The farm is a family-run dairy farm that has successfully grown from its original mixed-agriculture and milk production activities to a highly popular farmstall and coffee shop offering a wide assortment of produce for retail and in-house consumption, plus an established horticultural seedling and plant retail nursery.
|Location||The Crags, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa|
|Duration||From 2 - 12 weeks|
|Dates||All year round|
|Documents required||Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance|
|Day of arrival||Sunday|
|Day of departure||Sunday|
The farm is a family established, owned and managed dairy farming business that has successfully grown from its original mixed-agriculture and milk production activities to its current operations that now includes the processing of milk for cheese, yoghurt, butter and ice-cream; a highly popular farm-stall and coffee shop (with in-house bakery) offering a wide assortment of produce for retail and in-house consumption, plus an established horticultural seedling and plant retail nursery. There are a significant number of the operation’s diverse functions that the volunteer can get involved with to expand their personal knowledge and horizons; from behind-the-scenes routine farming activities such as pasture and livestock management, or involvement with horticultural plants from seedling stage onwards through to interfacing with the general public at retail outlets.
The farm owners are known throughout the broader community of the region as being folk who have a track record of extending skills development and advancement opportunities to their staff, the bulk of whom are resident in the historically disadvantaged Kurland Village.
Central to their agricultural interests is their dairy herd – from insemination, pregnancy caring, calving, weaning and feeding through to milking – a 24/7 responsibility throughout the year with routine daily milking sessions in the early morning and early afternoon. Outside of this, there’s the long list of small but essential items associated with farming – including water management issues, pasture growing and harvesting, supplementary feeding, veterinary care, paddock and fencing maintenance, invasive alien vegetation control, fire-breaks, infrastructural building and equipment maintenance and repair.
A further aspect of their operation is the established Windmill Nursery, in itself an interesting business which includes the usual retail front while behind the scenes are all the steps and processes involved in running the nursery – composting, seeds, seedling stimulation, potting, nutrition and care of garden display and nutritional plants – blossoms, fruit and vegetables. While work with plants is seasonal, there is always something to do to prepare beds and plants for the future.
You will generally work five days per week with the option of weekends off but may, due to personal interest and seasonal demand, discuss the options of working part- or full-weekends and public holidays on a roster system by agreement with management. Given the hands-on nature of exposure to all facets of this business’ activities, you will undoubtedly have plenty of scope to not only make your contribution but expand your general exposure and skills acquisition for the future.
Monday to Friday work could include:
Any public holidays, whether falling on weekdays or weekends, will follow the Saturday/Sunday routine.
It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer, the time of year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.
You will stay in a backpackers’ based in The Crags, a rural suburb of greater Plettenberg Bay. The backpackers’ is set in a 5-hectare small-holding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures. You are accommodated in shared dorm rooms and/or in under-cover luxury Safari bow-tents that come fully equipped with carpets, beds, linen, electric blankets, lights etc. You will, where required, be sharing with one or up to three other volunteers. There are numerous bathrooms for communal access and use. The main homestead is equipped with an office, TV lounge, two kitchens plus a large verandah, with a residents’ bar, and two fire-hearths for those chilly nights. It is here that guests and hosts gather for social interaction and where evening meals are served for all to enjoy. Immediately adjacent is an outdoor braai (BBQ) area, while close by, is a combination plunge pool/hot-tub (the latter fired up for Fridays) plus a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track where guests soon get to know their co-guests. Bedding and towels are provided and your laundry will be regularly done on a wash-and-fold basis by the housekeeper. Free WiFi is available at the main homestead area only.
Simon from Germany ()
“I learned a lot about farming because the owners really made an effort to get me to do everything that was possible.”