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Katie Austin from Virginia USA spent six weeks volunteering at Monkton this spring, bringing with her expert frosting techniques, a passion for pudding, and an angelic singing voice. Here she shares a little about herself and her experiences;

“I am travelling through WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), which connects volunteers with organic farms and communities. Before setting off on this journey I was working as a cook and yoga instructor at The Yoga Society of New York, Ananda Ashram. I love baking, green meadows, good friends and new adventures – the call of England, countryside and community beckoned!

After travelling in France and practicing my French, that most beautiful of languages, I am fortunate to find myself now in Dorset, England. The hills here roll right out to the sea, and Monkton Wyld Court sits upon what must be my favourite hillside. The old stone house is brought alive by gardens, orchards, jersey cows and a constant influx of people and ideas. Volunteers participate in every area of community life, working hard with a hearty dose of fun. I have shovelled compost, sowed tomato seed, cleaned house, replanted trees, decorated a chicken shaped birthday cake and much more besides.

There is a vibrancy here that gives momentum to the sustainability movement in England and abroad. I have learned about sustainability in farming practices, human relationships, and the daily rhythms of a fulfilling life. I will take what I’ve learned on to another adventure, but with every intention of coming back again.”