Want to volunteer on a low-impact, off-grid settlement?

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Posted Aug 4 2016 by James Dexter of Ecological Land Co-op
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Hello – we are James and Sukamala, tenants at Wild Geese Acres, Greenham Reach, which is an off-grid, low-impact farming project established in north Devon by the Ecological Land Coop  (ELC) – see website. http://ecologicalland.coop.

We have provisional planning permission to live on the land and build a low impact dwelling. If you put ‘wild geese acres’ into a Google maps search you will get our exact location or use this postcode: TA21 0JY.

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We are on track to fulfill the financial and functional test in order for us to gain permanent planning permission and build a low- impact dwelling on site. Our salad leaf business is thriving and demand is still outstripping supply. We are now in organic certification transition through the soil association and expect to be certified by Feb 2018. We have plans to produce organic pork and lamb in our 6 acre agro-forestry field which will have fruit, coppice, nut and amenity trees.

We are looking for someone (friends and couples considered too) to help out on our smallholding for the remainder of the season with our established salad and veg business and to help with livestock and practical building and maintenance jobs. We are looking for a medium-term commitment e.g. you could come for 3 weeks in the summer or from mid-August to the end of October. Most work/exchange requests will be considered. In the long term if you want to consider this for next year starting in March 2017 then we would love to hear from you too.

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In exchange for 4 days work a week we are offering accommodation in a large static caravan, utilities are included – there is solar PV electricity and gas for cooking and a wood burner for heating. We have broadband but it is quite slow being in a rural setting. Water is collected from rainwater tanks and a borehole which is treated with carbon filters and a UV filter. There is a shared compost toilet on site and we have plumbed in water and showers in the caravans.

You would be responsible for your own needs around food but are welcome to take produce from the garden as needed. The schedule of work could be flexible and negotiable depending on your/my needs/commitments but is likely to follow a regular working week pattern in order to tap into local markets and retail outlets. The larger 6 acre field is under development for livestock and trees.

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The kind of work that needs doing is:

  • Tending the market garden, picking, packing and selling salad
  • Working on farm infrastructure (irrigation, ancillary buildings etc)
  • Tending livestock
  • Tree planting
  • Building: insulating the current statics and other projects.

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You will get the chance to learn about:

  • Innovative food growing techniques (eg no dig agriculture)
  • sustainable land management (eg mob grazing)
  • Low-impact building
  • Off-grid energy production
  • Organic food marketing and sales.

We encourage learning and development in areas that you might be interested in – all ideas can be discussed and considered while you are here.

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As this is a low carbon project we do have limitations on vehicles and trips too and from the site. These specific limitations can be discussed on an individual basis.

So, if you are interested in living an off-grid, low-impact lifestyle on the land, rent and bill-free in a beautiful part of Devon with good transport links to London and the south west then get in touch for a chat at:

[email protected]
01823 673278
07875729205

Many thanks