Gentle World operates two vegan volunteer centers: one in the Far North of New Zealand, and one on the Big Island of Hawaii, in North Kohala.
At each of our centers, those who are interested in experiencing the Gentle World lifestyle are invited to participate in our visitor program as volunteers. Enthusiastic individuals are welcome to join us to learn about the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of veganism in a positive and supportive environment.
Throughout the decades, we have welcomed the assistance of those who are inspired by our vision. People from all over the world are invited to learn alongside us as we work together toward achieving our goal of a more ecological, collaborative, self-sufficient lifestyle, with respect for the natural world, other animals, and one another.
By participating in the day-to-day workings of the center, visitors have the opportunity to deepen their educational experience by helping us to help others.
In these two beautiful locations, our member-volunteers offer educational services free of charge, including seminars, private consultations, cooking classes, and delicious meals to those who are interested in learning more about how to eliminate the products of animal exploitation from their lives.
In addition to educating people about veganism, we teach interested individuals how to prepare delicious, nutritious food and how to grow fruits and vegetables without using any pesticides or animal by-products.
We have also developed an extensive program of ‘practical ecology’, which enables us to demonstrate creative methods of reducing, re-using and recycling, to help others achieve a more self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle.
We welcome willing workers, and we look forward to meeting new people who are inspired to contribute toward building a gentle world.
Click here to read what others have said about visiting Gentle World.
Please consider making a donation to support our volunteer program.
Our year-round headquarters is in North Kohala on The Big Island of Hawaii. Kohala is a beautiful area, with clean air and lovely surrounding countryside.
We have a large vegan-organic garden with which we demonstrate how easy it is to grow food without the use of chemicals or any animal by-products. This location is our headquarters, from which we share our message with the world.
We are also the stewards of 454 acres of magnificent New Zealand countryside that we call Shangri-La; a private valley, with two pristine rivers. Here we welcome volunteers each summer season (from November-May) to help lift Shangri-La up to its name, which includes the planting and maintenance of hundreds of fruit trees, flower gardens and vegetable patches, all grown veganically.
Gentle World is not a business or a working farm, but a team of dedicated volunteers who work cooperatively to accomplish the goals of the organization. Our gardens, rather than being for profit, are used to demonstrate the principles of veganic growing, and to feed the member-volunteers and visitors.
We ask that all visitors who come to help us be prepared to exercise their personal integrity and work ethic during their stay. Because volunteer duties do not always follow specific hours, and our needs change every day, helpers are asked to participate in a variety of tasks, including garden maintenance, landscaping, general yard work, painting, carpentry, food preparation, cleaning and organizing storage sheds. We understand that different tasks suit different people and always do our best to take that into consideration.
Gentle World does not charge money for our educational program, but we welcome donations from guests and volunteers to help with the rising cost of organic food and basic necessities (such as food, gas, water, electricity, internet, etc.). Making a donation is not a requirement for visiting however, and no matter what a person’s situation is, we welcome all applications for visiting Gentle World and all inquiries into the programs we provide. Over the years, we have hosted visitors from Workaway, HelpX, WWOOF, Help-Stay, Hippo Help, and other work-trade, help exchange and volunteer networks.
Please be aware that our New Zealand center is open only during the summer months, and is closed to visitors from the end of April until the beginning of November.
~ Silvi Burden
When I first came to Shangri La, to stay for a week with the people of Gentle World, I had no idea what to expect. I was really nervous about staying with people I had only emailed with beforehand. And in addition: vegans.
I had been a vegetarian myself for only two and a half years, and didn't have much in my mind about vegans, except that I thought veganism a very fundamentalist and ...
Over the last six years that I spent as a vegetarian, vegan felt like a small step away. Vegan was, from my perspective, the sister of vegetarianism; close, but with a tumultuous relationship. It wasn’t until one month ago, when I actually became vegan, that I really began to understand how distant these concepts are and why there has and continues to be tension between these two communities.
There were a lot of reasons I became ...
~ Tiziana Picasso
I was a vegetarian for two years when I arrived in Shangri-La. But I never really thought about veganism. I didn’t want to give up my cheese (I’m French, you understand?)
The first words there were "Vegan is the first step." Done, I was vegan.
