Spend some quality time in our small family-run organic farm in east Sicily, Italy

Country

Italy

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Favourited 1987 times


  • rating

    Host rating

  • feedbacks

    Feedback

    55  

  • last activity

    Last activity

    01/12/2022

  • Last email replied

    Reply rate

    90.4 %

  • Last email replied

    Average reply time:

    within 7 days

  • Badges

    Top Host
 
  2022 

 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

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  • Description

    Description

    --- Bring us (if possible) some traditional food or seeds from your area :)
    --- Consider having babysitting time part of the experience as our daughter is growing and we now need some help with her too.
    --- To best organize farm activities let us know your plan and also the day you intend to leave. Also please remember to let us know a few days in advance if you need to leave earlier than expected.


    Hi, my name is Guido and with my family we live in the area where Mount Etna is the closest to the sea.

    This area is renowned for its unique soil and microclimate; inevitable conditions if you have a three and a half thousand metres volcano to less than ten km from the coast.
    Our farm consists of a few plots, all of them a few km close-by one another.
    My parents (Turi and Caterina), my sister (Chiara) and my grandma (Giuseppa-for everyone just “nonna”) live in one of these plots and the one we hang out at most: a chaotic country house in the middle of a 3-acre grove; an old lemon orchard that my father has transformed into a fruit garden. That is the place we commonly refer to and identify as “the farm”. Today, in that small piece of land, we hold something like 60 different edible varieties of plants and trees, half of which tropical and subtropical. The steady increase in biodiversity together with the non-entrepreneurial management method has in fact fostered the propensity to a number of virtuous aspects of agriculture leading us toward other closely related trends such as sustainable development and self-sufficiency. What had begun as a mere hobby, over time became a lifestyle. This also thanks to the many small farmer markets and purchase coops carried out in the area, where we delighted ourselves in raising our visitor’s awareness about the big issues of our time, drawing their attention with new and exotic products and in recent years also thanks to some international cultural exchange project. We are and have always been firmly against chemicals and all kind of improper practices, even before becoming certified. We have two friendly dogs (Jaco and Bianca - update: sadly Jaco has left us in October 2021, I will keep this up for a while here) and some chickens. I see many of you want to come to learn or improve Italian, you couldn’t choose a better place! Lots of Italian and dialect gibberish in the house (don’t forget my grandma), not to mention daily traditional Sicilian gestures and body-language and out favorite sport: endless arguing :)

    I’ve also been a volunteer myself. I’ve spent several months in the UK and Ireland to loosen up my tongue a bit. My wife is from Hong Kong, we are okay with Latin-based languages and generally curious about all languages.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Teaching
    Gardening
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
    Help with Computers/ Internet

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Depending on seasons there will be always a variety of practical things to learn (grafting, pruning, wrapping, plowing, plucking, etc.), all imbued with a bit of scientific, philosophical and cultural background.

  • Help

    Help

    We believe 25 hours per week is a good match for room and board in exchange. Albeit generally in the morning, it is not rare to ask you to help us at a different time of the day (especially if raining or harvesting) or in different places. Our primary target of course will be everything involving the garden maintenance (weeding and cleaning, working the land, harvesting, maintaining and repairing, etc.). Some of our ever-going projects are the enlargement of our vegetable garden along with the improvement of the irrigation system and in our to-do list the start of a small plant nursery and greenhouse.

    Since she is going to walk very soon (update: she is now running up and down...heeeelp!!) we now need some playmate for our daughter Agnese. So consider this as part of our routine.


    A REALITY CHECK

    Help in the farm is not always easy. Our idea of helping is being entrusted with a task on our behalf, giving us time to think and plan about what comes next on our daily schedule. That is why helpers need to be reliable, self-motivated and independent. Of course that is not always the case, there are things we necessarily need to do together.

