Fruit and Nut
From March to October each year the nursery has a small number of places for wwoofers looking to learn more about horticulture. Due to the limited number of places, it is best to make contact with us at least 6 months in advance.
We request that intending wwoofers make direct contact with us by email, not through the Irish wwoofing website. This is to filter out wwoofers who do not take the time to read host profiles and who send out a generic message to dozens of hosts without stopping to consider if they actually have the personal skills, knowledge or other attributes that the hosts require.
Our email address : wwoof (at) fruitandnut.ie
We generally reply to emails within 48 hours.
Enquiries for 2019
At present we have no places available until July.
Fruit and Nut Nursery is a small research establishment focused on food security issues, particularly those to do with global warming and fossil fuel depletion. The nursery has developed its own particular style of permaculture tailored specifically to cool maritime climates. The research is focused primarily on expanding the range of tree crops viable in cool temperate climates. The nursery carries out tree propagation using methods such as grafting, stooling and layering, and conducts trials of many different varieties of fruit and nuts.
We’re looking for wwoofers who are particularly interested in what the nursery is doing and who want to learn. Our preference is for volunteers who are already studying horticulture or agriculture, or who are actively involved in working with the land. Some prior horticultural knowledge or experience is preferred.
If you're looking for Irish culture or for an active social scene, our nursery is NOT the place. However, we can guarantee that anyone who spends time at the nursery will acquire lots of new knowledge and skills.
We'd prefer wwoofers with previous wwoofing experience who are committed to staying at least three weeks.
Some of the activities are physically demanding and for this reason physical fitness is essential. Volunteers MUST be able to follow instructions in English (volunteers unable to do this will be asked to leave). Volunteers must have reasonable personal communication skills.
The horticultural activities are all outdoors. We require thirty to thirty-five hours help per week.
The nursery is particularly seeking long term wwoofers who can commit to a minimum period of one month. In return, the nursery is offering one-to-one training and mentoring in land rehabilitation and orchard work.
Fruit and Nut has a zero tolerance policy towards sexism and sexist behavior. The nursery prides itself on its non-patriarchal, women-friendly environment (references from previous women wwoofers available upon request).
The nursery is a smoking-free environment and smoking is not permitted anywhere on the premises.
The nursery has relocated to new premises situated between Charlestown and Ballyhaunis in east Mayo.
Protective clothing and footwear (raingear, work gloves and boots) are provided.
The nursery also has bicycles for wwoofer use and these can be borrowed for longer excursions for example a weekend away.
During our time at our old premises near Westport wwoofers were always encouraged to explore the local area, and in particular visit Clare Island (normally a two day trip) and climb Croagh Patrick. Although our new premises are much further from the coast, the very scenic Westport/Clew Bay area is still easily accessible (by bicycle and train/bus).
We are regularly contacted by young people looking to do an internship at the nursery as part of their studies. Providing the internships can be incorporated into the weekly routine of the nursery, interns are very welcome. However, we have become aware that there is a wide variation in understanding of what exactly is meant by 'internship'. Here at Fruit and Nut we view it as a relatively long term arrangement where we provide training and tuition in return for labour. We also offer a short duration internship 12-16 weeks, in which the intern will be expected to contribute 400-560 hours labour.
Nevertheless we are aware that in some other countries, internships mean something very different, for example work placements as short in duration as 125 working hours. Just to clarify, as far as we are concerned a commitment as short-lived as this is NOT an internship and the people undertaking them, while very welcome, will be regarded as regular wwoofers not interns.
More information on internships can be found here: short duration internships
Wwoofers from the United States
We've had some great wwoofers from the United States and warmly welcome further enquiries. However, we have noticed a particular tendency among intending wwoofers from the US to put together complex itineraries involving many hosts, itineraries that in our view are unrealistic of wwoofing realities and which will end up causing headache for hosts as well as potential disappointment for the wwoofers themselves. If you're one of those wwoofers, we ask that you omit Fruit and Nut from your intended itinerary and look elsewhere.
Top tip: always allow 2-3 spare days between each host. Then even if something doesn't quite go to plan, you can still get to the next host on the agreed date.
Making a firm commitment with the host
We take it on trust that once a wwoofer says they are coming to us, they will turn up as intended. However, we've been badly let down on several occasions by wwoofers who retrospectively we realised were just stringing us along until they found a softer option elsewhere. Talking to other hosts we realise that this situation is very common. However, no-shows cause considerable inconvenience for the host, who has no choice but to suck it up. So to all intending wwoofers we say this: treat your potential hosts with consideration and respect (in other words, treat us how you would like to be treated back!). And if unforseen circumstances force you to change your plans,or you get what you regard as a better offer, please let us know as early as possible. Thank you!
Wwoofer and host commitments and obligations
It costs around €120 a week to maintain a wwoofer at the nursery. In addition to the food, accommodation and provision of outdoor clothing, there is also a significant time commitment on the part of the host (time that otherwise might be used for income-generating activities). Wwoofers are asked to respect this by carrying out allocated tasks conscientiously, by pulling their weight with tidying and cleaning up and by taking personal initiative if it's obvious that something needs doing. Wwoofers who are unwilling to do this and who create extra work for the nursery will be asked to leave.
In return the host will do their best to ensure that the wwoofer's stay at the nursery is varied and interesting, educational and enjoyable.
If you're an intending wwoofer but unsure if you'll fit in
Why not get in touch with us and discuss your concerns? It's better for everybody if the right people end up at the right places. If you want an active social life, look for a host near to one of the larger towns or a host who takes lots of wwoofers at the same time. If you're a bit of a dreamer and just want to pick flowers or watch butterflies all day, or see wwoofing just as a cheap holiday, then wwoofing is probably not for you.
Fruit and Nut, just the best!
We've had many lovely letters and cards from our former wwoofers thanking us for their stay. But one reoccurring theme is that our wwoofers have been really impressed with the provision of outdoor clothing and footwear. Two wwoofers (female) who came from Spain in February 2016 had their baggage mislaid by the airline and literally landed in Ireland with only what they wore. But by the time they arrived at the nursery from Dublin airport, we'd managed to acquire enough winter clothing and footwear to completely kit them out.
There is a saying, popular in Scandinavia, that there's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. We agree.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Image: Natalie (Maine, USA) and Clarisse (France) carrying out tree surgery in the big ash tree, the largest tree on site. It overhangs the nursery beds at the terraces. Any branches removed had to be precision dropped, or lowered carefully to the ground by rope (July 2015)
Image: Clarisse in the big ash tree. Clarisse's previous climbing and rope access experience were put to good use!
Image: Natalie abseilling from the big ash tree. Natalie had no previous climbing or rope experience but proved to be a fast learner.