My name is George and I used to work as a high school teacher, till I decided to quit both city life and my job and set up what I call "my little paradise", in my grandfather's land at the foothills of the mountain, Northern Evoia, Greece.
I run the farm with the help of my partner, Katerina, who is mostly in charge of communication, workshops & volunteer planning.
Our natural farm is a project of Ecological Agriculture adapted to the requirements of a sustainable professional activity. The Farm is located in the magnificent Island of Evia, at the foothills of mountain, just 3 km away from the village of Prokopi. It is situated in one of the greenest parts of Northern Evia, in between the forests of the Mountains, just at the edge of Kireas River. The nearest beach, Pili, is situated at 12 km.
We produce high quality vegetables, fruits and other exclusively homemade products. Our cultivation methods are based on a synthesis of various ecological farming methods such as Fukuoka, Permaculture, Organic Agriculture, Biodynamic Agriculture, EM Farming etc. Cultivation of plants is made by a five year rotation method based on the principles of co-cultivation.
The Farm is surrounded by wild vegetation which provides shelter to beneficial insects and plenty of herbs and flowers which act as repellents in non beneficial weeds. For crop protection and the defense of the plants we use algae, various herbal extracts such as propolis tincture, zeolite as well as Effective Microorganisms (EM), which regenerate the soil and provide powerful antioxidant properties. The fertilization of the soil is based on green fertilization (manure), the subsequent incorporation of vetch, clover and cereals as well as organic residues through a composting method with earthworms. All our plants come from traditional seed varieties. During spring time we prepare seedlings of various traditional seed varieties, which we offer them through our kiosk. Dogs, cats, goats, chicken and pigs are some of the animals which are part of ecosystem of the farm.
The farm is 15 acres long and it is nestled in a lush valley of trees, a small river and surrounded by forests. The farm has a big variety of trees; about 80 olive trees, fruit, nuts, wild trees, vines, shrubs, herbs, blackberries, and generally a great variety of wild plants. At the farm, we mainly produce vegetables (more than 20 different veggies) using mostly traditional seeds. We are also involved with food processing, such as tomato sauce, marmelades, traditional desserts, herb extracts, homemade pasta, cheese, traditional "trahana" etc, exclusively by bio ingedients and physical processes. At the entrance of the property there is a woodmade kiosk through which we sell our products . Once a week we distribute the farm's products to Chalkis.
Our agriculture philosophy is based on five principles:
• we try to maintain the lowest possible inputs
• we do not apply repressive methods of cultivation
• we keep our own seeds through our Seed Bank
• we follow the principles of maximum biodiversity
• we apply both methods of "permanent-cultivation" and “multicultivation”
• we try to achieve and maintain the maximum self-sufficiency of the farm
• we keep a specific organizational structure for maximum working efficiency
• we produce what we call “products of consciousness”
In our kiosk, which is just on the road outside the Farm, you can find:
• Seasonal vegetables
• Handmade tomato sauces and pickles
• Handmade pasta with traditional bio wholegrain flour (special varieties of einkorn or emmer wheat)
• The traditional greek “trachana” with our own eggs and milk
• Handmade jams and marmalades
• Fruits & Legumes
• Eggs & traditional goat cheese
• Handmade tinctures and oils
• Natural Herbs
• Handmade Soaps
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
The main help needed on the farm is collecting vegetables, weeding, general garden care and maintainance, planting seeds and plants, animal care, processing of products and cooking. Also there is always need in tasks such as constructions, natural building, wood cutting and wood storing, housekeeping and selling in the kiosk. There are always many small projects to do covering various activities, such as cooking, designing, painting, building, etc.
The volunteering working hours are not really strict (as we are not a factory here and there are many different tasks in which you will get involved) and you will be treated as friends and honoured guests, though mind the fact that the reason we are here is to learn by pushing this small and brave alternative/ecological project forward. This means we need determined, self sufficient and conscious volunteers, who love farming and being in nature, who do not fear hard work and -at the end- who will be here with us to learn all the practices and methods of natural farming and all the needed steps of setting up a multifuctional natural farm. For this reason we ask for people who take initiatives, have a high degree of responsibility, are flexible and can work both individually as well as in a group, are not reserved and who do not fear to express their needs and questions.
