Volunteers at ORTO farm

Volunteer with us at ORTO Permaculture Farm

We love hosting volunteers and thrive on your contributions. Stay with us for one or two weeks, with accommodation and all meals provided.



See below for details.

Features of our permaculture farm

We are on the land of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. My family and I will be here for a microsecond of time compared to ‘from the beginning people’ who cared and continue to care for country. Their love of country is deep and powerful, creating one of the most beautiful continents and the biggest estate on earth.


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
walk behind tractor to prepare 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 & feijoas.



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 paddocks have been planted with nut trees and oaks to help us create a cooler microclimate. Shade trees are extremely important for keeping everyone cool, animals and humans and soil bacteria. 


We have a 200,000 L rain water tank used as drinking water & irrigation. All our wastewater is reused on site and we ask that you treat water for the precious resource that it is. 

Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO farm

What you can expect during your stay


Many of our meals are vegetarian, except in winter when we tend to eat more meat. We can accommodate vegetarians but are unable to cater to vegans.


Accommodation is in our straw home in a simply furnished & beautiful room and you will be sharing the room with one other person. 


An enthusiastic person, with a can-do attitude. Someone comfortable with early mornings, a willingness to learn new skills, to ask questions and to be guided. Reliable, and able to go with the flow, as priorities always change. We regularly get bookings for cooking classes or for our farm stay and hence need to prioritise these bookings when they arrive.


  • Caring for kitchen garden areas: pruning, mulching, seed sowing, transplanting, weeding & watering.
  • Caring for animals, pigs, geese and poultry: feeding, fresh water.
  • Cleaning out the poultry shed and spreading compost rich nutrients in the kitchen garden beds.
  • Caring for berry orchard: weeding, mulching, watering.
  • Watering paddock trees and fruit trees.
  • Pruning prairie garden.
  • Harvesting fruit, vegetables and herbs.
  • Help with setting up for classes and packing up at the end of a class.
  • Help with cleaning and meal preparation. 


I live here at ORTO with my partner Ralf and my two daughters. When you are here there will be either one (you), two, three or four people undertaking the two-week intensive permaculture course.


Our days start very early hence we go to bed early too. At 9pm we ask that you engage in very quiet activities.


Spring & Summer Learning Hours

Total Hours 6am – 1pm.
Breakfast 7:15am -8:15am.
Lunch 1:00pm-2:30pm
Rest Time 2:30pm -5:30pm
Dinner 6:45pm-7:45pm

Autumn Learning Hours

Total Hours 8am-3:00pm
Breakfast 8am-9am
Lunch 1:30pm-3:00pm
Rest Time 3:00pm-5:30pm
Cook together 5:30pm -6:45pm
Dinner ­6:45-7:45pm 


Learn with us five days a week & rest 2 days a week. Rest days: either during the week or on the weekend. If we are running a workshop on the weekend, then your rest days will be during the week. All our workshops are on Sunday’s. See Workshop Tab on my website. 


 We will cook & pack up after each meal.


Please do not hesitate to email me with questions if you need clarification of any of the above. I will love hearing from you. 


Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO farm

More features of our permaculture farm


We have a thriving berry orchard with boysenberries, strawberries, currants, blue berries & jostaberries. These are harvested from early spring to mid-late summer.


A burgeoning olive orchard, with a diversity of olive varieties used for producing oil. Our trees are still young. We hope to start harvesting in a few years’ time.


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.


We are establishing a wildflower meadow, with Blue Devils, Billy Buttons, Drumsticks, & Yellow Buttons & Indigenous grasses such as Wallaby and Kangaroo grass. Once upon a time, prior to colonisation and intensive grazing practices, Victorian grasslands were full of beautiful native grasses and wildflowers. We are working towards re-establishing some wildness back into our landscape.


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 & an idyllic place to swim.


Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO farm
Volunteers at ORTO
Volunteers at ORTO farm