We welcome volunteers to work on the agroforestry smallholding in exchange for bed, board and learning. Volunteers usually stay in our small caravan overlooking the field and use the shower and compost toilet in the barn. When there is a gathering of volunteers to work as a group in a project such as tree-planting, or a Sourdough Exchange, you camp in tents but cook and eat in the barn.
There are always plenty of tasks to be done, from stone picking and preparing the ground to transplanting seedlings, weeding and mulching, through to harvesting the crops.
We keep organic geese for the Christmas table. From May, when the goslings hatch, through to winter there is the daily round of feeding, watering, cleaning and moving the flock between pastures.
As with all farming, much of the hard physical work has to be done regardless of the weather, so please don't volunteer with us unless you are ready to get wet, cold, muddy, windswept and hot all in the same morning.
The people who get most out of coming to live, work and eat with us are those keen to learn about organic agroforestry and sowing the seeds of more healthy and sustainable livelihoods.
Some volunteers are on a journey (often both geographically and metaphorically) and travel to stay with us for one or two weeks. Others come for a day or a weekend from the local area.
We don’t have any volunteers or visitors to the farm during breadmaking courses. Here is a rough guide to the times of year when we are likely to be on the farm.
It’s all subject to change, so please get in touch (tel 01968 660449) if you’d like to get involved.
|June||14–16, 18 and 21–30|
|July||6–7 and 26–31|
|September||2–4, 8–16, 22–25, 29–30|
|November||3–13 and 17–25|
What's it like volunteering at Bread Matters?
‘I could hardly have imagined a better Host for my first HelpX experience. Andrew and Veronica are a very warm couple who absolutely welcomed me into their home. From the beginning, we had stimulating conversations about life, reading, religion, Radio 4, bread vs not-bread, organic, Fair Trade, family… community business models, and the delights and challenges of the small holding, to name a few.
‘I slept in a very comfortable bedroom/ensuite across the cobbled courtyard, and was able to use the wifi network… We ate most meals together apart from breakfasts and one or two lunches. I enjoyed the combination of independence and being together. The delicious food was organic, mostly grown on the smallholding, and prepared with care. It was easy to get involved with preparation and washing up, and I felt comfortable from the start.
‘My jobs were varied…In the house, I did a bit of ironing and vacuuming and helped out at mealtimes. On the smallholding, I spent most time in the polytunnel: weeding, thinning carrots, removing side shoots from the tomatoes, pinching out the tops of beans, weeding walkways and filling them with bark to help manage the weeds. I was in heaven, listening to Radio 4, and stopping from time to time to chat with 3 ducklings snuggling at one end of the tunnel. Some mornings and evenings I helped feed and secure the geese, ducklings and chickens.
‘With so much rain, there were weeds everywhere and I wish I could have stayed longer to clear the hundreds of young trees and agroforestry area. Andrew and Veronica were always ready to talk to me about any aspect of the smallholding, and I only wish I'd had longer to learn about everything.
‘I enjoyed a few country walks in the immediate environment, which is quiet and beautiful.
‘Thank you so much for having me, Andrew and Veronica.’
[Alison, Summer 2012, via HelpX, from Australia]
Emma joined us as a WWOOFer in November 2013 and returned in January 2014. She said:
‘Volunteering at Bread Matters revolves around the small holding and not bread baking, but you will have the opportunity to eat a variety of delicious breads, which is really the best bit. If you are interested in learning about organic growing and smallholding and willing to put in some hard graft, then this is the place for you. Veronica and Andrew are both very knowledgeable and passionate about good, nutritious, local food and in return for all your hard work you will be treated to exactly that with the added bonus of (as we say in Scotland) 'quality chat'.
‘Andrew and Veronica are great hosts - welcoming, friendly and good company. I have loved volunteering here - I've learned so much, eaten very well, enjoyed the outdoors and the physical work - and felt that my efforts were very much appreciated.’
Samia was here at one of the very toughest times of year, in December 2013, in time to help with plucking and preparing geese. It’s not a job for the delicate or squeamish and Samia described it as ‘full time and very labour intensive, but definitely enjoyable thanks to the good company’. Samia just about summed us up here:
‘Although it was just a short stay, I had a very good experience with Andrew and Veronica. The food was some of the best I’ve ever had from a host! …Things are very organised with them, so it works well if you like a lot of structure, but if not, you might find it hard. They are very kind though, and it was easy to get along with them.’