, as all of those people have long since moved on. The reference that Carmen wrote is not at all indicative of the way things are here, but once it's on the website, there's nothing I can do about it, other than to write this in response! Thank you!

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