General Farm Info

To read the description of our farm on the WWOOF-USA website, click HERE.

That description pretty well sums up Emma Farms, however, there are a few more things you should know while considering volunteering here!

1) This place is very wet. Call it a fen, bog, carr, swamp, whatever word you prefer, this land is wet. We have two creeks that are the lowest lying points within a few miles, so all the land around drains into ours. It also rains a lot in Asheville! This means that often, there can be inches of standing water on the ground, deep mud (quagmire?), and lots of messy slippery spots. We have many many mosquitos too. Pollen and spore counts here are very high, and there is lots of mold – even outdoors in the breeze and sunshine. If you are seriously bothered by gnats and mosquitos or have terrible allergies, take note.

2) The farm is in a semi-urban area. We have 10 acres in West Asheville – it’s only 2.5 miles from downtown, and 1 mile from the Haywood Road/Historic West Asheville area. It is L-shaped and a fairly busy road runs through the middle of it. To give an idea, on every side we are bordered by something – an auto shop, a road, train tracks, mobile homes, and houses. The lay of the land allows for lots of magical nooks and crannies, and because there is so much vegetation, there is a lot of privacy, but be informed… the picturesque mountain farm with gorgeous views, this is NOT. Hip, great location, tons of culture, and lush greenery, but not your typical Western North Carolina “farm”.

3) We are currently *building* infrastructure. As in, not much is there yet. Right now we have a few large gardens, a house, a warehouse that is artist studios, some trails, etc. By the time volunteers arrive in the spring, we will definitely have finished building a composting toilet, outdoor shower, kitchen area, playa dome, and will have begun the greenhouse and second chicken coop. However, most of the things we would like to do involve help from volunteers to get them done. Check the infrastructure page for a list of all our project goals for the year!

4) Accommodations as of now are very rustic. Basically, until some building happens, volunteers will be staying in a dome, tents (we have quite a few big ones around), or a yurt (we have a lot of yurt pieces and need to figure out how to put them together!). We might have enough canvas lying around to make a tipi out of also. Building fun little summer cabins and maybe a treehouse or two is one of the first things on our summer agenda though!

5) We are an arts and farming community, with 10-12 people living and/or working here. But, since everyone here is a professional and does have to work for a living, it is very important to respect everyone’s space. I (Leslie) am the main person responsible for agricultural concerns and directing volunteers, and sometimes others will take the lead, especially for specific projects. Being involved with individual artists and doing arts related activities will be person and time specific. Essentially, sometimes that may work out, but the majority of the volunteer work will be farm stuff.

6) We expect volunteers to actually work. The majority of working hours, someone will from the farm will be working with you, and we expect everyone to work as hard as we do! We are not going to make anyone do any grueling excruciating labor (one of the people here has sort of a hilarious horror story about WWOOFing for an old misogynist american-hating spanish man) and we will try our best to match people with the tasks they enjoy most, but there are some things that arent so fun that just have to get done… like clearing briars off the island or wheelbarrowing around tons of horse manure. But, anything can be fun if you’re with a good group of people who can all laugh and have a good attitude!

7) This isn’t a party place. While most of the people in the community are young and like to have fun, we are all professionals. Socializing, bonfires, playing music, going out on the town, barbecues, and gatherings are all things that we do, BUT it is important to remember that the people in the community are in their normal everyday work modes. Also, since our land is in a mixed residential/commercial area, noise complaints can be a serious issue. There are houses all around us, and they have and will call the police if things get too loud late at night! Excessive drinking, drug use, inviting lots of people over to the farm, being really loud and/or obnoxious, all of these things are unacceptable.

8) If things work out and you come to Emma Farms as a volunteer, there will be some legalistic paperwork stuff to fill out. Including, a liability waiver which basically says you cant sue us if you were to get hurt or sick (I really hope no one does have a bad experience), an emergency contact form with stuff like a phone number etc in case we need to get in touch with someone, and a “volunteer contract”. A copy of all these things will be posted on this site for you to look over and read before you show up at the farm.

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Well, that’s all for now!

If you’ve read through this and would like to continue with the volunteering process, congratulations, and read on! 🙂

Published on February 11, 2010 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

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