Please note that you need to be in a good physical condition to be part of the team here. There will always be physically demanding tasks, so if you have health issues such as back problems or low stamina this might not be the place for you. Also, it is important to be open and talkative in order to form a pleasant and joyful team. Speaking relatively good English is a must.
The basic rules that we ask to be respected are:
- Keeping the commonly used spaces clean and tidy and well organised
- Being highly conscious when working for reasons of effectiveness and safety
- Waking up & starting work early in odrer to better manage energy wasting and work efficiency
- Keeping a cooperative profile which helps
- Respect the nature, animals and people co-living and co-working in the farm
We want to be clear that we are not interested in people who just want to pass by and spend some nights for free while exploring the world, because the demands of work are high. For this reason we do not accept volunteers less than a month. Our philosophy is to have time and space to really get connected with people who visit us and create long term relationships after the volunteering period. For this reason, time is needed for volunteers to get acquainted with the environment and the rythms of the farm.
In order to better manage the tasks you will undertake, please take some time to answer the following questions
1. Have you ever volunteered before? If yes, where, in what sector and for how long? What tasks did you undertake?
2. Have you ever volunteered in an organic farm before? Whew, how long, what tasks did you undertake?
3. Are you familiar with natural farming and ecological lifestyle? In what extent?
4. Do you have any skills/previous experience in construction and building (mostly with natural materials)?
5. Do you have any special food requirements that we should take into account?
6. Are you acquainted with life in nature? Do you have any discomforts or phobias regarding life in nature? (darkness, being alone, animals, insects, reptiles, etc)
7. Are you interested in learning how to set up your own little organic farm?
Natural farm is the ideal place for a multicultural exchange, personal development and education in natural lifestyle. As we are supporters of simple life according to laws of nature, we believe that volunteers will benefit in several sectors: organic nutricion and natural food combinations, contact with Mother Earth, rethinking of the system humanity has been living and evolving, environmental education, even personal development. The engagement with small tasks in the farm provides by itself a whole alternative schooling. Besides, people who visit the farm come from different parts of the world and there is a chance to meet and learn from other cultures. Especially when we use to gather under the big figue tree during hot summer nights and we sing altoghether! So if you play any instrument, you are very welcome to bring it with you!
English, Greek (George) -Greek, English, French, Spanish (Katerina)
Our volunteers stay in a 4 bed caravan, mostly in cold months.
There is also a very nice area under the trees for camping where volunteers can plant their tents especially during summertime. There is an open air dry toilet and sun-shower.
The area is ideal for camping!
We have set up an open air kitchen with all the basic cooking ingredients (oil, legumes, grains, pasta, herbs, spices, bread, , marmalade, cereals etc). Also, all the seasonal vegetables are provided from the farm. We do not offer meat and dairy products. Volunteers are free to cook for themselves in their free time and sometimes we eat all together. There is no oven yet but a gas kitchen with all the cooking tools you need.
Note that we do not offer supermarket products and we try most of the products offered to be locally produced. Bear in mind that if you are a heavy meat eater or you don't know how to cook organically you will have to invent a way to conform to the fram's products availability.
The farm does not have electric power 220V but there is 12V from a solar panel. If required, there is 220V power plugged near the farm at 300 metres.
The farm has two bicycles at the disposal of the volunteers.
The near village of Prokopi is 3-4km away.
The farm is 120 km away from Athens.
No drugs or alcohol are allowed in the entire project.
Cleaning your space and washing dishes is common sense.
The village Prokopi is a popular village because it has a famous church that attracts many tourists. The village has 10 cafe-bars, three bakeries ,8 taverns, mini markets, taxis and a bus station. The cafes have internet WiFi.
There are a lot of places around to visit; lakes, canyons, rivers(1km), waterfalls, beautiful beaches and thermal baths.
The closest beach is in the village of Pyli at 10 km from Prokopi.
More than two
5-6 hours per day