Volunteering at Macalla Farm

Volunteers have played an important role in the evolution of the farm from the beginning. Since 2004, they’ve come from all over the world to help with the workings of Macalla farm while in turn gaining hands-on experience and useful skills – and along the way, becoming part of our extended family.

Working alongside us in the garden and polytunnels, on the farm with the sheep and horses, in the kitchen and cafe, in the management of the centre, you can learn a multitude of skills and gain rich experience in what it means to live in close relationship to natural systems. While it’s possible to focus on a particular area such as the garden, it’s also good to be flexible and willing to help out wherever is needed.

There’s a particular rhythm to our volunteer season, for those committing to its entirety it means an early March start, finishing sometime in October. For those who can’t stay for the whole time, we prefer people to stay a minimum of a month and great if you can stay longer. We do have a two week trial period, just to make sure that the place is the right fit for you. Volunteers at Macalla Farm work with us in exchange for food and accommodation. And exchange like this requires good communication and attention from all parties so that it works to the benefit of all.  It’s quite a special thing, existing within a world where nearly everything is monetized.

From the feedback we have received from past volunteers, their time on Clare Island has been a really positive and unique experience, with some people returning again and again. We have made many friends including some longlasting and special connections.

LONG-term stayS

For those who can commit for a longer period of time (6 months or more), we offer an apprenticeship scheme. Being part of the entire growing season from March through September is a wonderful opportunity to gain hands-on experience. Contact Ciara directly with your details about yourself, your experience and why you’d like to apprentice with us. We’ll be accepting applications for the 2023 season at the end of this year.

If you’re thinking that Macalla farm and Clare Island is a place you’d be interested in staying for a while – perhaps working on your own project while giving us a hand part-time, get in touch and tell us more.


While we have filled some places on our team, we are still taking expressions of interest from those who would like to help us at different times during the 2023 season. We’re keen to meet people who are enthusiastic and curious – even better if you already have skills in both the kitchen and the garden – and who are passionate about good food!  We’re very happy to provide more details, including the dates we need help, so please get in touch!