If you love animals, are prepared to work hard and long for the bucolic lifestyle, Stephen Overbury has a proposition for you.
Overbury is looking for someone to take over his farm near Smiths Falls, Ont., as he prepares to return to Japan, where he had lived for about 15 years.
But instead of selling it or renting it out, the 62-year-old is offering it up to the right person, in perpetuity — and it won’t cost a dime to take it over.
“[Selling] is conventional thinking, the prudent way of thinking about yourself and what’s best for yourself,” Overbury told CBC News on Friday.
“By selling the farm, first I’d have to dispose of the animals. And a number of them are older, and a few are special-needs. And that’s what I call reckless abandonment.”
Earlier this week, Overbury posted an ad titled “HARD WORKING POSITION WITHOUT PAY (honest!)” on online classified ad site Kijiji.
His ad offers “permanent use of a wonderful waterfront historical farm, four barns, a paved driveway, some equipment and a vehicle and, if necessary, free training to run a hobby farm,” along with a “picturesque 1830 stone home in good condition.”
It also says Overbury will cover the cost of food and vet bills for the assortment of animals — including cows, chickens, ducks and sheep — that call the farm home.
Since Overbury posted the ad, it has been viewed about 40,000 times. He said he has received “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of applications so far — and expects that number to continue to grow.
But he has high standards for who will take over his picturesque farm on the shores of the Rideau River.
For one, Overbury wants tenants who have realistic goals for the farm and would “genuinely” make use of it.
They also have to be tried-and-true, “compassionate” animal lovers, which means not killing raccoons or any other unwanted creatures that show up on the farm.