What to expect for WWOOFers

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Important information for WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and other volunteers:

Thank you for your interest in WWOOFing at Jacob Springs Farm. During the busy season (April - October) our farm has 4-6 woofers at any one time - half in indoor housing and half camping or in our teeny-tiny house. Please keep in mind that because Boulder is a very popular destination, we have more requests than spaces. But don't let this deter you! Often it's more about timing than anything else.

Odds for you will be better if :

  • you have taken a few minutes to thoughtfully write a profile and include a photo where we can actually see you.
  • you plan ahead and contact us well in advance of your stay.
  • you're a guy (because we try to maintain a balance and there are fewer requests from males)
  • you're from another country (we love hosting internationals)
  • you're planning on working in agriculture, sustainability, or service to people and planet

We ask for a minimum of one week stay and we do not commit to over one month until we get to know you and there is an opening. During the offseason we don't host campers (it's too cold) and our winter crew is 2-3 people strong.

Work and Schedule

Wwoofer are expected to work from dawn until lunch Monday through Saturday and help with basic minimum chores on Sunday (Sunday is our farm's day of rest).

  1. Wake before dawn (sleep-in 30 minutes on Sundays)
  2. Attend Morning meeting at the dawn start time (Monday-Saturday)
  3. Do chores
  4. Eat breakfast
  5. Do Special projects (Monday-Saturday)
  6. Eat Lunch (Monday-Saturday)
  7. Afternoon off (unless there is a crunch day, which happens occasionally - you will be allowed to take other time off.)

Morning Meeting

The Jacob Springs Farm schedule begins each day Monday through Saturday at dawn (see Jacob Springs dawn start times calendar) with a 25-30 minute meeting prior to chores. Volunteers, wwoofers, and farm team members are expected to attend, we expect you to wake yourself. The meeting will review the calendar and assess progress toward the goals of the weekly agenda.

  • Monday review the week ahead
  • Tuesday discussion about an assigned topic (usually a sustainability-related topic)
  • Wednesday brief meeting
  • Thursday brief meeting
  • Friday brief meeting
  • Saturday 'Thank you's, gripes, and shout outs'

Chores

Chores follow the meeting. Your daily chores for the morning will likely consist of one following:

  1. Dairy assistant duty
  2. Layer flock duty
  3. Hog pen duty
  4. Breakfast duty
  5. Weeding and watering duty
  6. Harvesting duty

You will be assigned work based on what's most needed, but feel free to express a preference if there is something you would like to experiece or learn more about. Keep in mind that as short-term wwoofers, unless you have specialized skills, you will likely be called upon to do the simpler, more menial tasks for the majority of your time at first.

Following chores, all workers, wwoofers, local volunteers and long term farm staff are invited to join in a (typically) wonderful breakfast. Over breakfast, we typically engage in an informal discussion topic. After breakfast, special projects continue until lunch (which usually starts some time 12 - 1).

Some examples of special projects include:

  1. Labeling fruit trees
  2. Helping to butcher livestock
  3. Assisting with making value added farm products
  4. Cleanup and organization
  5. Moving animals

Sundays

Since Sunday is our farm's day of rest we ask that no work be done on a Sunday. For those who are making up hours, please arrange with us to do your hours on a different day. Anyone is welcomed and encouraged to attend church with us on Sundays, most of us go to The Well, Boulder, some attend Catholic mass at the Saint Thomas Center. The reasons we have a day set aside for rest are explained elsewhere, but the reasons we ask others not to work on Sundays are these:

  • A big part of sustainability is building sustainable human systems, resting is part of that - it's part of the experience here.
  • Our values determine our culture, we wish to protect our culture
  • When volunteers are working, this necessarily creates work for the rest of us - especially leaders - we want to be available to oversee and provide guidance while woofers are working, therefore we ask others not to create work for us on Sundays so that we may enjoy our day without worrying about what you are doing.

Basic Minimum Chores

Sundays we do the bare minimum required to take care of the farm so that we can focus on God, each other and ourselves.

