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July '19 - Volunteering on a perma-culture farm

Updated: Oct 11, 2019

Already partly covered in an earlier diary entry, while staying in Maastricht in July I spent about 3 weeks working as a volunteer on a perma-culture farm about 30min away by bus just near the German border. I found the farm via the workaway website and thought it would be interesting to see what type of projects are happening in the area.

The 'farm' was a small scale (3 ha) set up and not for commercial purposes, just a project started by a Dutch couple who have a keen interest in sustainability. Looking at the workaway website, they're not the only ones, there's similar projects happening everywhere.

Local resident

The farm was located in a beautiful area and they've really turned the place into a sanctuary of sorts for a whole array of animals, insects and bird life. It also has a spring-fed creek running through the property that provides fresh water and a good place to swim during hot weather (and occasionally it was hot!). The creek is also coincidentally the actual border between The Netherlands and Germany, kind of funny swimming literally on the border.

So what did I spend my time doing there? Mostly I was working inside the house, which they're renovating in an ecological manner. Perma-culture also involves re-using materials, so the house is progressively being put together with whatever the volunteers can find! My main contribution was an abstract upgrade of the ... smallest room in the house (toilet). I also did some application of loam to walls, plumbing and other random tasks it turns out I am clearly untrained for - I don't recommend using a powered table-saw for fine woodwork. And I did garden work: picking plums, cherries, various berries, weeding, and collecting water from the creek.

The swimming hole - the water could never be classified as warm

The other volunteers were a great bunch. The Hungarian bike-packer who plans to do the workaway thing for his whole life, the 30 yo Italian still finding his path, and for a short while a 20 yo Swiss lingerie embroidery designer...

I would like to come back to this place as it really is quite special. Photo gallery below, noting all these were taken on my phone.

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