Learn cooking & farming skills
We love hosting volunteers and our farm absolutely thrives with your help.
Interns allow us to do more seed sowing, harvesting and dehydrating. We can preserve and try new recipes, make gnocchi and tagliatelle. There are herbs to harvest and store, wildflowers to weed and sow. Trees to water and transplant. Chickens to feed and care for. Compost to rake and compost to fill.
Our focus here at Village Dreaming is education and skill-sharing.
We absolutely love teaching, and thrive on sharing our knowledge. If you are a thirsty and attentive student, we would love to host you as a volunteer or intern here at our farm, near Daylesford in Victoria.
We offer two levels of volunteering
We are looking for people who are enthusiastic, reliable, committed and able to contribute with flexibility and proficiency. Someone who is comfortable with words and communication. Who can say “I feel” and “I hope” and “is it possible” and “where can I find” and “would you like me to”…
Stay with us for two weeks.
No two days will be the same. There will be days where we do a lot of one task and days where we do many different tasks.
During your two-week stay (working on week days and having weekends off), you will experience some of the many activities that make up farm life throughout the seasons. This includes cleaning! And we need you to be as enthusiastic about cleaning as all the other tasks.
Please only consider volunteering with us if you are genuinely interested in learning new skills in a ‘doing’ context. And not in a ‘convincing yourself to be interested’ way, but in that emotionally real way. You will know the difference because as you read this you will either experience excitement at my words or apprehension. If you feel excitement then you are right for us.
Very experienced volunteers
Join us for 6 months or a year.
If you are very experienced in growing food or cooking and preserving, we offer you a very special opportunity.
Take a break from your life, from paying rent, from paying bills, from having to think about the meaning of life or your place in it.
Live with us seven days a week, with all meals provided and all bills covered (internet, electricity, heating, streaming services, rent) in exchange for two full days’ work a week (16 hours/ week).
The remaining five days are yours to do as you wish. And we can talk about all the finer details when you get in touch.
What you can expect when volunteering
When volunteering with us, your time might be spent on any of the following tasks:
- Growing food and weeding our two kitchen gardens
- Propagating trees, pruning and watering trees, guarding trees with netting
- Planting and revegetating our land
- Harvesting, preserving, foraging for fruit
- Building infrastructure on-site
- Welcoming guests to our farm
- Caring for poultry
- Baking bread, making yogurt, kneading dough for homemade pasta
- Collecting wild fungi
- Collecting edible flowers for drying
- Making soap from lard
- Drying herbs for teas and stews
- And more!
We need you to be the kind of person that asks “what next?” and “can I help you?”. We need you to share in the daily dishes without needing to be asked.
Your proactiveness really matters and contributes to creating a very nurturing space.
We cook and share all meals together. If you are a very competent cook, it would be a great pleasure to have you finish an hour earlier in exchange for you cooking dinner while we continue with various tasks.
We eat many vegetarian meals. In winter our meat consumption increases as we crave warm stews and hot meals. We are sorry but we are not able to host vegans.
We really cherish and welcome people to become a part of our family during their stay and welcome them to join in activities and social gatherings.
We go to bed early, at 9pm, and need the house to be very quiet from that time onwards.
We use mostly solar hot water and, in winter, our combustion stove to heat water. This means that we often don’t have a lot of hot water. So if you love having frequent showers some will be warm, some will be cold and only very occasionally will they be very hot.
We are very interested and actively pursuing a low carbon life and very much desire to reduce our waste and resource intensity. We do some things really well and others very poorly. We acknowledge this and look forward to being part of a much more ecologically sustainable world.
Features of our permaculture farm
We have two kitchen gardens, ORTO One and ORTO Two. These gardens are designed to produce food for us, our volunteers and our farm stay guests. Excess is bartered. The gardens have peaks of productivity and times of quietness. We use animal manures, straw and green manures to fertilise our soil. We hand weed and use a fork to loosen the soil for new seedlings.
We are working towards being self-sufficient in the following crops: potatoes, asparagus, garlic, artichokes, tomatoes, pumpkins, zucchini, kale, lettuce, spinach, eggplants, peas, edible flowers, sunflowers, herbs, beetroot. And the following fruit trees: apples, quinces, persimmons, cherries, plums, apricots, nashi pears, figs, pears.
We bought 15 acres of land with not a single tree on it, all the plants and trees you will see were planted by us. We have planted thousands of native trees and native grasses. Our plan is to plant until every corner of our property is thriving.
I really, really love gardens, I love the habitat they provide, the beauty and peace they share.
PRESERVING and COOKING
I love to have a larder full of preserves made by us. Most of the preserving happens mid-summer to late autumn. We make all of our own passata, jams, pastes. We dry quinces and make quince paste, we dry nashis and apples and pears when available and mushrooms in winter.
Our first project here was our wetland. We completed earthworks and planted various aquatic plants and hundreds of trees around it. The wetland is very beautiful and provides a fantastic habitat for visiting birds, frogs and insects.
We have a 200,000 L water tank. All our waste water is reused on site and we ask that you treat water for the precious resource that it is.
We look forward to hearing from you. All the very, very best with your travels.