Volunteering in a Natural Farm, Island of Evia, Greece

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Greece

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    Last activity

    16/09/2019

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  2019 

 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

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  • Description

    Description

    Hello everybody!

    We are George and Katerina and we are partners in life and work. We live in our small natural farm in the beautiful island of Evia, with our plants and our animals and we make a living out of it, by selling what we call “products of consciousness” through our kiosk just in front of the farm. We host volunteers since 2015 and we have a very empowering overall experience till now, with people from all around the world. We are eager to teach whoever is interested in organic farming and we also gain a lot from our interchange with people from other cultures. At the end, we have managed to create a widespread network with our volunteers most of whom are considered as part of the big family, even if not physically present. If you’d like to be part of this family, please read carefully our profile and make sure you send your answers to our questions.

    A few words about us:
    George is a happy Little Farmer who used to work as a technical school teacher teaching future electricians, till he decided in 2012 to quit both city life in Halkis and his job and set up his “little paradise”, in his grandfather's land near Prokopi village, at the foothills of the Kandili mountain, North Evia. When he first came here, the land was abandoned, imbalanced and non-reproductive for itself, as the fauna and flora was much less diverse than it is now. In a period of less than 4 years, with lot of personal hard work, self-commitment and zero budget, he succeeded to establish a well-balanced productive ecosystem with a great range of biodiversity. George is in charge of production, sales and the farm’s general management.

    Katerina, is a crazy “libeloula”, who decided in 2016, after a 15 year career in the private and public sector, to quit her city life in Athens and join George in order to live off the grid in nature and make true her childhood dream. She loves cooking, writing, dancing, climbing on the trees, snorkeling, painting, carpeting and generally creating handmade things. She is in charge of constructions and infrastructure design, communications, marketing & social media, volunteers’ management and processing of homemade products .

    Our Natural Farm is a project of Ecological Agriculture adapted to the requirements of a sustainable professional activity. At this point we are self-sufficient in energy, water and food. We can’t afford employing employees and as we are in favor of host volunteers from all over the world as helping hands.

    Our work, adapted to the requirements of local climate and soil conditions, embraces a synthesis of various ecological farming methods (Fukuoka, Permaculture, Organic Agriculture, Biodynamic Agriculture, EM Farming etc). Wild vegetation provides shelter to beneficial insects. Flowers and herbs act as repellent to non-beneficial weeds. Algae, herbal extracts, zeolite and EM, are used for crop protection, plant defense and soil regeneration. Manure with subsequent incorporation of vetch, clover, cereals and compost are used for fertilisation. Cultivation is made by a five year rotation plan based on the principles of co-cultivation. We keep our own seed bank and most of our plants come from traditional seed varieties.

    We produce what we call “products of consciousness”: seasonal fruits/vegetables free of chemicals and other exclusively homemade traditional products (tomato sauce, pickles, pasta, marmalades, creams, balsams, soaps, tinctures and herb oils/ointments, etc). We run a small selling kiosk just outside the farm where we sell our products and we make home-to-home deliveries in Chalkis and recently in Athens. Domesticated animals of special traditional Greek races (chicken, goats, sheep, pigs, cats and dogs) are part of our ecosystem, contributing to its regeneration as balancers. All our animals live outdoors naturally and free and are nurtured with rich organic food from Biogreco Company.

    The farm is consisted of 6 different pieces of land, all in a less than 100m apart, forming a total of arable land 2,4 acres. It is nestled in a lush valley of trees, a small river and surrounded by forests and one of the biggest platan forests of the Balkans .

    Our vision is to provide a functional paradigm of harmonious existence of humans, animals and plants in a balanced eco-system. Our values are based on permaculture ethics (Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share) and include:
    • Creation of relationships of trust
    • Respect to nature
    • Commitment to our principles
    • Ethical motives
    • Humans above profit
    • Transmission of knowledge

    Our project’s philosophy is based on the principles of Degrowth, Regenaration and Transition. For us, our farm is like our child, a living organism, where we try not only to maintain a natural balance but also to promote the basic elements for a self-proliferation. We consider ourselves as a facilitator of this living organism rather than a manager.

