Volunteering on Vegan Farm in Northern California: Several piglets snuggled up together in the hay

Your trip at a glance


  • Be part of an animal welfare project in the midst of California’s nature
  • Become active in protecting former farmed animals
  • Work in a team of experi­enced animal rights activists
  • Experi­ence an entirely vegan lifestyle during your time at the sanctuary
  • Learn about an animal friendly lifestyle and the harming effects of factory farming
  • Get to know the fasci­nating “Golden State” of the USA


Grass Valley
A chicken is sitting on a rock on the grounds of our animal welfare project in Northern California.
Animal welfare in the USA: Two rabbits are sitting in their barn on a Vegan Farm in California.
Close up of a goat in its barn on a Vegan Farm in the Northern part of California
A white and a brown chicken are sitting close together in their barn in Northern California.
An animal welfare volunteer is sitting on the ground of a barn, petting a calf.
Volunteering in the USA: Several cows are grazing on a meadow in California
Close up of a turkey which lives in an animal rescue centre in Northern California
A goat in California is bending forward to its offspring, resting in the hay.

Animal Welfare in the United States

As part of a team of experienced animal rights activists and other volunteers you make an active contribution to animal protection and, at the same time, get the chance to discover the beautiful West Coast of the United States.

A sheep is standing in a meadow in California, curiously looking into the camera.

Arrival and orien­ta­tion on the West Coast

Your time as a volunteer begins at Sacramento International Airport. You will be welcomed by a staff member of our partner who takes you to the project site. After your arrival you will meet other volunteers and settle into the accommodation facilities. The following morning you will receive a guided tour of the sanctuary where you will be working. Likely you will begin working in the afternoon or the next day.


Volunteer activ­i­ties in California

You are expected to work four consecutive days in 9-hour shifts, with a 1-hour lunch break.
Your responsibilities depend on the needs of the animals, the sanctuary and your skillset. In general, you assist with daily feeds, clean and bed animal sleeping quarters, aid with opening or closing of barns and help maintain sanctuary grounds. Moreover, you can observe weekly animal health checks as needed, sort donated products, assist with laundry, help socialise animals and other miscellaneous tasks.

An animal welfare volunteer is sitting on the ground of a barn, petting a calf.

By the end of the programme you will have learned the daily animal care operations, hands on care of farmed animals, proper medical treatments for individual sanctuary residents, and how to properly restrain and handle different species.
Out of respect for the animals, the animal sanctuary asks that all volunteers adhere to a vegan lifestyle. Please do not bring any animal-based foods to the sanctuary and only shop vegan products at the supermarket while being part of the project.

Looking into the living room of our animal welfare project's volunteer accommodation in California

Accom­mo­da­tion in the USA

Even though a simply picturesque landscape awaits you, you should be aware of the fact that the station is quite isolated and your free time opportunities will be limited unless you rent a car. Volunteers live on the animal shelter site in a shared-accommodation guest house. The house has a fully equipped kitchen, a living area with a TV and DVD player, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also has access to the internet. If available to a volunteer’s smartphone, one can enable making phone calls via WiFi. Cell phone service is limited but available. There is a land-line but not for making long-distance phone calls.
In the fully equipped kitchen of the guest house volunteers can prepare meals themselves. Volunteers will need to provide their food items, though.

Looking over the grounds of our volunteer project in California, dedicated to protecting former farmed animals

Leisure time as a volunteer in North America

Volunteers have two days off per week. Unless there is an emergency need at the sanctuary, days off are consecutive. The shelter is within driving distance to several local, state, and federal parks including the Tahoe National Forest. It’s also within driving distance to Grass Valley or Nevada City which contain theatres, movies, restaurants, concerts, wineries, bars and recreational areas. In the other direction is California’s capital, Sacramento which is full of restaurants, bars, museums, and recreational areas. Please note that Yosemite National Park is between 4 and 4.5 hours away. The Bay Area (e.g. San Francisco) is between 2.5 and 3 hours away. If you have a driving license and are at least 21 years old (25 years old for some companies), you can rent a car to discover the West Coast.

Close up of a goat in its barn on a Vegan Farm in the Northern part of California

Special notes for the California Vegan Farm project

You certainly took a look at our general information and requirements on our volunteer programmes.
Apart from that, a few more aspects need to be considered when joining our animal welfare project in Northern California. Out of respect for the animals, the animal sanctuary asks that all volunteers adhere to a vegan lifestyle. By not buying these products they would like to make a stand for justice, role-model a more peaceful relationship with animals and boycott businesses that raise or kill animals for profit.

A chicken is sitting on a rock on the grounds of our animal welfare project in Northern California.

Please do not bring any animal-based foods to the sanctuary and only purchase vegan products at the supermarket while being part of the project. Goods that are not permitted at the sanctuary are: Animal flesh (to include fish and insects), dairy from animal lactations (to include milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, whey, casein, etc.), eggs, honey, gelatin, animal fibers or skins: leather/suede, wool, fur, feathers, down, silk, cosmetics or personal hygiene care tested on animals or containing animal-derived ingredients.
We understand you may require medication that has been tested on animals or contain animal ingredients – these are permitted.

FAQ – Learn more about this trip

Learn what others say about their Natucate adventure.

Review Volunteering USA California Animal Welfare – Marlene

“What remained particularly positive in my mind is the interaction among the staff members because they were incredibly open and very kind. I also very much liked the tasks that were given to me [...].”

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Review Volunteering USA Vegan Farm – Sandra

“It is incredibly nice to get to know all the different animals. They all have their own history and their own personality.”

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Review Volunteering USA California Nature Conservation – Alice

“After a few days in the house there it feels like my new home and I met a lot of nice people from all over the world. It’s a good experience to live and work with them [...].”

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Review Volunteering USA Florida Mustang Rescue – Anna-Lena

“I really recommend this programme. Natucate cared for me very well. I felt very comfortable and was sure I’m in good hands. I spent two unforgettable months in Florida.”

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  • reiseorte-usa-grass-valley-kuhe-natucate
    1. Grass Valley

    Grass Valley is a city of nearly 13,000 inhabitants in Nevada County in the US state of California. It was founded in the later 19th century, at the time of the famous gold rush. The charming cityscape still bears witness to this era long past and thus offers a window to this special epoch of US-American history.

    During your time as a volunteer in our Vegan Farm project, you will be living on the grounds of the Animal Welfare Centre, just a short drive from Grass Valley. Situated in the middle of the countryside between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, it is the ideal retreat for animals rescued from mass livestock farming.

Purpose of the animal welfare project in California

To cover the increasing consumption of meat, dairy products and eggs, factory farming has been expanding over the last few decades. This way many animals suffer exploitation and terrible living conditions.
Founded in 1989, the animal sanctuary provides shelter to rescued farmed animals arriving from small and large farms, slaughterhouses, research facilities, and neglect or cruelty cases. The sanctuary aims at offering a lifelong place of refuge at which the animals receive utmost respect and devotion. They provide sanctuary to more than 250 cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep and rabbits.
In addition to providing sanctuary to farmed animals, the facility serves as an education and advocacy center. It offers tours, cooking classes and workshops as well as volunteer opportunities. Because factory farming takes the lives of billions of land animals each year in the United States, all team members promote a vegan, cruelty-free lifestyle.
In addition to the permanent sanctuary, there is a 60-acre adoption center located about 35 miles southwest of Sacramento, placing needy farmed animals into permanent homes. The sanctuary also offers workshops, cooking classes and tours for visitors to inform them about an animal friendly lifestyle as well as the harming effects of factory farming.


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