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"Taste a different life."
We run a small educational non-profit organization with a permaculture farm. We offer people the chance to experience a simple life in connection with nature. We hope this will inspire and motivate people to become less dependent on ending resources.
Due to Corona and the temporary pause in long-term volunteers, we don't organise activities for the neighbourhood right now. We probably start them up again in spring 2022. The most important one is the pizza-party, at which we share our harvest and our products, four times per year. If there's enough people to manage it, we organise crafts evenings once per week. We sometimes host people with less life opportunities.
If there are long-term volunteers to do it (which was the case until 2020, but not right now), we sell sourdough bread, made in our wood-fired masonry oven. Now we only bake for ourselves, approximately every two weeks.
In the permaculture garden, we try to build up fertile soil with organic material from the surrounding. We grow most of the vegetables we eat, which means the cook must be creative from time to time. Surplus vegetables and fruits are sold occasionally or brought to Poverello Ronse, where volunteers cook free meals for the poor.
The place is gradually built out by the volunteers, using low-tech ecological building techniques such as rocket-stove, clay from the land, wood from the forest, and homemade paint based on fresh cheese and flour (next to more traditional materials). The big transformations are already made, but from time to time there are still small projects undertaken.
The project is ran by the owners of the place (Ine, Dirk, Hazel (13) and Sienna (11)), sometimes helped by some long-term volunteers.
The 4 ha domain has forest, orchard (meadow), and agricultural land. There are sheep, dogs, cats, chickens, a rabbit, and an old horse.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Most of the learning we have to offer is in the experience of everyday life close to nature.
Depending on the volunteers there are sometimes group activities in the afternoons or evenings, like playing games, making art or crafts, watching movies.
Skills are taught as you need them, so the longer you stay, the more you can learn.
There is place, books, some tools and a lot of natural materials to do your own projects such as spinning, cutting a wooden spoon, make a basket, make nettle fibres, ...
It's always great to have people who stay a bit longer (one month and longer) and can take up some responsibility such as making bread, take care of some of the animals, help the garden (with supervision), organise the kitchen, the laundry, the bikes, the tools, help with communication or accountancy, ... If you stay longer, you can learn more and really 'land' in the rhythm of the land-life.
Also those who come for only a few weeks can help.
In autumn, we collect and preserve fruit and vegetables: make juice, jams, syrup, compote, pickles, passata, dried fruit, ...
There are some piles of 1m logs that need to transported (with help of the tractor) up from the forrest.
Help with cooking is greatly appreciated.
There's always wood to be chopped and stacked, and horse manure to be collected.
Depending on your capacities and ongoing projects, there might be some eco-building work. We have a pile of logs ready for an adventurous volunteer that wants to make a log-house sauna out of it.
We are worried about the way the current generations are consuming all the abundance of this planet. Although we, by far, don't know the answer to this, we believe a closer contact to nature, a reduction of consumption and a fair distribution are essential. On the one hand, we try to live this life, in a world that is not (yet) made for it. On the other hand, we want to keep talking and searching for ways to contribute to the change of the society to a system that makes this kind of life the easier one. Also with this (searching and acting), volunteers are welcome to help.
This host offers a language exchange
This host has indicated that they are interested in sharing their own language or learning a new language.
You can contact them directly for more information.
We have reconstructed a former barn. There's a spacey kitchen with a rocket stove, where life mostly goes on. If the 'polyvalent room' is not used for activities, it's available for volunteers. In summer, it's a cool, shady place that we also used for drying herbs.
The accommodation is simple. Take into account that this kind of life takes a bit more time than in a house in the city. Compost toilets need to be emptied and sawdust supplies need to be filled. It takes more time to light a wood stove than it takes to turn on the gas. Vegetables need to be harvested and cleaned before you can start preparing dinner. Laundry needs to be hung, water kettles and hot water bottles need to be filled (winter) or hot water needs to be hauled in from the solar boiler in the next building, etc.
If you want to try/share this kind of life for a while, this is your project. If not, it might be frustrating.
Our food is:
- seasonal (so no cucumbers in April, eggs in December, or pumpkins in August),
- local (so no coffee, chocolate, or peanut butter),
- mostly vegetarian and low on milk products (but we have chickens for eggs and make some yogurt from milk of a local farmer).
- we cook on a woodstove
We mostly have unprocessed products. We buy some basics such as oil, grains and legumes and we grow fruit, veggies, and herbs. It’s up to volunteers to turn these into meals, bread spreads (jam, hummus, pesto, veggie pâté, etc.), and other tasty things like pickles or sauerkraut. We buy flour from a local mill using grain from local, organic farmers and bake sourdough bread with it.
Typically, there are oats and sourdough bread with home-made jam for breakfast at nine, soup or salad and bread with home-made spreads for lunch at twelve, fruit or smoothy in the afternoon, and a cooked vegetarian meal for diner around six. In the season, there are, of course, always fruits and berries to be picked for a snack at any time.
There’s an outdoor shower with hot (solar heated, so depending on availability) and cold water. In winter, water is heated on the stove, and you have to wash from a bucket.
All heating is done with home-made rocket-mass-wood stoves. Usually, only the kitchen is heated. The sleeping area is not. We have plenty of blankets and warm water bottles for wintertime.
In winter, the stove in the kitchen is heated once or twice per day for cooking and/or warmth. During this time it is possible to heat water for drinking and washing, which then can also be put into thermoses for later use.
When it’s warm outside and the sun is shining the solar cooker and electricity can also be used to heat water.
We have four separate rooms and a dormitory for three. Beds, sheets, pillows and blankets are available. Volunteers can bring a tent.
The place is easily reached with public transport. Every hour, a 10 min walk will take you to a bus stop, which will take you to a train station, which can take you directly to Brussels and Gent. Please don't come by car. There are some bikes, but they are only borrowed to longer term volunteers that are able to take care of them or want to learn that.
- We only invite non-smokers.
- There is wifi and a laptop.
- Compost toilets only.
The Flemish Ardennes is one of the most beautiful regions in Flanders, with a hilly and often surprising landscape.
At four kilometres, there is a small town with shops, a swimming pool, and a library.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have a decent internet connection and some very basic separate rooms. In winter, only the shared rooms are heated. We expect all people to participate in the life of the land.
Van can be any size.
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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