Learning Exchange

Manu milking

Most of the tasks that people do on a learning exchange here at Murrnong are to support and participate in our rich non-monetary domestic economy. Some people say that we shouldn’t call the tasks of self-reliant living ‘work’, instead we should simply say that we are doing life. Compared to a dependent consumer lifestyle there are a lot of tasks, and we do a lot of life.

About the Farm

This is a permaculture small farm on the edge of Violet Town, just 800m from the train station. The farm is well established, as most tree planting was done between 1996 and 2000.

We have a large established fruit and nut orchard, an olive grove, vegetable gardens, chickens, milking goats, bees, forestry for shelter and timber, and large dam for irrigation and swimming. Our house is made of timber and mudbrick, and we catch our own water. Most of our food comes from the house garden and farm, including a huge range of fresh fruit all year round, a range of vegetables for each season, eggs, honey, cheese, olive oil, nuts and home killed or hunted meat. We eat shared meals, most of which are vegetarian.

Chiara picking Morello cherries

Learning exchange may include…

Farm and garden work, combined with learning, and share of household tasks, including food preparation from farm ingredients. Depending on your skills and interests and our needs, tasks can include caring for our vegetable gardens, orchard, goats and chickens, cheese making and other food processing (tapenade, preserves, etc.), fruit picking and grading, bee keeping and honey extraction, forestry, beer brewing and bottling, and sometimes building and building maintenance. Summer routine for us includes putting on a stall at a farmers’ market some weekends, which visitors might help with, or come along for the ride, by arrangement. Weekends are free time other than a share of basic animal and household tasks, if you are here.

Staying with us is an opportunity to contribute your great positive attitude to the very positive version of the future that we have developed here. You can experience what low budget, self reliant regenerative living and applied work can lead to after 20 years. It is a chance to experience permaculture living and discuss contemporary permaculture thinking. And it is a time to live within and eat from a regenerating human managed ecosystem, based on tree crop agriculture.

How much do people work here?

Here, learning exchange visitors work, learn and discuss together, for about 7 hrs per day on weekdays. Weekends are completely free for recreation if you want to go somewhere. If you are here on a weekend, we generally don’t take on any big tasks, but we do still share household and routine animal care tasks. As at summer 2020, helpers are working from about 8.30 to 12, then 2 till 5, plus share of household tasks.

Accommodation and travel

For accommodation we have 2 indoor bedrooms, and a cob and strawbale cottage. If needed we also have some tents tall enough to stand up in, with beds, and electricity connected for a light and devices. And a semi-outdoor sleeping platform.

The main room of the house is a shared space for our meals, and for breaks during the day.

Wifi and small library of self-reliance/permaculture books available. David teaches and consults in permaculture.

Travel to here is easy: 2hrs from Melbourne by train directly to Violet Town station or via Benalla if coming by train from Sydney. Minimum stay 2 weeks, longer can be better.

Applying for learning exchange

Please make initial contact by email. In your application, please ensure that you outline your work experience, what study you have done, your skills, passions and interests, explain why you are applying to come here, and include at least one photo of you. We like to see your smiling face. References can be helpful. Minimum stay one month. For the right people, we appreciate longer stays.

Helping here suits people who enjoy being active and productive doing well organised work, learning as you go, and are seriously interested in self-reliant sustainable living, Doing-It-Ourselves culture, and organics