Eco-Farm Waldenstein (Beinwil SO)
Description: “Waldenstein” is situated along a nature reserve and has a large variation of plants and wild animals. The main intent of the farm is to assure the existing large biodiversity with an ecological and economically sustainable management of 23 hectares. A second goal is to establish a social farm. Caring for adolescents or people with difficulties is part of our daily life. The farm raises Scottish highland cattle, sheep, goats and keeps horses. It also cultivates different fruits, berries and herbs. In a context where agriculture is in great difficulty and a lot of agricultural farms close, Waldenstein appears to be in counter-trend and is on the way to organize a community supported farm - farm supported community.
Type of Work: During summer the main work is takes place on the fields and forest of the farm: collect hay on the meadows, improving the paths in the forest, reconstructing, repairing and building new ecosystems for our amphibians, birds, reptiles and all the other animals living on the farm; setting up livestock fences, cleaning out the pasture from bushes, unwanted herbs and pest plants and cleaning different big pools on the river. Another project is the realization of locations for a land-art and a nature-pedagogical project in the forest and the fields. Volunteers would also take turns to cook for everyone working on the farm (around 15 people together with the volunteer group).
Study Theme: You will get informed about our intentions of biodiversity, sustainable ecosystems and organic farming. It is not possible to understand a holistic perspective of an organic farm within 2 weeks. We work on what needs to be done in the time. You’re also welcome to approach us proactively with specific questions about topics of the eco-farm work, you’d like to know more about. Additionally we usually do an international evening, where every nation shortly presents itself in whatever way you want.
Accommodation: Living conditions are simple. For sleeping, you can choose between 1) the hay barn and 2) bringing your own tent for more privacy. Please, in any case bring a warm sleeping bag! There's a modern toilet and 1 hot shower in the house + outside shower and a natural toilet. There is a well-equipped outside kitchen + indoor kitchen (in case of heavy rain).
Language: Required camp language is English; the local language is Swiss German; the project partner on the farm speaks English, German and French.
Requirements: Please be aware that some work tasks are really demanding and lasting 6-7 hours a day. No special skills/experience is needed. You will get sweaty, dirty and happy. And don't underestimate the importance of good shoes - this means not just simple hiking shoes but ones suitable for working on a farm that are hard enough to support your ankles!
Approximate Location: The Farm “Waldenstein” is situated in Beinwil in the Solothurner Jura in the northwest region of Switzerland, 30 km from Basel where Swiss-German language is spoken. Beinwil is a small Swiss village where 300 people are living on their own farms. The Waldenstein farm is situated in the mountain region of Jura at the altitude of 700 meters above sea.
Notes: Please keep in mind that even in summer it can get cold in night (as low as 8-10°C).
It is hard and demanding work – but astonishingly satisfying too. On a farm work can be repetitive, at a first glance boring and only from a holistic point of view understandable as a necessity.
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