  • Feed the animals that don't feed themselves
  • Make sure all have water
  • Milk the cows and take care of the milk

Community

At Jacob Springs, we value community highly. As much as reality demands that we work hard and are productive, people come first here. What's the point of working long hard hours and passing up more lucrative opportunities if you can't enjoy the fruit of your labor around the table with your community in harmony?

If community norms are not being respected, leaders are forced to either become disciplinarians to demand compliance, or choose to tolerate an atmosphere of diluted respect and reduced effectiveness. Please don't force us to choose, we desire both harmony and productivity. If community norms are regularly disregarded you may be asked to leave.

Distinctives

If you're interested, it might be helpful to peruse some of the distinctive values that we hold to: (many are still in progress)

As a Wwoofer, we are not offering you a job, rather a place in our lives through our community. Although we need you to contribute meaningfully to our common work and we ask for your respect as leaders, we do not want an employer/employee relationship in that we don't want to have to be constantly checking up on you, telling you what to do and monitoring your progress. This means that we are going to rely on you to be a self-starter, keep open good communication, ask first before going off script and let us know what's going right or wrong.

Cautions

  • At Jacob Springs, we do process meats, and do other dirty jobs, wwoofers will be expected to participate in the work of the day.
  • Working with livestock and farm equipment can be dangerous - please exercise caution - don't do jobs you're not comfortable with, ask for help.
  • We ask ALL volunteers and helpers to sign a waiver of liability - this protects us from any insurance company that wants to shirk it's responsibility by going after our farm in the unlikely event someone gets hurt.
  • If you are being invited as a camper that means you will need to stay in a tent of your own, unless other arrangements are made.

Getting here

The local bus system here is called RTD and serves Denver, Boulder and other towns and cities in our area, the Front Range

Coming from Boulder, the JUMP bus stops right in front of the farm, at the corner of 75th and Arapahoe. (which is in between the 65th and Dagny Way stops on the bus schedule). Make sure you catch the "Long Jump" as some Jump busses terminate at BVSD Votech center which is about 1 mile from the farm (if you end up there give us a call and we will come get you or you could just walk east (away from the mountains) over the hill and down to the traffic light).

To get to Boulder from the Denver airport (DIA) use the AB bus.

Housing

We invite woofers to stay in a few types of housing - during spring, summer and fall (April 15 - Nov 1) as campers - in their own tents. Most short-term woofers will be campers. If we mutually decide to extend your stay (and transition to more of an intern-type relationship) there is a good chance you will be moved to indoor housing.

We are currently planning and building treehouse platforms and glamping for woofers to camp in.

Wwoofers who camp are invited to use the WWOOFER habitat in the barn. where there is a shower and bathroom.

Free time

We encourage wwoofers to enjoy Boulder and see Colorado, there's lots of great stuff to do here, we have some bikes that you might be able to use if there are any working - if you are able to help us keep these working (fixing them, buying inner tubes, locking them up when you go out, filing them up with gas :) ) that would be appreciated. Hiking, climbing, events in the area and signs to see are all nearby. (Can someone make a list of things to do so we can put it here for future wwoofers?)

An incomplete list of guidelines and norms

  1. Please help with dishes and be willing to occasionally pitch in with meal prep outside of your normal hours.
  2. Feel free to use the outhouse by the greenhouse or the bathroom in the Farm Kitchen.
  3. Please clean after yourself and replace toilet paper if it runs out on your "watch".
  4. If you would like to do some local activities that require you to miss hours - please give advance notice and be willing to make up hours at other times.
  5. Be kind please.
  6. Please be respectful of residents, kids included. This is the kids' home too. Our kids are generally well-behaved and respectful, but they are free range farm kids. Feel free to let parents know about any issues with kids' behavior, but unless you are a long-termer with permission, please allow parents to do the parenting.
  7. Thanks for playing with the kids! Don't ever take them into private rooms or away from other people.
  8. If you want to have a visitor come stay please let us know in advance if possible. No unmarried couples may sleep over together - we will try to accommodate you separately.

Resources