We are Charlotte and Danilo, Scottish/Brazilian couple embarking on a life long project on a beautiful piece of land inSouthern Portugal. After 16 months volunteering in South East Asia (between Jan 2016 and Apr 2017) we are excited to be able to switch up the roles and become hosts ourselves! We are located in the sleepy Serra of Monchique, the highest point in the Algarve and one of the best kept secrets in the region.
Last summer (August/18) the Monchique area was devastated by wild fires, the land where we have based our project was very badly affected. Our aim is to not only regenerate this land, but also to create an ecological farm that we hope will inspire others to live comfortably and in harmony with nature. The project will work closely with a German charity that offers opportunities to disadvantaged children from Berlin. Along with the volunteers, these kids will spend time helping us around the farm.
Danilo and I also run a small business where we promote and sell local food and drinks. Monchique has a very unique range of delicious jams, honeys, spirits and liqueurs which are very well appreciated by local and foreign tourists alike. Eventually the idea is to increase our range, offering products created from the produce grown on the farm.
Although these are the very early days of this project, we have a clear idea of what we want it to become: a working model of sustainable food production and protection of native plants and trees. The concept is to experiment, develop and share techniques of natural building, regenerative agriculture and healthy living. This may include aspects of sustainable/alternative energy production, food production, food-forest development, forest management, vermiculture, water management, mushrooms production and community integration.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
This is a great chance for those who want to share their knowledge and get inspired by the surroundings and the slow pace of life here in Monchique. There are opportunities to learn about farming, food production but also how a small business works and to see the whole project grow from the very beginning. You can practice your Portuguese or English with us, or with the many neighbours living in the area. We really value all that Portuguese culture has to offer, both food and lifestyle.
The Serra de Monchique is a lovely place for hiking, biking, trekking, mushroom picking (in the late autumn), but it is a bit secluded without transport (3km walk to the village). Monchique itself can be very quiet in winter so we mostly spend our free time walking in nature or simply enjoying good cheese and wine by the fire. Spring and summer are the right times to hit the countless number of beaches on both coasts, (the nearest is about 35 minutes drive from us). Apart from that, there are quite a few towns nearby to be visited, offering diverse experiences for everyone. If you prefer to stay locally, there are a few cute cafes in the village and on the weekends you can find live music, concerts and even a mini electronic music party which happens every Friday (Friday Happiness), only 30 minutes away.
A day with us begins with breakfast at 7.00. Volunteers usually head to the farm at 8.00am (sometimes earlier in the height of summer) and stay down there until lunchtime. Water and fruit are provided to keep you going (you'll want to bring your own bottle). The afternoons are free for the volunteers to enjoy as they please. As we usually eat quite a big late lunch together, we've found that most people aren't super hungry come dinner time and are happier to prepare something small for themselves (we provide the ingredients).
The Quinta is situated in a 6.5 hectare piece of land of which 1.5 is agricultural land, the other 5 a magical cork forest. There is an old ruin which we plan to restore and a main house which, in the future, will serve as the base for the kids from the charity and for volunteers. Most of the work will be outdoors but don’t worry, we’re blessed with pretty dry weather all year round!
As the project is still in its early days the work can be a little heavy sometimes. We need a lot of help cutting, clearing and burning some of the trees that were damaged in the fire. We are also in need of people who have some experience in building. So far we've made a chicken coop and a tool shed, but lots more construction is scheduled for the near future (ie: outdoor kitchen/shower/compost toilets <- If you think you have the skills to lead a big project like this we'd love to meet you!).
Danilo and I are new to the world of plants, we've learned a lot in the last 2 years but we still have a long way to go. All enthusiastic gardeners will be welcomed with open arms! We are currently designing a food forest, following permaculture concepts (something we are learning a little about everyday), if anyone has a background or experience in permaculture, it would be hugely appreciated. We have our own chickens (not quite old enough to lay eggs yet!), hoping for sheep and donkeys soon.
We are looking for volunteers that are easy going, hardworking but especially for people who don't mind breaking a sweat or getting their hands dirty! If you already have experience with physical work like building or farming, that's great but not always essential. There are plenty of tasks to choose from:
- Farming and gardening: preparing soil, planting/harvesting veggies, mulching, landscaping, composting, planting trees.
- Taking care of animals (for now: 10 chickens and 2 cats): feeding, watering, cleaning their installations, composting their manure;
- Cooking: We usually make a big lunch after work and take shifts for cooking. We love to have people who enjoy cooking and care about our food :)
- Construction: building fences, buildings and general maintenance of the farm. This year we're planning on building an outdoor kitchen, compost toiler and shower block. If this sounds like something you'd like to get involved with please contact us!
- Social media: writing blog posts for our website, photography for social media, etc.
- Art Work: to beautify and harmonise the place.
English, Spanish, Portuguese
At the moment we offer a room in the house where we live (double or single bed) , it’s a 2 minute walk from the farm. Depending on availability, we may ask you to share a room but we'd always let you know this before you arrive.
There is also the possibility of camping or parking a camper van for those who wish but it might be a bit cold outside between November & March. We provide 3 meals a day: breakfast and lunch together, you'll be expected to sort your own dinner out (we provide the ingredients). Although we are not vegetarians, we rarely eat meat.
Where we live currently has no wifi but we're working on getting that sorted soon. If you really need to get connected, there is wifi available 10 minutes walk from the house.
Please remember that you are going to get dirty here. Bring old clothes and suitable shoes. If you visit us in winter/spring, you may also think about some water-proofs. If you're visiting in summer you may want mosquito repellent. Regardless of the season, you'll need sun-block and a hat.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
Accuracy of profile: