Caroola Farm Volunteer Residency Program Overview
Caroola Farm’s seasonal, full time, 3 month volunteer residencyie are available to individuals or couples on application with flexible start dates.
Caroola Farm is a mixed permaculture, holistic management and organic farm. Our focus is on small scale meat, vegetable, fruit and nut production. We have chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, alpacas, cattle and maremmas, alongside a market garden, tree systems, wetlands, forest gardens and more…
You will leave your volunteer residency with a working knowledge of the way we run our farm, an operational plan and budget.
We will take you through our business plan and work alongside you in your learning throughout the volunteer residency period. Our work is seasonal, but generally involves the following areas… in summer there is less planting out and more watering, and in spring there may be more animal activities…
Poultry – breeding, feed, water, health, housing, moving, processing, packaging, marketing of chickens, ducks, turkeys.
Large animals – feed, water, health, housing, moving, transportation, marketing of pigs, sheep and cattle.
Forest Gardens – planning, planting, watering, weeding, propagating, harvesting, mulching of forest garden systems including mushrooms.
Vegetable systems – planning, planting, watering, weeding, frost protection, propagating, harvesting, mulching and marketing of house, market and polytunnel gardens.
Farm trees– planning, digging, planting, watering, mulching, feeding pruning of windbreak and animal forage tree systems.
Infrastructure – planning and building of sheds and buildings, fixed fencing, polytunnel, water systems
Maintenance – of paddocks, yeomans, farm machinery, fences, irrigation, compost, firewood.
Dams and aquaculture – planning and management
Marketing – on farm shop, farmers markets, retail and online
Finance – budgeting and enterprise costs
Education systems – how we integrate education into the farm enterprises, planning and execution of various courses.
The three month volunteer residency will be tailored to your learning objectives and be seasonally relevant…
Applicants must have completed a Permaculture Design Certificate or Organic Farming Diploma or be in the process of completing one.
Applicants need a strong work ethic, be fit and able, inquisitive and want to learn. Good communication and a sense of humour are essential. Some work is incredibly interesting and some is simply mundane, but we do not ask you to do anything we have not already done ourselves.
You should be self motivated, independent, have a goal, the ability to work as a team or individual. The most important thing to us is that you want to learn about sustainable farming.
Having your own transportation is essential as we are 15km from the nearest town. We are half an hour from Canberra and an hour to the coast.
You will need to bring suitable attire for farm work including your own long trousers and long sleeved shirts, gloves, hat, closed in boots and rain jacket.
We expect you to work alongside of us, or independently, working the hours that we do (which depends on the season) and in whatever the weather throws at us (yes, even if it is snowing the animals need to be fed). You need to be respectful of others, whether they are employees, family, farm visitors or customers.
We expect that you show passion for farming and local food production.
In advance of becoming an intern, we ask that you come for a few days wwoofing, and to chat about your experiences and expectations – to make sure that you can get along with us and we can get along with you.
You will be expected to work a 5-6 day week – and some chores may need to be done all 7 days. Days off are by mutual agreement and may or may not be on a weekend. Our hours vary but we plan on working outside for 4-5 hours each day and then provide time for you to study or research particular areas/projects of interest.
We run courses on the farm and you may wish to attend these if it suits working hours in lieu of having your day off.
Your contribution to the farm will be work and ideas, and in exchange you’ll have food, board and a fantastic learning experience, there is no other cost to you (unless you like to eat lots of something special that we simply never eat, then you’d be expected to go and purchase that yourself).
At this time we are NOT able to accommodate children or pets of any kind – sorry, we already have enough of both of these.
Accommodation and meals
Our accommodation is in a shared 2 bedroom flat with full cooking facilities and bathroom. You may be sharing with another person or have a room to yourself depending on numbers of interns and wwoofers on property at any one time.
We will provide linen and towels, but ask that you wash these weekly in the laundry facilities provided.
We have fresh farm produce for 90% of meals, we ask you to share in cooking one meal per week. (dinner) you will be provided with food for but expected to prepare your own breakfast and lunch.
Caroola Farm is a family farm run by Penny Kothe and Paul McKinnon, we have three maremma dogs and a variety of children that come and go. We also have part-time workers on the farm for specific activities.
You will have the opportunity to learn from each and all of us, in addition to any formal courses that are being run on the farm at the time.
Our primary business is selling local meat and vegetables at this time and we attend weekly farmers markets as well as supplying to local restaurants and businesses.
Penny Kothe grew up on a family farm in Tumbarumba, later moving to Sydney for High School and University. Having spent way too many years in front of a desk in a variety of marketing jobs including a highly successful small family business, she returned to the land in 2007.
After farming conventionally from 2007 to 2011 on farms ranging from 10,000 to 10 acres, sustainable farming called more and more, with the decision in 2012 to purchase Caroola Farm.
Penny has a passion for regenerative farming, and local food, having done her PDC with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton as well as a variety of other courses including Forest Gardens, Natural Bee Keeping, Mushrooms, Holistic Management and Biodynamics. She has recently completed a Diploma in Organic Farming through the National Environment Centre.
Paul McKinnon is a ‘survivalist’ and a very practical farm person. He grew up in Mollymook, later moving to Sydney for school. He has worked in many fields including security, policing, building and water and was even at one stage a grave digger. His interests have always been on the land, with a focus on a self-reliant lifestyle.
Paul completed his PDC with Darren Doherty and has a passion for solving problems with creativity and practicality. He has assisted with teaching Introduction to Permaculture Courses as well as assisting in the facilitation of our other on-farm practical courses. Paul is also currently completing his Diploma in Organic Farming.
Please complete the short application below – the more information the better. We will acknowledge receipt of your application and email you with any further questions. Prior to having a ‘trial’ period we’ll call you for a short telephone interview. If you have recent references that would be very handy.
Permaculture or Organic Farming education (what courses have you completed or are in the process of completing)
On-farm experience – tell us what you’ve already done (e.g. tractor work, wwoofing, market garden, chainsaws…)
What are your goals – where do you want to be in 5 years?
What do you most want to learn about during your volunteer residency?
What interests you most about Caroola Farm?
Other education, work experience and interests – tell us a little about your background and how you came to be where you are right now?
Do you have your own transport?
Do you have a current manual drivers licence?
Do you have any medical issues that we need to be aware of?
Food allergies/intolerances? (e.g. gluten free/vegetarian)
Preferred starting and finishing dates (we are flexible about this and do not have fixed start and finish dates)