    About expectations: despite our attempts of a faithful description and the feedbacks in the profile there are always chances that this experience might turn out to be not what you have envisioned. It is a perfectly normal thing and nothing to worry about, especially if you come from a very different environment, culture or simply age group. With this in mind, before you contact us, ask yourself what are your reasons to apply and how many days you would be willing to spend at our place. You can even ask us to help you with this.

    Also, depending on seasons farm help requires a certain dead of flexibility: when we write 25 hours per week it does not necessarily mean 5 days a week and 2 days off. There will in fact be extraordinary circumstances (i.e. during olive/lemon harvest, in case of short stays, uncertain weather conditions or absolute deadlines) where we ask you to take more time off before reaching the required amount of hours per week or conversely extend the relative weekly hours limit to then recover the time off later- lets say, if you stay 2 weeks and we really need help for the first 10 days, you can help us for 50 hours the first 10 days and then get the remaining 5 days free (25/7=3.5*15=52). All depends on how long you are going to stay, that's why it is important to let us know your plan in advance. Feel free to ask for further clarification.

    Suggested clothing: long work trousers/jeans, shirts (long and short sleeves), old jacket/hoodie, boots (work/hiking shoes), hat, thick leather gloves, hear plugs.
    Rain jacket and wellies/water proof boots for fall-winter time and solar cream/mosquitoes repellent for spring-summer time.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent

    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.

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation

    Accommodation: You will be staying with me in our apartment in the nearby hamlet of Carruba. The apartment is 4.5 km away from the main plot (the farm). We move together by car.
    Depending on the number of people that come and go, you might be relocated in other rooms when necessary. Bathroom will be always shared. Wi-Fi, washing machine and the normal appliances and equipment needed for everyday living are available in case you are wondering. The apartment is on the last floor, surrounded by balconies and with a big terrace from which you may catch sight of the sea (just 15 minutes away) or tan yourself to a crisp under the sun.
    Bus stops next door and train station a matter of minutes away on foot.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Food: based on Mediterranean diet with often some Asian fusion whereas fruit and vegetables coming primarily from our land and friends’ farms. Of all meals, lunch and dinner will be normally shared. Let us know of any animal/food allergies you have.

    IMPORTANT: we believe if you are in Italy you deserve to try food made by us, therefore we usually take care of the cooking and enjoy it. But in exchange for this you need to help with the washing.


    The main plot (the farm) is located in Giarre’s southern outskirts, less than a mile from the motorway’s (A18) exit and easily reachable by all buses covering the SS114 Messina-Catania. We are approximately 40 km from Catania International Airport, 35-50 minutes depending on connections between public transport – the train takes no more than 25 minutes to get to Catania Centrale railway station. The apartment is 4 minutes on foot from the train station.
    A word of advice: dealing with the mysterious realm of our public services might sometimes be an “extraordinary” experience. Therefore, plan your connections carefully!

    Being a densely built area, villages often come in succession, merging together (sometimes it’s hard to say where the one starts and the other ends), each with its own historic core - churches, bars, squares, etc.
    The "Riviera dei limoni", a portion of coastline stretching from Catania to Taormina (Acicastello, Acitrezza, Acireale, Giarre-Riposto, Fiumefreddo, Giardini Naxos, and minor coastal villages/seaside resorts such as Fondachello, Torre Archirafi (not too far away from Carruba), Pozzillo, Stazzo, Santa Tecla, etc., offer a variety of cultural, historical and touristic attractions. However, excluding the biggest and most popular places, the remaining part is not otherwise subjected to foreign clout, which in my opinion makes it even more interesting.

    My family might take a moment to decipher your words, my grandma transcends the need to, but they are getting better and better at it since we started.

    Having been a helper myself, I have an overall idea of what it’s like to be treated and I will do my best in trying to make your experience as enjoyable and varied as possible. Apologies in advance for our possible lack of organization :)

    See you soon!

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    This host has indicated that they love having digital nomads stay.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    This host can provide space for campervans.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    25 hours a week

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

Accuracy of profile: (4.8)

Cultural exchange: (4.6)

Communication: (4.4)































Host ref number: 513474231342