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Castro Marim
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 120
Persons: 2 - 8
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 10431
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: March 15, 2011

Hello, my name Rosa I'm a 29 years old Algarve autoctone (that means that my family is from here and i was raise here also), i studied psychology in lisbon. I've met Manu (40 year old french baker) and we had Artur, our 2 year old energetic miracle. We felt the urge to return to my fathers lands, organic certified over 15 years now, to avoid their abandom in time and lost of all the tradicional oral knowledge regarding the managing of orchards in water scarcity situation. So we did. We've been here for 3 years now, transforming the old houses into ecoturism lodgments, searching a new strategy for making the farm profitable but also sustainable and self-suficient in food. Our aim is also to be self-suficient in energy by the end of the decade but because of the size of the farm and lack of economical recourses it's taking longer.
Our type of agriculture is 'natural' agriculture has we don't use any chemicals or even organic fertilizers, fertilize everything with menure from our animals, compost made from bad weeds and our organic garbage, and only use neem oil to avoid some plagues in young trees like citrines, bottles with vinager traping mediterranean fly, etc.

We are in the natural reserve of the marshlands of Castro Marim and VRSA, a Ramsar Convencion (protection for waterbirds migrations) protection area, where, if you like, can do birdwatching of rare birds. We aim to construt a smal ornithology observatory.

The farm has different areas to work on: A) the managing of the basic agriculture with 1 ha of adult fig trees (400), 6 ha of baby orange trees, 2 ha of centenary olive trees, 50 ha of carob trees, 50 ha of marshlands where we extract tradicionaly (hand harvest) sea salt and sea salt flower, 4 ha of almond trees, B) the transformation rea: making jams, biscuits, bread, aromatic olive oil, bath salts, gellys, etc., C) the managing of the self-suficiency areas: vegetable gardens, strawberry fields, chickens, cooking for everyone, cleaning commun spaces, doing soap, D) the pedagogical areas for school children and visitors: aromatic gardens with rosemary, tim, oregon, lavanda, animal areas: donkies, cows, horses, goats, sheeps, interpretive paths, ornitology orbservatory post, etc. E) the turistic areas: cleaning the houses, serving breakfast, working each weekend on our cultural association (CATAVENTO, acr) during events like concerts, book presentations, etc.
We usually work with local people, mostly old skilled workers that teach us agriculture managing secrets that you can learn also.

We will teach whatever we know in the different areas and recieve with gratitude the knowledge you can offer us. We search for people with good vibes, working habits, humor, and creative mind. We allow everyone to express themselfs into work as long as its usefull to the farm.

We can offer diferent options to wwoofers: aither A) 4h/day of work 5days/week in exchange for lodgment only (in a house with good conditions usually used for ecoturism and with a kitchen were you can cook your own meals) or B) 6h/day of work 6 days/week for lodgment and food (3 snacks + 2 complet hot meals a day). Usually we prefer A) when less than 4 woofers and B) when there's more than 4 at a time (so 1 can arrange the meal preparing).
Depending of the season we can receive from 1 to 20 woofers (all lodge in good conditions). We can recieve groups, families, organizations, etc. We prefer woofers staying longer than 2 weeks and up to 6 months. Different proposals can be considered but be aware that we rent some of the houses in summer (July and August) and we may not have room for you (if still you want to come bring a camping tent).

The seasons (need of woofers):
September: planting strawberry plants, fixing roofs (2-4w)
October: harvest quince and making marmelad and gelly (2-4w)
November: harvest olives for conserv and extrating olive oil, plant beans (8-20w)
December: helping to make fig truffles and pack them (2-4w)
January: prune trees use cuts for tree nursery, clean vegetable garden and replant (2-4w)
February: orange pruning and fertilization with cow menure (4-6w)
March: cleaning gardens and doing anual tree planting (4-6w)
Abril: cleaning sea salt marshlands for summer harvest (4-6w)
May: painting the old houses with lime and tradicional pigments (2-4w)
June: Fig harvest, making fig jam (10-20w)
July & August: Carob harvest, Fig harvest, Sea salt harvest (depends of lodgment availability but 4-6w)
All year jobs: making this an EDEN, proposing your ideas to improve it: compost toilets, childrens playground, ornitology observatory, etc. Also we have a water dam that colects water from the rains and could use some help (cleaning, building observatory, tipies...)

The weather were is generaly good in winter (sunny and temperatures from 10 - 25C), autoum and spring is incredibly good (18 - 30 C) although there are windy days, summer is really hot (25 - 35C).

As you can see, its an ambitions project in wich we aim to provid local autorities an exemple that sustainable, organic and ecological projects can be the future to our small village, and that mass turism is making tradicional knowlegde and agriculture disaper.

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