Looking for one or two volunteers in Perugia, Umbria, Italy



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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    We are Sacha & Sofia, in charge of our lives and a mostly off-grid farm.

    Sofia is from Madeira, Portugal, she speaks Portuguese, Italian and English, Sacha is a European cross-breed who speaks nine languages and still has an appetite for more.

    We are looking for TRULY HARD-WORKING people, willing to sweat it with us (not just for a moment, but for several hours !), who are healthy down to the bone, healthy and independant characters in heart and head ... super-fit for work !

    You MUST also ENJOY living in an off-grid situation ! There are days when we do not have enough electricity to run the fridge and we use torches and candles instead of the electric lights. Have you ever taken a (100% fossil fuel free !) wonderfully HOT shower in candle-light ?
    It is a truly unique experience !

    Let's define workawayers:

    A "workawayer" is who - in our presence - lives with us on the farm and helps us - as defined by this platform.
    - We will provide for all of the regular farm foods and groceries but we do expect you to join into the efforts for cooking and clearing up and that's both on "work days" and on "free days" !!!
    - You will be able to join us when we go out to town and join the cultural events the city offers (Covid situations permitting) !
    - We have two single beds for workawayers which are in the common room/kitchen: please read more details under "accomodation".

    We currently have the following animals: 4 sheep, 1 ram, 2 lambs, 3 Vietnamese potbellies, 30 hens, 4 cocks, 3 cats (updated Oct. 2020).


    For 25 years, I (Sacha) lived in the historical city centre of Perugia, Umbria, Italy but four years ago, I moved to my small countryside farm just outside town.
    More specifically, Sofia and I now sleep and live at the farm but still relate and go up to my old neighborhood in the historical city centre on a weekly basis.

    Five years ago, I purchased a plot of land (1 hectar or 2,5 acres) and a small house on it which is ONLY 1km away from town.
    It's so peaceful, so beautiful with the fireflies and the nightingale and even the locals, the Perugini don't know about this tucked away corner just outside their city.

    We are working on this land becoming a small farm with a vegetable patch and a fenced-in area to raise hens and geese, sheep, working towards self-sustainability by making use of rainwater harvesting for irrigation (currently at a capacity of 17.000 litres but needs to be extended), a large compost-area to produce fertile soil, an irrigation system to avoid waste of water, off-grid production and storage of electricity, seed conservation, food preservation (this one on a small scale for now; jams, tomatoes, olives).
    Whenever our ewes lamb, we have daily fresh milk and continue experimenting with cheese, ricotta and butter making.

    I have several specific projects in mind while welcoming your know-how, advice and suggestions regarding all projects.

    Originally from England and Germany, I moved to Perugia, Umbria, Italy 27 years ago. I can help you understand the Italian culture, language, history, architecture and a bit of the cuisine but we will also need to get the work done ;-)

    Oh, I also know the night-sky like the palm of my hand and can help you learn some constellations (or all if you are motivated !)

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • 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

    I am a linguist and have spent many of my years studying and teaching languages.
    You will be able to improve your Italian and/or your English and/or your German. You will be able to join the twice weekly Italian lessons which I help organise within our neighbourhood association.
    It will be my pleasure to introduce you to my buddies and mates in our lively neighbourhood, many of them are artists and most are Italians.
    If you have never done any farming then this will be a great "hands-on" opportunity for you to learn the ABC of farming.

  • Help


    Looking for one or two volunteers (couples welcome) to help us build a small, relatively self-sufficient and ecological farm. You are best suited if you have simple building skills and a "green thumb".