We had delicious meals every day in Shangri-La, I didn’t feel like I was giving up anything.
I had nice talks and realized animals are not food or any kind of ...
by Mimi Yoshiyama
In December of 2015, on a very sunny spring day, I arrived at this hidden valley in the far north of New Zealand.
My first week in Gentle World passed by so quickly, as I helped with weeding, cooking, cleaning, renovating a caravan, and preparing amazing, soulful veganic dinners every night.
After my first week, I visited town and I went to the beach with some non-vegan friends. On our way home from a hot sunny day tanning on the beach, ...
~ Anthony Policano
Amazing how each new place brings a new adventure. Just when I thought maybe things might soon get boring, I stumble onto a new way to ‘get high’. I’m not talking about smokin’ grass! This time I’ve landed in an intentional community that’s serious about creating a better, Vegan world.
Here, ‘getting high’ is a part of everyday life. I laughed too, the first few times it came up as a catch-phrase in conversation, ...
~ a letter from Tessa Martens
Today, it has been one month since I was part of your lovely community and worked in the garden. I felt so calm and at peace in Gentle World and everything felt good. I realized there, in that beautiful spot, with the tastiest fresh spring water and lovely warm sun, that after months of struggling, my journey had finally found a destination.
Since I left, I've been vegan. It was not a question; it felt ...
We recently received this very inspiring letter from someone who visited us here in Hawaii a few weeks ago. We all agreed it was worth sharing...
Aloha Lovely Gentleworlders,
You were all so wonderful and my time at the farm was great. I LOVE my new cookbook and share it with anyone who is interested. I am happily cooking for hostels everywhere with the great recipes.
I worked at another wwoofing spot but they were not really vegan ...
My vegan family!
You guys transformed me into a person I am proud to be. I see life differently. I have noticed that I pay attention to the little things. My life in California was different. I wanted to help everyone and sometimes I would get overwhelmed, but now I have the perfect answer. Vegan will be the new me. Every single one of you will always be remembered because each one of you taught me something ...
Gentle World Family,
Though our time here was brief, we are grateful for the exposure to the truth about animal exploitation. You gave us a strong definition of veganism. Thank you all so much for hosting us and teaching us about your way of life. Our time here was short, but we learned a lot, and everyone has helped us get on our way to leading a new, more humane life. We loved our time here.
Thank you so much for welcoming me so kindly to Shangri-La. As soon as I found out about Gentle World on the internet I knew I had to visit. Sometimes things immediately resonate with us, and this was one of those moments. All of 2012 I saved for my airfare. To visit with you and experience your love and generosity is something that has changed my life, to see what is possible.
~ Lisa, Australia
Thank you all ...
I cannot begin to describe how much I have learned and experienced the past week. I am absolutely grateful that life brought me here, even if it was for a fleeting period. I arrived here as someone curious about veganism, but I leave as an individual enlightened, and committed to a kinder, gentler, loving way of life that is veganism.
What you all have here is amazing in every way. Thank you, thank you, thank you ...
from Jesse Seiden, United States:
For me, visiting Gentle World was the beginning of my journey, but I was so impacted by the peaceful sanctuary and the amazing people who live in it, that I decided to come back to end my time in New Zealand there.
My intention upon arrival was to learn about farming, but what I learned instead is a way of life. One that lives in harmony with sentient beings; one that doesn't ...
Back in April, we received a beautiful letter from two of our all-time favorite penpals... Eric and Lilly came to visit Shangri-La as wwoofers back in 2010, and have stayed in touch ever since. It's always a joy to hear about their vegan-making adventures, and we felt this particular letter was worth sharing...
Dear Gentle World,
At this time one year ago, Lilly and I were sitting in Auckland anxiously awaiting our visit to Gentle World, not ...
If you are interested in visiting either of the Gentle World locations, please contact us using the form below, with as much detail as possible. We respond to all inquiries, so if you don’t hear back from us within one week, please contact us again, in case your message didn’t reach us.
Note: We invite all new applicants to participate in our one-week program only, as we have limited accommodations and try to arrange for all interested applicants to experience Gentle World. Those who have completed the initial program are welcome to apply for an extended volunteer position.