    Our agriculture philosophy is based on the following principles:
    • Lowest possible inputs
    • Regenerative cultivation methods
    • Preservation and expansion of local traditional seed varieties
    • Aiming to maximum biodiversity
    • Application of both methods of "permanent-cultivation" and “multicultivation”
    • Aiming to maximum self-sufficiency of the ecosystem
    • Methods of conscious production

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Gardening
    Building
    Babysitting / child care
    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Farmstay
    Other
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Animal care

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    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!

    Besides, when the works and farm duties permit it, we may organize some small excursions around the beauties of North Evia. There are plenty of wonderful beaches, picturesque villages, fantastic rivers and waterfalls, thermal baths, amazing mountainous paths for hiking, gorges to explore and antiquities to visit. During spring and summer there are various local festivities with traditional greek music and dance in the nearby villages. Local tavernas and concerts are also an option.

  • Help

    Help

    The main help needed is separated in three major categories:
    • Farming: collecting vegetables, weeding, planting, preparing seedlings, pruning, general garden care and maintenance, animal care, food processing, selling
    • Building: basic constructions design, building, maintenance, carpeting, painting, natural building, up cycled building, wood cutting/storing
    • Housekeeping: cleaning, dish washing, cooking, babysitting, helping with shopping and general help to our household

    The volunteering working hours are not really strict and you will be treated as friends, 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 seek for people who are not afraid to 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. For us what matters most is willingness to learn, present in body and mind and being alaert of what’s happening in the farm. Experience and learning come after.

    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 -which are explicitly described in the Volunteer Guide you will receive upon our agreement to host you- are summarized below:

    - Keeping the commonly used spaces clean and tidy and well organized
    - Being highly conscious when working for reasons of effectiveness and safety
    - Waking up & starting work early in order to better manage energy wasting and work efficiency
    - Keeping a cooperative and communicative 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 here are high. We are a multifunctional farm, with many different activities, so this needs time for someone to get well acquainted to its rytmhs. For this reason we do not accept volunteers for 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 upon your hosting:

    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? When, 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 carpeting, 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?
    8. State briefly the reasons why you want to volunteer to our project

    Please state in which task categories you would like to be involved, as well as the period you’d like to be hosted and your time flexibility.

    During this period we have increased need of highly committed individuals as we are expecting the third member of our family and a babysitter and household help will be always in high need for the next few years.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, Greek (George) -Greek, English, French, Spanish (Katerina)

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    There is a a 4 bed-caravan (2 single beds, one double bed), at the disposal of volunteers, which is used mostly during the cold months of winter.

    There is also a very nice area under the trees for camping where volunteers can plant their tents especially during summertime. There is a -literally- open air dry toilet for volunteer use into the forest, not far away from the caravan. There is an outdoors shower as well and in case you need hot water for showering you will have to boil some.


    There is also a separate open air kitchen for volunteer use. Volunteers are encouraged to manage their own accommodation space and they have to be self-managed and self-sufficient. Volunteers are free to cook for themselves in their free time and sometimes we eat all together. Apart from the fresh veggies and the occasional fruits of the farm, we offer: organic olive oil, oats, .We do not offer meat and dairy products. 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 provide the products offered, from local organic producers. 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 a 12V from a solar panel. The is no internet connection as well. The nearby village of Prokopi is 3-4km away where you can find tavernas, cafeterias and a mini market.

    The farm is 120 km away from Athens and it’s connected by bus from Athens. For timetables please check here:

    No drugs or alcohol are allowed in the entire project.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Prokopi village, is a popular village because of its famous church that attracts many tourists (St. John the Russian). In the village you can find several cafe-bars where you can have free wifi access, bakeries, tavernas, mini markets, taxi and bus station. There are a lot of places around to visit; lakes, canyons, rivers(1km), waterfalls, beautiful beaches and thermal springs (Edipsos). The closest beach is in the village of Pyli at 10 km from Prokopi.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours per day, 5 days per week

tomatoe sauce preparation
big bean moustache
View from the caravan
Our fig produce
Happy natural cultivator!
Views from the big farm
Happy bean collector
Our outdoor kitchen, under the big figue tree, during summertime
Volunteers farm and caravan during springtime

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (4.0)

Cultural exchange: (3.5)

Communication: (3.5)










































Host ref number: 236652834421