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Volunteer at Permaculture Farm in Costa Rica

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CRCNL at Finca La Familia
Volunteer Program Description

Essential to the success of a permaculture farm of this size and scale is the help and dedicated work of many well coordinated individuals. In accordance with this need for many hands and our vision to create empowering opportunities for growth, skill-building and the furthering of the permaculture movement, we offer a limited number of qualified and eager applicants a position in our Volunteer Program. Our volunteers are self-motivated and disciplined men and women seeking to experience life within an active permaculture farm community while also cultivating practical skills and garnering knowledge to carry them confidently into the next phase of their education and development. Our program stresses a communal living and working environment in which meals, daily chores, daily work and larger farm projects are shared by every volunteer. Therefore, each volunteer is afforded a multi-faceted experience in which to grow, build character and develop a strong work ethic. Applicants should be self-directed and not expect to have their hands held. The nature of the work is physical and our participants should expect to put forth a lot of effort every day as this affects the community as a whole. However, anyone can make a great contribution here without being the biggest or strongest, but a dedicated enthusiasm helps create a very satisfying community in which to live and work.
We have roughly 8-10 volunteers depending on the seasonal needs. Each participant is evaluated in an interview and a questionnaire sent via email. If accepted you are asked to commit to the program by making a first month's deposit of $400. Once deposit is confirmed by email or by telephone, there is no cancellation accepted and there is no refund. In certain emergencies an exception may be granted. Highly skilled individuals that can work on specific projects that are needed on the farm may be offered a different form of exchange.

Work and Work Schedule
Upon the direction of our Volunteer Coordinator, participants are asked to contribute 4 hours of work each day 5 days a week. In addition, everyone is asked to perform daily chores maintaining the dormitory, community house/kitchen, bath house and animal systems. The 4 hour work day will be focused in organic gardening, food forest maintenance, nursery care and plant propagation, fermentation and food preparation, irrigation, site improvements, animal care and more. Larger farm projects are regularly scheduled during work hours that are not limited to but may include: natural building and construction, community water project, animal breeding, wood collection, mushroom propagation, harvest processing, MM and fertilizer production, pruning, mulching, animal feed production, beekeeping, planting and structural maintenance.
We strive hard to give our volunteers the most well-rounded experience we can offer. Our schedule is determined weekly by the Farm Director and Volunteer Coordinator and is based upon the timing and needs of each of our farm systems and structures. Beyond the fulfillment of those needs our volunteers are offered greater opportunities in afternoon sessions about 2 days a week. This time is for food preparation and fermenting, garden design, cheese making, animal husbandry, making tinctures/salves, candle-making, quilting, the Spanish language and other activities.
CRCNL at Finca La Familia also offers workshops throughout the year and will call upon the volunteers to help prepare for and host attendees. Volunteers will participate in the course for free in exchange for helping behind the scenes (cooking, cleaning and helping guests).
Otherwise, Saturdays and Sundays are ideal times to rest, relax, swim in the river, go into town or catch up on personal projects. There are many activities and local culture to explore!
Each morning, there is a meeting with the Volunteer Coordinator to receive updates and direction on the day's work. A Friday afternoon wrap-up meeting each week is the best chance to review the week and also express any feelings or concerns that may come up. It is our "check-in" time and provides the community a vital communication platform to keep us in sync and in harmony.

Our climate and available space allows for year-round tenting. We have level and clear areas to pitch shelters and tents and these also offer participants a modest amount of privacy. Otherwise, a bed with a mattress and a small wardrobe with locking cabinet may be available in the Dormitory depending upon availability. These are close quarters under roof. Volunteers must provide their own bedding or sleeping bag.
A composting toilet, shower stalls and sinks are located near the Dormitory and Community House.
The Community House contains the volunteer kitchen, dining table and couches for recreation and study. This zone is maintained daily by the volunteers and is the central gathering point for meetings, classes and "hanging out"
The CRCNL Volunteer Program is designed for stays from one to six months. The duration of commitment determines the cost for each volunteer. Volunteer costs for the program cover the following:
* Community structures and improvements
* A stipend for coordination
* Staple foods purchased in bulk
* Purchase of tools and materials for the group
* Propane, electricity etc...

We provide nutritious staple foods consisting of a mostly vegetarian diet. These mostly include rice, black and red beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, oats, sugar, flour, salt & some spices, vegetables and fruits, milk, cheese and eggs There will be lots of focus on food preparation and healthy choice eating. Additional food costs are the participants responsibility.

The Volunteer Program at CRCNL is a proud reflection of the permaculture community at large, adhering to the principles of sustainability and sharing the abundance. Our goal is to help empower individuals through actively stewarding the land and our counterparts shared vision to create a sustainable future today.

For specific questions regarding our Volunteer Program please email our Volunteer Coordinator at

Also, please visit our FACEBOOK page at Costa Rica Center for Natural Living for up-to-date info on projects, events, workshops and to view many photos of our farm and community.

And visit our webpage at WWW.CRCNL.ORG
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