In the very Northwestern corner of California, 25miles from the Pacific Ocean, near the Smith River, 5 miles from Redwood hwy into the Six Rivers National Forest
How do begin the inquiry for membership?
Easy. Complete an application, which is under the heading "Apply" (above,) and send to us.
We'll follow up with an approval and a phone call where we can ask questions of each other and chat.
We prefer a minimum visit of two weeks to work together, and for you to get to know the project, the people here, and the surrounding area. Sometimes we approve shorter stays..
Two options for your visit:
1. Work trade -- you can plug yourself into our farm schedule, which is usually about four to five hours per day, five days per week, in exchange for a room and food. We start morning chores around 7am, work in the mornings, take the afternoons off, mostly.
2. Be an observer, hang out and have a vacation if you would like to book/rent a cabin, which you do yourself on Airbnb, bring your own food, cook in our kitchen.
Fire. In August of 2023, the Smith River Complex Fire swept through our village and took most of our structures. This has changed things. Our fundamental qualities for sustainability remain, but we will emphasize rebuilding for capacity and revamping our sustainable systems. This is and will be a creative, adaptive process that depends not only on our limited resources, but the next chapter of our evolution will be much more Communitarian. Only through good congruent peoples participating and supporting this vision will we continue.
We're currently accepting long term member applications and emphasizing this over shorter term woofers. There is no fee or buy in, only a get to know each other process and seeing if it's a good fit.
Please understand our process for visitors, woofers (work trade), and potential members. All uncontracted parties, you and us, can end our relationship at any time. Of course this is the case. There is a 2 week minimum for WOOFing experiences and our trial period is also at two weeks --- after a community meeting, usually held on Mondays, we agree by consensus to continue.
Accommodations: Can you provide your own accommodation for your stay? Sometimes we can shuffle, musical chairs adaptive switching to available cabins -- this can only work temporarily in short term situations -- but since our fire (Link) we simply don't have anywhere to put people. Car camping, tents, RV or, ideally, building your own cabin, yurt, etc.
After you have experienced our mountain farming life we will want to ask:
"How do you see yourself fitting into our village?"
"Would there be a transition to living here and in what capacity (part/full time, periodically)
"How do you want to create your own residence? Build, tiny home, RV, yurt, assume shared space here (Lodge) or possible to buy one of our cabins"
"What do you want to DO here? Projects, specialties, businesses, educational workshops, etc?"
Are you able, willing, to work and how much?"
"Will you need to work in town part or full time?"
Internships are two, four, or 6 months long and can start any time of the year, but most of them begin in Spring and End in Autumn. These are not strict edicts, but general guidelines.
We do not regularly interrupt our schedules for short take-a-peek-at-what-you-have-going-on visits. Frankly, it's not worth it to provide orientation time and energy to the casually curious as there are so many requests. But you can visit and show yourself around and maybe we have time for a brief conversation here or there.
What is a typical day like here at our farm/community?
It's a functional farm so .... we work in the mornings, up early. Depending on season, this is 7am to 8am, get our morning chores done and start working on our to-do list.
Otherwise, there aren’t many typical days. Beyond focused build projects, you will learn that our work is determined almost exclusively by the weather and season. A plant and animal life doles out its own schedule for us to follow. We generally work considerably less in the rainy winter and often midday. In the summer work is quite early, 6 -7 AM to about noon, for beating the heat. We take afternoons off. Most everyone takes a couple days off each week. Day to day activities involve feeding animals, walking and milking the goats, general tidiness, turning cabins over for guests, summer watering, etc. There is some weekly or monthly maintenance involved.
Weekly, usually on Mondays, we meet as a community for Heart Club, which is a logistical meeting of minds to organize and coordinate work, followed by a group exercise (determined by a different member each week) and then a Heart Share (time to speak your truth, communicate, be vulnerably human with the group). Heart Club is NVC - based. So if you would like to prepare and understand what this is, Marshal Rosenburg's videos or books and give you some insight.
How much money do I need to bring if I want to WOOF long term / intern / or move here?
It generally doesn't cost anything to live here and there is no fee for visiting or interning. Bring enough money for your personal needs like personal travel, special foods, necessary medicines, general health care, clothing, entertainment and such.
I would like to bring a cat and/or a dog, or hope to get one while living on the Mountain. Is this OK? Yes, pets are a necessary part of our permaculture system, as well as our companions. If someone is going to inhabit a cabin (especially long-term), keep in mind the integral multi-purposes for animals in our system: cats reduce/control mouse populations, and dogs to effectively keep predators away from our orchard trees, gardens, and farm animals. If it is a dog breed that is suitable for this job, we prefer they perform function by being an outside dog. If it's a Chihuahua or Shih Tzu, that's another case. Of course, introducing a new animal element to our living system is always something to monitor carefully. Harmony among dogs and cats amidst chickens, goats, etc can be elusive. On many occasions, sadly, visiting pets have injured or killed our farm animal members. And on occasion the dogs have gotten into spats with visiting pooches.
I take prescription medications. Where is the closest pharmacy?
Crescent City, CA or Cave Junction, OR
Is there cell service, internet connection and/or wifi available?
If you have US Cellular or Verizon, you can get a bar of service, not enough to surf the web, but enough to use most apps, spotty. There is currently no Internet or wi-fi, But if it is necessary thing your existence here (e.g. for financial reasons) we/you can pay the subscription on our satellite dish Internet service (which we do not currently). The decision to obtain satellite internet is possible and is a community decision.
How does receiving mail work?
You can rent your own PO box in Gasquet or Crescent City
or sometimes people use ours, in Gasquet
(PO Box 246 Gasquet 95543)
How far is the nearest hospital?
About 50 minutes drive to Crescent City
I don’t have my own transportation – how do I get there?
You can take the bus or an airplane (to Gasquet, Crescent City, or if you must, to Medford, OR) hitch, walk, run, bike or carpool. I often suggest ride shares through Craigslist, or like site.
I send specific directions once a commitment is made.
What does the community have to offer? Example: amenities, activities, etc.
A simple life, filled with meaningful, soulful work for the relatively contented, extreme boredom leading to insanity for the restless. All the necessities of life, healthy food, clean water, fresh air, housing are here. Community is, of course, what you make of it. Likely, we won't make you happy if you're not a happy, contented person. But joyfulness and contented life is everywhere here to be discovered. We host several social/educational events throughout the year and many many good people come to visit with us for a permaculture and sustainable-life experience. There are numerous festivals throughout the year, activities, hiking, and natural beauty to enjoy in every direction.
Can you accommodate vegans/vegetarians?
Yes, but know that the dietary cache of eaters varies greatly, from some to many omnivores, and we share a community kitchen, and you may have to smell another eater's animal products, wash oils out that are left (customary/usual for cast iron pans) on cookware, and intermingle animal food storage. Stuff like that. Don’t get all bent out of shape about it.
Can I thrive in this environment with my physical disability or injury?
Probably not. This wilderness, mountainous terrain is rugged, steep, and, off our beaten path, gnarly. If you have a really bad back, knees, feet, etc. maybe a flatlanders life is the one for you.
If I become a member or volunteer, what should I expect the community to be like? Ex: quiet, calm, loud, exciting, caring, accepting, etc.
On the quiet side. I’m (Dan) old and curmudgeonly, and, as such, need some solitude and silence regularly. I’ll make that time myself so don't be offended if I don’t stay up til midnight pontificating with the jibber jabbing. I always had in mind that independently contented people would intermingle and share parts of their life here. Maybe some will be glued to each other, and some, like me, not so much. Caring and accepting is a matter of course and probably also an individualized matter. We're all human beings here and definitely not any kind virtual, magical manifestation of idealism, utopia, or fantasy. I cannot speak for anyone but myself, but I certainly am very interested in community trust, commitment, and respect, with all of its power and pitfalls, and try to treat everyone with kindness and compassion, with conscious awareness and gentle patience. Sometimes I fail. I have failed many, many times in my life and, as an unenlightened life-long fool, will certainly fail again. Others probably will, too. That's the experiment of life, isn't it?
If you have other or more specific questions, please write to us and ask. : )
Nor Are We Idealists
Here's the rub:
It's good to talk about the ideas of permaculture, holistic, organic, alternative, etc., and I like to talk about these notions, value the ideas, and implement them. But we hope to bridge the gap between the old systems and the new (and old) sustainable ones.
So let me list my many transgressions of unsustainable impurities for all the starry eyed idealists lest they may not leave emotionally frustrated in disappointment that we did not measure up to their standards.
I LOVE to use concrete. It lasts decades, centuries, maybe longer, is maintenance free, all that kind of stuff.
We don't eat all organic. More organic every year -- as we provide more of it from our land -- but we still buy groceries and some of it isn't organic
We eat meat, at least I do (Dan), and other visitors and residents will surely/possibly eat meat, too.
We use money and engage in business for profit, extracting United States Federal Reserve notes or their digital equivalents from the old monetary system and into our credit union account and we buy stuff with it, just like a typical consumer does. And we may even spend it at Wal-Mart
We sometimes use toxic chemicals like paint, stain, insulation, even pesticides (not on plants) for infestations and animal health (ticks and fleas).
We use fossil fuels like gas and diesel. Chainsaws, tractors, automobiles have a utility and are expeditious. I believe we have little time to prepare for major changes and I have and will use these tools to get ahead.
-- On that note I should add that I have become an unabashed prepper of sorts, who strongly suspects that societal collapse is likely, even inevitable, be it economic, environmental, or from war. The ideas of responsible and simple living have not lost their appeal, but preparation for harder, leaner times is a part of my mindset and affect strategies and systems here.
There are very few really cool, hip or trendy projects . We are unlikely to design, implement or utilize any new fangled technology or engage in heating water with compost piles. We milk goats, feed our animals, cultivate soil, harvest and process fruits and vegetables. As I am fond of saying, "either all of it is glorious or none of it is glorious." Remember that when you're shoveling shit or milking the goats for the thousandth time.
It is my firm belief that permaculture or sustainable living is not exciting at all, and that excitement, highlighted as it is in our culture, is vastly overrated. Permaculture, mostly, is staying in one place. Sustainable is showing up every day, slow and steady, like the tortoise (not the hare), living for health, watching carefully and listening, none of which is contemporaneously cool, trendy, exciting or hip.