The below description has been provided by our implementing program administrator and is subject to change.

Program Overview

This sustainable farming and café project is located about forty-five minutes from Cork, Ireland’s second largest city. It is surrounded by picturesque countryside with rolling hills, mountains, rivers, and waterfalls. The farm is focused on engaging international volunteers in agricultural and environmental work, as well as selling farm products such as vegetables, eggs, yogurt, and meat in the farm’s café in Cork.

The project strives to create farming and gardening methods that sustain the natural environment. The summer months will place more emphasis on gardening work – maintaining the organic vegetable garden and surrounding fields. The winter months will include tree planting, maintenance of paths and stone walls, and gathering firewood. Rainy days would be spent indoors painting, woodworking, and conducting general household maintenance. Volunteers can decide what work they enjoy the most and take on specific tasks.

Volunteers can also assist in the farm’s café, which is in the center of Cork. This part of the volunteer work is optional, but most volunteers enjoy doing it for 2 days a week. Duties include serving customers, making coffee, selling the farm’s products, and keeping the café clean and tidy. Transport will be provided in and out of the city.

The farm owners will guide and support the volunteers throughout their program. They have been welcoming and supervising volunteers for over twenty years and live in the main house with their two children. The farm owners will be your main mentors and meet with you to discuss your progress on a regular basis. New ideas are welcome and encouraged!

Eligibility

Volunteers are required to be adaptable and flexible people who like working outdoors and getting their hands dirty. You must be over 18 when the project starts. You will join a group of volunteers comprised of people from different backgrounds, countries, and cultures. One of the main goals of the project is to become aware of, and open to, different ways of living and thinking!

We are looking for people who enjoy community-living conditions. Volunteers need to be able to partake in teamwork, but personal motivation, maturity, and responsibility are also important. Volunteers should enjoy physical outdoor work and rural living, as well as variable weather conditions—it rains often in Ireland!

Where you’ll stay

On your first night, you will stay in a hostel in Cork city in a dormitory style room. After your first night, you and the other volunteers will live on the farm on the lower level of the main Georgian-style period house.

Volunteers are responsible for preparing their own meals in the house kitchen, but food will be provided by the project (volunteers are often expected to prepare their own packed lunch, depending on each host family). Shopping is done once a week for commodities that cannot be provided by the farm. The project does not buy chocolate, sweets, toiletries, or alcohol.

The living conditions are simple and basic, with separate bedrooms for men and women. All heating is from wood-burning stoves, therefore, if a hot shower is desired, you must learn how to build a fire and keep it burning throughout the day. When you arrive, the first thing you must learn is how to light and keep a fire/stove going, as your comfort will depend on it (especially in the winter).

There is Wi-Fi available at the house. However, the connection is not always reliable and live communication through the internet (e.g. Skype) can often be challenging.

Activities

Things to do

Volunteers have two days off per week. During your free time, you can discover the city of Cork. It’s young, dynamic, and multicultural with a small community vibe. The city includes lively pubs, historic buildings, several universities, multinational companies, and the prestigious English Market with over 50 food stalls open daily.  There is always something happening in Cork, such as frequent concerts, live music, art exhibitions, and festivals.

You can also explore the countryside around Cork and visit famous places such as Spike Island, Blarney Castle, Kinsale, and the beautiful coast along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Volunteers are welcome to organize side trips for their free time, or before or after their project experience. All associated costs and travel expenses are not included in the project fee and need to be factored into your own budget.

Good to Know

Volunteers will work approximately 30-35 hours per week, with flexibility from day-to-day. Volunteers can expect to work 5-7 hours a day on their project, 5 days a week. You can expect to spend some time outdoors in sunshine and rainy conditions, so appropriate clothing is essential. A sturdy pair of boots is recommended.

Volunteers are given guidance regarding their volunteer work on a regular basis, but it is important to know that volunteer work will not be continuously supervised. Volunteers are expected to able to work on their own as well as in a team. Volunteers are expected to be proactive on their placements, keep busy, and to use their initiative.

Sustainable Farming in Ireland