Hi, I'm Steve, and for the past three years I have been helping manage a large hamlet & eco farm in the mountains of Valencia, with my two friends Daniel and Martine. We have a large Spanish farmhouse on the edge of the terrain (with one of the best views you will find in Spain. I help host the volunteer team now that the farm is open to guests all year.
Located on top of the Sierra de Enguera, 750 metres above sea level, It is a space for the practice of Eco-tourism and we are starting our Summer volunteer project! The projects core objective is based on the start up of some 2000 olive trees which has the goal of fulfilling the following functions.
-Tourist attraction and recreational area for our guests
-Food supply - supplement the kitchen/restaurant in house
-Educational space to help teach the different methods of farming, and the agricultural biodiversity of mediterranean foods.
What philosophy and methods describe our agricultural project?
We are developing an agriculture that complies, on the one hand with the principles of ecological certification according to the seal of the CAECV (Committee of Ecological Agriculture of the Community of Valencia), but besides that we want to go one step further...
-We practice 'No Tillage' methods for greater carbon sequestration in soils
-We use methods in Ecological Horticulture that develop elevated beds using the remains of dead wood or trunks: e.g. The HügelKultur method. We do so because we practice mountain agriculture and have an abundance of resources (trunks, dead wood, shrubs). All this is organic carbon that we can mix with nitrogen and, in turn, help in the conscious clearing of the Mediterranean forest system and in the prevention of fire.
-In addition to launching our agriculture project we are trying to strengthen the rest of the mountain agriculture initiatives. We recognise the importance of networking as farmers and the importance these projects have for the maintainence of the mountains, the prevention of fires and the conservation of the Sierra de Enguera in general.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates
Why are we offering a volunteer program?
At this time the agricultural profitability of the farm depends on subsidies received by the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change of the Valencian Community.
We do not have an agricultural tractor and all the works are developed by hand using the following tools: pruning scissors, chainsaw, saw and petrol strimmer.
The "No Tillage" method of land requires, initially, more manual labor, independent of large machines and whose benefits for soil fertility we can see in a medium-long term.
The volunteer project has the following objectives.
- Strengthen the field work of our project
- Share this work in a natural space of incredible beauty
- Generate knowledge exchange networks with people interested in the agroecology and the conservation of nature
How does the volunteer program work?
This project is designed to give you maximum immersion into life in the Spanish mountains on an agro-touristic farm. We study and help in the development on the farm three - five hours a day, five days a week. This allows for full immersion into a smaller closer three man team or into the larger community centred team at Steves house. We all help at the farm on a three shift pattern; morning, afternoon and evening dependingg on where your stengths lie.
What benefits does the Volunteer receive?
- Develop knowledge of the Sierra de Enguera: landscape, forest vegetation, medicinal plants
- Practice an active intervention in its conservation through mountain agriculture
- Learn how to manage the innerworkings of an agro-touristic farm project
Who is this program for?
Anyone who wants to get to know what life is like atop a mountain in Spain 18km from a shop, completely off grid
People who want to participate in the conservation of nature in an active mountain agriculture project
What knowledge do we want to share with the participants?
-The different methods of managing the ecological olive grove and the ecological garden. We also want to share all the 'ethnobotany' associated with the use of plants that we can find in these mountains, to be able to use them daily in infusions, as condiments in food or for the preparation of creams and essential oils.
-All aspects of "permaculture", understood as a system of science based on meeting human needs without destroying, polluting or exhausting natural resources. We want to use all kinds of smart systems design in accordance with the rules of nature: dry toilets, bioconstructions, energy supplies with renewable energies (water, light, wind), development of self-sufficient communities.
Come be part of it!
We are looking for volunteers in the age of 27 - 45 years who speak English or Spanish to join our Summer team. The volunteers will stay with Steve in his house 1.5 KM away , enjoying a truly Spanish experience, or at the farm in a tent enjoying power showers an en suite pool and coffee machine!
If you think that our philosophy, way of living and the place we live will be a wonderful and unforgettable experience for you, please contact us with your motivation, period of stay and the tasks you can offer we are looking for (have a look for the tasks below).
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
This area is a paradise for people who love nature and silence.
What will you receive from us?
We work together with local Spanish people, we talk a lot Spanish. Because our guests are from all over the world, English is our primary language as it is most widely spoken amongst us. Although you are sure to find a lot of Spanish, and Dutch also!
Connect with nature and yourself,
You can have a look into the world of rural tourism,
Expend your knowledge of ecological farming,
The possibility to meet interesting people from all over the world,
You will learn a lot about rural life, living off grid, without main electricity and the natural park we live in.
You will receive lots of cuddles from our dogs and cats,
You can join the yoga classes for free,
You will be part of our family,
Use our mountain bikes, and Tandem ;)
Daily swim in the pool,
and last but not least......respect, clearness, transparency, honesty and encouragement to be yourself.
As a relatively young eco-farm, you will enjoy the benefit of being able to contribute your ideas to our ever evolving plan. We currently have a few projects in the pipeline.
We also have various other tasks, including restoring the chicken house and fence to its former glory, and protecting from our friend the fox, building a composting/dry toilet by the swimming pool, cooking for the volunteers, helping with the animals, creating a medicinal herb garden with an area to sit and relax, shopping, help to create a teenage hangout in a 50 year old bus we found in the forest!, and very importantly become part of the community. We need people to help this project evolve and fulfil our objectives!
Can you help us?
What are the activities on the farm?
In the olive grove:
- Make nurseries
- Plant vegetables
- Create more garden spaces with a concept of "Edible Garden". We use different methods: raised beds (German method Hügel Kultur) and Mallorcan methods (Parades in Crestall)
- Plant aromatic and flowering plants associated with agricultural crops
Tourism based help;
- Cleaning the pool
- Cooking daliy lunch/dinner for the volunteer team
- Daily upkeep of the team house
English, Spanish, Dutch,
Volunteers in team Tourism will stay in shared rooms with a max occupancy of 3. We have 3 large rooms, which have very comfortable beds, and duvets. The view of the stars is second to none, you can clearly see the milky way above your head on a clear night) (hot chocolate is provided)! You also have full use of the pool and washing machines at the farm. (washing during absolute quietest periods only)
The house has all the essentials. Electric, hot water, shower, big open fireplace, large bedrooms with double height ceilings, stables, where you sometimes find sheep the shepherd is looking after, and one of the best views on the mountain including an amazing sea view! The only sound here is "silence".
Volunteers in team Agriculture will share a four man tent (although there will be a maximum of three people) You will also have fulltime use of the facilities at the farm including the pool, wifi, showers, washing machines etc. (washing during absolute quietest periods only)
The ecological farm covers 68 hectares of land with 2000 olive trees, almond trees, walnut trees and various fruit trees. The traditional Spanish houses and rooms are connected by a beautiful, cosy courtyard. Furthermore, the farm even has it's own lovely chapel on the premises.
This is the good life, the simple life, the minimal life, with maximum enjoyment. If your'e looking for McDonalds, you are in the wrong place. We rarely eat meat, however you will always be sure to find legumes, seeds, greens, and all the other stuff you actually need. If there is something weird you want to know, just ask. We are pretty responsive.
There is loads of stuff to do in the local area, despite the fact the shop/bar is 18Km away. Activities include the following.
Massage (easy tiger)
Playing instruments, we have guitars, rain maker, didgeridoo, shruti box, mouth harps, flute, spoons etc..;)
Neighbour watching (binoculars not included)
Stone wall building
River swimming (if yer brave)
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
15 hours/week- no food,
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