Volunteering

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We are looking for both short term and long term volunteers, and also people who would like to be involved on a longer term basis. If this interests you, please talk to us about it when you visit.

Working as a volunteer here gives you a unique chance to be really close to nature for a while. The land is like a little world of its own. Surrounded by barren farmers’ fields, it is a lush, sheltered, tree-covered landscape that is an absolute paradise for the wildlife and the people who work there.It is hard to imagine that, when we first bought the land in 1989, it was a huge, salt laden wind-blasted, prairie-like eroded field, devoid of much wildlife, where even the nettles were poor.
Now it is full of life!
The top half is planted out with native trees and shrubs and has become a young woodland. There are arboreta and other areas with experimental trees and shrubs of edible fruits and nuts – as well as beds of perennial herbaceous plants and a more conventional orchard plus a few conventional vegetables.

Volunteering is an excellent way to get to know more about Plants for a Future and the plants we grow here. Apart from the work that needs to be done (more about that later), volunteers are given a comprehensive tour of the land with information about the plants growing there and a taste of some of the edible plants that are in season at the time. You will also be shown how to make your own salads from the various perennial salad plants we grow.

Volunteers are welcome at The Field, normally from April to October. There is a variety of work, which tends to be seasonal in nature. Some parts of The Field have been overgrown by weeds and brambles. Part of the work will be weeding and clearing, or moving mulch materials such as woodchips. But as a reward for this work you will be blessed with an environment where you can enjoy being close to nature and where you can wake up in the morning to the singing of birds and, with luck see a fox, a barn owl or even a deer come wandering past before you even have breakfast!

Besides that it is not only weeding, of course! As a volunteer you will also help with a multitude of tasks all of which will help you to develop your gardening and plant skills. For example planting, mulching, harvesting, propagating, pruning etc.

Other things to consider:

  1. Some consider the facilities on the site rather primitive. There is water on tap, simple cooking facilities and a compost toilet, but no warm water showers and no flush toilet. Electricity has been installed since Autumn 2015.
    There may be an old caravan available for you to stay in (the caravan has no electricity, so please bring a good torch). We may also have a spare tent that you could stay in, please check on this. There are lot’s of beautiful places to camp!

  2. We do not live on the land. When there are volunteers I try to spend most of the time at the land, but there are occasions, such as when I teach Yoga, I cannot be there. If transport is available you are very welcome to join me and come to the yoga class!
    For longer stay volunteers you may have to spend more time on your own.

  3. You are asked to be at least partly self-catering in food. Cooking facilities are available and there is usually salad stuff and fruit available from the land. I also provide basic unprocessed wholefoods such as oats, rice, lentils, oil and various flavourings. However, if you want anything special, you may need to bring it yourself.

  4. Visitors are requested not to bring any meat or fish on site and not to smoke in indoor spaces.

  5. The nearest basic facilities are in the nearby village of Lerryn, about 3 kilometres from the land. Here you will find a village store with a post office where you can buy a reasonable selection of foods. There is also pub in the village. Apart from that, there is a wider range of shops in Lostwithiel about 8 kilometres away.

We are situated in a truly beautiful part of Cornwall. There is a tidal creek nearby (at walking distance) where you can swim when the tide is in. There are lots of footpaths for those who like to walk, with several kilometres of paths passing through woodland (these woodlands are said to have been the inspiration for the book ‘Wind in the Willows’).
We are also only about 5 kilometres from the coast where there are some stunning walks along the cliffs and lots of beautiful bays where you can swim.

So, whether you want to come for a day, a week, a month, or anywhere in between, please contact us to arrange a mutually convenient time. If you would like to stay on a longer term basis, just contact us for the possibilities! Please do not just turn up as we cannot guarantee that there will always be someone there.

If you are interested in volunteering, please:

  • phone 01208 873554 (you will often have to leave a message, you will be phoned back ASAP).
  • write to Plants for a Future at The Field, Penpol, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0NG.
  • Or email pfaf@theferns.info.

You will get a much faster response from phoning.

 

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