We are trying to create an eco-sustainable model, we have already started with the central structure (kitchen and wood-burning boiler, water purification) and now our focus goes to the ground and how to handle it without having to be petroleum-dependent in the long term. The project is inspired by permaculture principles and we feel equally strong about care for people as for the earth. Healthy and tasty food is a medicine. We are situated in a valley between the coast of Cefalu and Madonie Regional Natural Park. A small river runs through the land, making it magically rich in biodiversity. In June 2016, weeks after the start of our project, a big fire hit the north coast of Sicily and also passed through the land. That's how the story started.
I am Uba, (35 from Palermo, Sicily) and I live here with Niki (31 from UK). After travelling as a cook for almost 10 years, I had the chance to come back and contribute to this beautiful land, filled by contrast. The project is the result of my search of the last years. It wasn't an academic research, but a personal one, focusing on myself and the environment, followed by a design courses in permaculture, regenerative agriculture and biocostruction.
Niki grew up inthe UK and spent most of her life as a dancer and actress, untill she started travelling and studying sustainable agriculture/permaculture. She now lives here, dividing her time between the project, her work with a UK based theatre job and basket weaving.
We have dogs and chickens here on 3 hectares of land, full of spontaneous edible plants, olive, citrus and fruit trees. We grow vegetables and step by step we are trying to introduce good habits to our life. The song of the birds and the sound of the river form the ideal soundtrack to the work carried out on a daily basis.
We are just two here but it feels more like a community with the number of volunteers, family, friends and neighbours that pass through and get involved. Any comfort you might enjoy here is thanks to the work of those who have been here before you. Having care means giving the opportunity to those who come after you to find better conditions. Shortly after getting the land a fire passed through the region, causing a lot of destruction. But now after three and a half years of hard work things moving forward.
The next step will be to build two rooms in clay to receive tourists in order to have a more substantial economy. But there is always work to do in and out of the house in the cycle of caring for the land, growing and transforming food and bringing the project forward.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
I was working in a kitchen for almost ten years so you can learn a thing or two about healthy, good food. . Learn the language. Try to understand together which is the way to create an ecosustainable system.
Providing our most basic needs' means having a comfortable place to sleep, producing our food and taking care of relationships, we take care of this and through this we grow.
For the beginning of the year the focus will be pruning olives and fruit trees, continue the work re-growing olive trees that were burned, look after the winter vegetable garden, start to prepare the soil for the summer one, I'd like to plaster the outside of the house, we'll see.
You can stay in a tent (bring the sleeping bag , please) or in your own accomodation but for the winter we have some exceptions,1 place in the mezzanine above the kitchen and two in a small mezzanine bedroom. There is a community kitchen and shared bathroom, compost toilet. Please only bring biodegradable/ soaps and products. We offer three vegetarian meal and some snack, our diet is rich but basic, if you need something more you are very welcome to bring extras.
We are located 4,5km from Cefalu, which could be a nice walk (if you like walking up and down the mountain that seperates us from the sea) or hitch, unfortunately there are no buses to the city. There are some natural beaches that are near and there's a river running through the land.
It's not super easy to get around independently, so it's worth taking into consideration if you're looking to volunteer a bit and then travel around in your spare time. Our place is more suited to people who really want to get involved, live like we live (which involves a lot of work) and have an opportunity to experience the reality of working with the land.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Max 25 hours with 2 days off
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