Traditional schist-stone farm renovation and permaculture foodforest in central Portugal.

  • Portugal
  • Favourited 25 times
  • Last activity: 25 Aug 2023



 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks



  • Description


    Our place is an old farm in the foothills of the Gardunha mountain range in central Portugal. After it was abandoned for 30 years we started with the renovation in 2021. It consists of a traditional beira baixa schist-stone farm house and the small former winemaking house. It is surrounded by 0,5 hectare of terraced land with centuries old olive -trees, cork-oaks, figs and several fruit trees. In 2022 we added a 1 acre horta (vegetable garden / orchard), with 4 traditional stone waterwells, to the property where we started our permaculture food forest project with respect to the local farm traditions.

    It is situated on top of a hill overlooking a small village (38 inhabitants) with a mountain stream in the valley below.
    The village is 35 minutes by car from the main provincial town with big supermarkets, restaurants etc. There is a beautiful river beach for swimming in the next village at 5 minutes by car.

    We are Jeroen (51) and Paul (51) , a male couple together for 22 years and living in Amsterdam the Netherlands and here in Portugal. Sometimes we will both be present and sometimes one of the two of us will be. We live with our female dogs MaryLou & HeyHey.

    The blue hand is one of the twenty seals/symbols in the tzolkin calendar of natural time. We were both born on a 'blue hand' day. In the ancient maya culture the blue hand symbol stands for everything that can be understhand, touched, made and healed by the energy, sensitivity and intelligence of the hands. We aim to be a natural and cultural place where this power of the hands is celebrated.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability 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

    Since we are using and re-using schist stones from the buildings and are harvesting xisto rocks and clay from our own hill there are many options to work with traditional natural schist stone and natural building techniques. In 2023 we plan to work on the wooden roofstructure and xisto walls.

    We also work with modern conventional builing materials like isolation foam, cement etc. In 2023 we plan to install a septic tank with a flowfield with special plants and we will dig trenches to improve the drainage of some parts of the land.

    We started our permaculture vegetable garden /foodforest in 2022 in the old horta (vegetable garden with fruit trees) that had been abandonned for over a thirthy years. So you can work on and learn from this project. Last year we cleaned two old waterwells, this year we plan to clean another well.

    You can witness and be a part of a very old traditional european village culture where people have been working with and from the land and with the natural elements for centuries and centuries.

  • Help


    We request our guests to help 4 hours a day for 5 days a week from monday to friday from 09:00 till 13:00.

    The minimum period of stay is 10 working days within a period of two weeks. The maximum period of stay is 20 working days within a period of 4 weeks.

    Breakfast is between 08:00 and 8:30. Daily workmeeting is from 08:30 till 08:45. At 13:00 hours the main meal, the lunch, is served in the outdoor kitchen area.. We rest between 13:30 and 15:00 hours. We cook and do the dishes in turns in the outdoor kitchen area. The time spend on coocking and doing dishes is in addition to the 4 working hours.

    During the hot summer we mostly work 3 to 4 hours in the early morning hours between 06 and 10 (workmeeting with breakfast at 5.30) to avoid the heat. sometimes we only work 2 hours in the early morning and 2 hours in the evening shade of the hill.

    Often , specifically during the hot months we rest longer and go for a dip or swim in natural waters or at nearby riverbeaches.

    Possible tasks in 2023; -restoring traditional schist-stone terrace walls -pointing of traditional schist stone walls - plastering/rendering walls, -bringing sand, clay, pebbles and cement downhill with the wheelbarrow, -painting the wood of the buildings -lifting old roof tiles -cleaning old rooftiles -cleaning an old stone water well -preparing the soil -weeding, mulching-sewing, planting vegetables and fruittrees -cutting dead trees -cutting and drying firewood -watering plants and fruittrees -harvesting vegetables, grapes, fruits and harvesting olives in november -cooking meals -washing the dishes - building a herbal steam sauna -building a finnish dry sauna - building a camper platform

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    French: Intermediate
    German: Beginner
    Portuguese: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    We are practicing portugese, can exchange in dutch, english and french

  • Accommodation


    You can park your own camper on the camper spot on top of the hill.
    In the period april till september you can pitch your own tent on one of the terraces

    Bring your own (warm )sleeping bag.

    Currently our volunteers cannot sleep in the old farm or winemaking-house since we are renovating those buildings.

    We have cold running water, electricity and a woodburner with dry firewood for the cold months. In the hot dry season you can have a cold shower with a gardenhose or a cold bucket shower. In the cold season you can have a gas-heated shower under the olivetrees and the stars or boil water on top of the woodburner and have a hot bucket shower.

    There is an outdoor kitchen under a roof with a gas-stove and wok burner and a traditional breadoven where we have breakfast, lunch and dinner/tapas/petiscoes/snacks. We have specific times appointed to have breakfast , lunch and dinner together in this area.r dogs.

    Expect: billions of stars at nighttime and very hot summer days in july and august. From September till May expect longer periods of mild sunny days with short periods of heavy rain days.

    There is 3g or 4g or 5g reception on the farm and 4g or 5h reception at the camper spot on the top of the hill. There is no wifi.

    Good to know: most nights are totally silent but some nights are with the sounds of barking dogs from the near village.

    We prefer non-smoking volunteers. If you do smoke please always do it in front of your own camper and not in or around the farm buildings in the garden or near our dogs. We ask you to keep your phone and tablet switched off during breakfast and workmeeting and during the 4 working hours. We do welcome volunteers that like to inhale natural herbs with medicinal benefits. We do not tolereate hard drugs use. Enjoying a beer or a wine with some olives or cheese is part of our portugese life.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    We have one car and one mountainbike. There is (limited ) public transport. We go to town, by car, at about once a week to do shoppings in the supermarket,or at the local farmers market, buy building materials, eat in a (vegetarian) restaurant. We go once or twice a week to a dance or music gathering or to the outdoor solar cinema or visit friends at nearby eco farms. During the summer months we go for daily swimming at one of the local river beaches during the hot afternoon. You can go hiking in the surrounding hills or nearby gardunha mountain range.
    We are open for doing daily yoga, meditation, making music and dancing together. We like playing board games.

  • 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

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    acces is tarmac road followed by 200 meters of dirt road (no 4x4 needed) there is a parking spot for a camper on top of the hill with beautifull views over the valley and the surrounding hills. this spot has recently been made by a bulldozer so it is still very dusty there this summer. we just installed a drinking watertap at the camper spot. you can use our compost toilet if needed. if needed we have a small solar panel for our volunteers that powers usb smartphones/tablets

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    a dog that enjoys to play with other dogs. cats if they are used to be carefull when village dogs are around

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    4 hours a day, 5 days a week, monday till friday

Host ref number: 847925315691

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