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Jászszentlászló
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 150
Persons: 4
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 36017
Country: Hungary

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Last Updated: December 18, 2015

UPDATE

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We have suspended our general volunteer program indefinitely. Contact us only if you have small children and/or are involved in alternative/democratic education (unschooling, homeschooling, incl. Waldorf, Montessori and relatives). We are in the process of organizing a network of volunteering/hosting, traveling/settled unschooling families. If you are a volunteer and know of such a host we would appreciate you informing us.

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Our latest project (discontinued):

We are a small community based in Southern Hungary, focusing on healthy living, self-sustainability and free education of our children. We live on 150 hectares of grazing pasture with some cultivated land, forests and wetlands, bordering a National Park. We are managers/volunteers ourselves in charge of a bunch of farm activities/duties, the owners kindly allowed us to start a volunteer program that focuses on unschooling. We would love to receive volunteers (especially families with kids) who want to learn a bit about organic farming and who can help out with our unschooling program. We speak English, Hungarian, Spanish and get along with German and Slovakian.

We have a herd of Hungarian Grey Cattle and a special breed of horses (Polish konik x Arabian) selected for long distance trail rides and children. These horses are extremely calm and have a very balanced attitude, so much that often 3-4 year old kids can ride them alone. Traditional species of pigs, rabbits, chicken and dogs also live at the farm.

We grow most of our own vegetables (greenhouse and open air) based on permaculture and organic standards, farm fish in our small lake and produce commercial quantities of rye, hardy yam and curly kale, a recently discovered super-food. We have a fully functional mill, where we make our own wheat and rye flour, and bake our rye bread in a traditional furnace. The rye flour is also used to make different types of pasta that we exchange for other foods. We recently started a cheese production program, making various types of smoked, spiced, hard and soft cheeses, as well as yogurt, kefir and butter using the organic and fresh milk of our two milking cows and goats.

In the summer we offer free horse riding lessons for disadvantaged children and organize summer camps where traditional handcrafting, archery, survivalism, bush-craft, natural sciences and cooking are practiced.

We prefer traveling around the farm on foot, bicycle, horseback or horse-drawn cart (or sleigh if it snows), here you can easily learn both if you want. There is a car to take you to town in an emergency, but if you just want to go for leisure, you either need to walk to the bus stop or wait for a ride with someone from the farm driving to town.

Working arrangements are flexible. Most of us have worked many years as volunteers around the world, so we discourage set timetables and the "counting of hours", but appreciate participation in the work when needed. This is usually 5 hours of help per day, 5 days a week.

The main work is with the children living on or visiting the farm. You have to like kids and like being around them to be able to volunteer at our place. Our kids are unschooled (please read up on this before you arrive), and we want to provide them with a variety of experiences from different people and cultures. You do not have to be a teacher to be good at the job, it is mainly just being around them, helping them when they ask for it, suggesting or organizing activities, challenging them to push their limits. It is not babysitters we are looking for, but smart adults who respect and treat kids as mentally equal but physically weaker humans. If you have any skills or you are good at something (eg. music, sports, games, handcrafts etc.) this is your chance to be a real teacher.

Other activities involve feeding the animals, milking the cows, making cheese, pickles, jams and other preserves, working in the veggie garden, training horses and helping out in the kitchen. There is plenty to choose from, so we usually ask our volunteers what they like to do and assign these secondary tasks accordingly.

Volunteers with small kids have preference to a private room (if available), the kitchen and bathroom are shared with other volunteers and community members. Depending on availability, singles or couples can stay in a yurt, another farmhouse with less facilities or a tent in our garden. You need to be flexible with the accommodations on offer, we try to do our best to suit your needs, but this is a working farm with many guests who come and go, cancel and arrive without notice, so we often struggle to accommodate as agreed.

We use a composting toilet outside and our hot water is produced by solar panels and a wood-burning stove. We always have plenty of bread, cheese and fresh veggies to augment your dishes. We have internet access via mobile phone, but have to pay for it based on traffic, so if you need to use it for more than just checking emails (max 15 minutes per day) then you will need to go to town. Smoking is allowed outside the garden, pets are welcome as long as they get along peacefully with all the farm animals and people.

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