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help exchange   Host 27924
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All Year: no, May-September
Area (ha): 4
Persons: 1 to 10
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 27924
Country: Russia

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Last Updated: September 6, 2018

We're a family of 3 people: Vladimir (38), Julia (31) and our son Yasen (3+). We live in an ecovillage, re-inhabiting 5 abandoned villages, of which almost nothing was left. Here we're building a new ecovillage named Chistoe Nebo (English "clear sky"). There's a lake near us (1 km), all surrounded by young forests, in 4 km is a national park.

We're mostly into forestry. We have 4 ha of land on which we have a tree nursery where we grow hundreds to thousands of trees yearly and plant them in the nearby forests (and sell some). We live on old farmlands, which were abandoned some 30 years ago and are now covered with a young forest of low quality and diversity. We're planning to plant groves of broadleaved trees and conifers, to make the forest diverse and sustainable (which naturally takes 4 to 7 hundreds of years, but we don't want to wait).

We also grow some vegetable to feed ourselves and our helpers. But we're not a sustainable farm and we don't grow all our food -- we mostly buy it, because it saves us some time to work with the trees. We plan to become sustainable in the future, but we're not there yet.

The work in the nursery is done until September. We're planning to set up a new trail around the lake, which would be 13-15 km long. There's nothing of it yet, so we'll use axes and chainsaws to clean up the path, set up bridges over streams, and so on. Should be fun!

That's what we do and need help with. Planting trees, growing some vegetables, cleaning up forests, construction work, etc. If that sounds interesting -- welcome! We will let you know everything we know about growing trees, permaculture and (almost) autonomous living.

CONDITIONS. We work 4 hours a day, after breakfast and before lunch. We have 3 vegetarian meals a day. Typically we have porridge for breakfast (buckwheat, cereals), some soup and fresh vegetables for lunch (depending on season) and some prepared vegetables, rice, paste etc for dinner. People with unusual diets (e.g., fruitarians or sun eaters) buy additional products with their own money

ACCOMODATION. We have a small house where 4 people can sleep, kind of like an earthbag capsule hostel. It has electricity, a washing stand, small electric stove, kettle, heater, wifi etc. From May to August we also have a camp site, where you can set up your tent (please also bring a sleeping bag and a mat). We provide access to hot shower in our house, a washing machine, clean drinking water, electricity, free WiFi. No smoking, no alcohol, and we are vegetarians, so will be you for a while.

SCHEDULE. We accept helpers from mid April until late September. We mostly work with seeds, seedlings and plants, care for them and transplant them. Sometimes we do construction work, to extend our camp site. In 2019 we hope to set up a trail around our lake, which would be 14 km long.

DIRECTIONS. We're 30 km away from Sebezh, a small town (~5000 inhabitants) in Pskov region, 25 km from Latvian border and 30 km from Belarusian border. You need to go to Sebezh, then take a taxi to Kovalevka village (call 079 from your mobile phone, a ride costs about 400 rubles). You can come to Sebezh by train from Moscow, St. Petersburg or Riga (Latvia), or by car. Many people are successfully hitch-hiking, even from abroad (e.g., Poland).

DISCLAIMER. Our ecovillage is young and it's very different from European ecovillages. We don't always wear ethnic clothes, sing and circle dance -- not a hippy commune. We don't have one collective farm (or other deal) where all our village works -- we're like a federation of independent ranches. We're don't grow our own food yet (not all of it) and we're far from sustainable (but we go there). Eco living in our understanding is not a ban on plastic and gas, but giving back to nature more than we take from it. We're fine with electricity, wifi and cars.

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