    Here's a list of examples of what we've been doing so you can get a feel for what kind of work we do:

    - Upgade our rainwater harvesting system (involves digging with spade, pick-axe, shovel) - ongoing process.
    - Complete the construction of our sheep and (future) goat stable (involves digging)
    - Fight the brambles invading the land: pull them up by the roots !
    - Dig and turn-over soils and create new terraced veg. patches in the sloped veg.garden area.
    - Complete irrigation system: Update: Almost done
    - Complete building a wooden hencoop and goosecoop: Update: Done
    - Build a fence around the future vegetable patch and chicken yard (involves stone-lugging) Update: Done
    - Construction of a bamboo fence for sheep and goats - COMPLETED !
    - Plant and foster crop seedlings - the vegetable patch needs daily attention (march-november) including weeding
    - Prune olive trees, fig trees ... (January to March)
    - We go save ancient trees and young promising trees from almost sure death by freeing them from the extreme ivy cover, we do this to truly offset our very limited use of fossil fuels.
    - Olive harvest (late October to early December)
    - Move seedling trees from one location to another. Update: Not a priority anymore.
    - Build a covered area for firewood, straw, hay, machinery. - DONE ! We call it the "New Shed"
    - Harvesting crops and preserving them (fava beans, chickpeas, courgettes, tomatoes), making of jams - YUM !
    - Incubating chicken eggs for chicks and raising poultry
    - milking of sheep and occasional cheese making
    - occasional slaughter and butchering of poultry

    Other tasks:
    - While the irrigation system isn't yet completed: Watering the vegetable patch and seedlings
    - Keep a diary
    - Maintain good relationships with the neighbours.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    German: Fluent
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent
    French: Fluent
    Italian: Fluent
    Russian: Fluent
    Arabic: Intermediate
    Chinese (Mandarin): Intermediate

    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


    The appartment here has a total of 40 square metres and is divided into three rooms only:
    1. The front room is where we all enter and exit and functions as the kitchen and living room. We have two single beds in this room. This is where you will be sleeping as a workawayer.
    2. The back room which is our private bedroom with a big bed. This is where you can chose to sleep as a farmsitter (we only need farmsitters when we go on holiday ourselves !) but you will need to keep most of your stuff in the front room.
    3. The one-and-only bathroom: the washing-machine is here (which we van only run on a sunny day) and a washbasin, toilet and shower. The shower is room temp only in the heat of summer (very refreshing !!) while it is the hottest shower in town in winter when we light a fire in the stove !!

    - You will live in a small house (40 square metres living space) in the beautiful Umbrian countryside, in a very quiet, beautiful and peaceful place
    - The historical city-center of PERUGIA is only a 20-minute walk (uphill, partially steep and VERY steep !)
    So it will be quite easy for you to explore all the alleyways and treasures of the city, enjoy night-life, live concerts, pubs…
    Perugia is a student city with many cultural opportunities.
    - There is parking for one car.
    - There's a big front room/kitchen with a wood-stove and a fireplace.
    - There's a bathroom with a washing machine and shower and toilet.
    - There is plenty of top-notch, home-made extra-virgin olive-oil available for your cooking ! (although it's best and healthiest uncooked)
    - I always make sure there is food around for your breakfasts

    - Furniture is spartan and old-fashioned (the beds are good, firm and comfortable)
    - Location not suitable if you don't enjoy walking and you don't have a car or if you cannot bear being alone at all (as farmsitters).
    You've got to be a fit walker to make that uphill walk to town !
    - No WIFI or internet but good cellphone reception (strong signals)

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    I am still active in my neighbourhood of the historical city centre and you will be able to join free Italian lessons (twice a week) and join in with artistic events and happenings.
    We have an active neighbourhood association where you are welcome to get to know young Italian artists and some of my neighbourhood friends. We have two cinemas in our neighbourhood, several clubs with live music in the evenings.
    Ok, this is not Madrid or New York but for Perugia, Umbria we are pretty good and trying harder ;-)

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    There is space for parking one motorhome or camper van here. We cannot however give you electricity or running water in your motorhome. We can, of course give you water to take over to your motorhome and we have a 12V battery solar charging station.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    25 hours a week with 2 days off

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Host ref number: 866263829611