A Wwoofer’s experience at Cambia

by Katie


Nature’s beauty has, for my entire life, captivated me. There is so much to learn. Why am I not working with the creation that is all around me?  With this realization I decided I wanted to work on organic farms and check out intentional communities. I wanted to work on farms and gardens  learn skills, how to grow plants and build with my hand, using nature naturally.  Since I currently live in Virginia I looked into finding some communities/farms to work on in my area. I came across Cambia on the wwoofer website. I called Gil and he asked me why I was interested in their community. What makes me want to live in a community? I explained that I wanted to learn more about community and how to grow plants and learn other skills with my hands. The ‘normal’ way of living wasn’t working for me, I had quit my job serving about a month ago and was ready to be doing something different.

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When I got to Cambia the first thing I notice was how beautiful the garden was and how cute the home was. There were a variety of vegetables, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, lavender, sunflowers and more. The goal at Cambia is to have a  sustainable permaculture garden/forest.  Seeing this garden that always had something ripe and ready to pick, was a treat. I’ve always found it interesting that no one really knows how to grow any of their own food. My grandmother had a nice flower garden when I was little and would visit her. I remember her telling me about ‘victory gardens’ that she had growing up and wondered why we didn’t still practice this type of natural garden growing. Here at Cambia the victory is present and there are plenty of delicious veggies to grow and, if you don’t know what something is, Avni, (the resident kid) is ready to tell you! I’ve never met a more knowledgeable three year old on what plants are what. He doesn’t forget the names of the plants!

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Starting at the bottom with Avni and Wildhorse.

There are many different projects going on at all times at Cambia. When I first arrived, I was there to help with the barn. It is not easy work, but with a group of five we all set up the foundation.

The vision of Cambia is to form a community that works together to build a permaculture environment in accordance with Nature. The vibe at Cambia is fluid. There is flow, there is constant movement. Sometimes the movement is slow, life happens.Other times, once we know the direction of the project being done, then it is steady and true. Projects can get done or at least gain some momentum.


There was a sun cooker and a water collector along with a trampoline. The land is about 20 acres and, at the entrance of the community, it is more cleared. The sun cooker has been used to make cookies, bread, beans and other delicious food.

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The sun cooker was used a few times to help make dinner while staying at Cambia. Some items that were made in the sun cooker include, cookies, beans, and some veggies. Seeing a sun cooker was great and a wonderful way to make food without using energy from the grid. Free energy in use is a wonderful advancement for thrivability!

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Avni is ready to eat!

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Outdoor Kitchen

There was always many different things to be doing and cooking for the group is certainly one that many enjoy. The food while visiting was mostly vegan which I greatly appreciated, as I do not approve of killing animals. I am Vegan.  The community said they were planning on being as vegan as possible, they do however subscribe to the freegan lifestyle which I can completely understand.  The only animal products used while I was there were dairy. The community conversed that this was not always going to be a staple and the eventually they would prefer to have a goat and make their own milk and cheese.

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Here is Shawn, Gil, Ella, all working on the barn.

After talking to Shawn, he explained that one of the main purposes of the barn would be for the projects various members would be working on. Also for classes like yoga, communication, wood carving, ropes, etc.

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This area was cleared by a cyclist that came through and is now a more cleared camping area. There are several of these little nooks throughout the property leading out into the forest which is the final destination of the community.

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Avni and Mac dog leading me into the forest.

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Here is a little creek to relax and cool off in the afternoon.

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There is a bench and the community is working with the creek naturally to help create a bigger habitat.

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This is a dehydrator in the common kitchen, here Gil and Avni are checking out the peppers to see if they are ready yet.

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In this picture there is an outdoor refrigerator, it is made out of styrofoam and wood from the property. It works well at keeping all the fruits and veggies from perishing during the hot summer days.

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Ella and Avni are just chilling out and having some relaxing time on the porch.

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This is a nice little shed which reminds me out the saying from the popular show ‘Dr Who.’ “It’s bigger on the inside.” This is where most of Cambia resides for now.

I’ve had a good time working here at Cambia, it has been a great learning experience for me. There have been many interesting conversations and interactions with everyone working together. There was never a dull moment and rarely was anyone on their electronics which was a nice change from what I’ve seen in society lately. In a time where everyone is so immersed in their electronic devices it is nice to be in a setting where the emphasis is on community and unity. Working together to find common ground and achieve some progress in everyday life is commendable.

A Wwoofer’s experience at Cambia

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