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help exchange   Host 47290
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Porto Formoso
All Year: Yes
Area (ha):
Persons: 2
Category: Homestay
Host ID: 47290
Country: Portugal

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Last Updated: April 10, 2016

My husband and I live in the middle of the Atlantic, on the beautiful island of São Miguel, with our cats, dogs, chickens and roosters. We have a small home overlooking the ocean and surrounded by pastures with one of the best beaches of the island only a 3 minute walk away. I'm a holistic health coach and my husband is a dairy farmer. Our dairy farm is about 15 minutes away (by car). We work on a rotational pasture grazing system and our cows are primarily grass-fed and quite happy. Our goal is to become an organic farm providing artisanal raw dairy products and grass-fed beef to consumers. We love to spend our days outdoors, whether it be on the farm, in the ocean, soaking in the hot springs, practicing yoga at the beach, crocheting on a bench or exploring some new trails.

With most of my husband's time being dedicated to the farm and my time to building my holistic health business, our household needs get left behind. We'd like to host people with specific skills/abilities, as noted below. We have been receiving many messages expressing interest in volunteering. Since our time is limited, we ask that you help us expedite the volunteer selection process by doing the following when messaging us:

1. Review our list of projects and state which project(s) you feel your skills could be of most use.

2. Send us a link to any samples of your work (i.e. your art, a website you built, photos you've taken, etc.) or request our email address and you can send them in that manner.

3. State when and for how long you are interested in volunteering.

Below is our current list of projects:

A. Marketing / Graphic Design / Social Media / Videography - We need skilled volunteers in this area for both my holistic health coaching business and our grass-fed & pasture raised dairy farm. I am beginning my holistic health coaching business and need help getting my marketing plan accomplished. Some things to work on: Brand development & marketing strategies (concept development, timelines, budgeting, etc.), online marketing (updating website, SEO, creating social media pages, creating videos, etc.). I'm open to hear how you think you can help with the image of my business, whether it be creating a logo, improving the look of my website, creating engaging videos or something else you may be good at doing.

Regarding our farm, we are developing a cow share program for raw milk and grass-fed beef and we are offering tours of our farm to visitors. So, we basically need all that I mentioned above, applied to our farm as well.

B. Dairy Farming - If you have dairy farming experience or have a related degree, we're interested in having someone help us make some changes to our operation. We're interested in things such as raw dairy farming, beginning a cow share program, and alternative dairy farming innovations (i.e. creating fly barrels). If you have an idea as to how to make our dairy farm more sustainable, non-toxic, organic, etc....we'd love to hear.

C. Raw Milk Products - Do you know how to make products from raw milk such as butter, ghee, buttermilk, curd, etc.? If so, come share your knowledge with us!

D. Artisan, Photographer, Painter, Artist - We love our little home, but we'd like to cozy it up and add some life to our walls. Art made of reclaimed materials (i.e. designs painted on pallets, etc.) is one thing we'd like added to our home decor as well as photographs of life here on the island. Maybe you are an artisan and would like to make an artisanal item for our home. If you're an artist, we'd like to have some paintings made of our pets' heads on human bodies (we can send you some photos of our vision). Also, I need professional photographs taken of myself for business purposes. The possibilities are endless in this category, just tell us what you can create.

E. Teacher of European Portuguese - I was raised speaking Portuguese, but never learned the written rules and need to expand my abilities when it comes to speaking and writing in a formal or business setting.

F. Carpentry - We need to sand and make minor repairs to various pieces of vintage furniture as well as paint or stain the wood.

Our volunteers can stay in their own bedroom in our house. Our home has one bathroom that we will share. There's FREE wireless internet. We do not own a TV nor a microwave.

When our guest room is not available (because we rent it to tourists), we have had volunteers that opted to camp at the nearby campgrounds (there are toilets, showers, and a small waterfall at the site + the beach is down the street).

We are asking volunteers to commit 5 days a week/6 hours per day. In return, we can offer you a private bedroom and 3 meals a day/ 5 days a week (you will be responsible for your food on your days off). The meals can be anything from soup or bread and cheese to a hearty Azorean dish.

We may not be able to pick volunteers up from the airport. The options are taxi (about 27€), bus (best not to come too late or on a Sunday if you choose this option), car rental (I can arrange a car for 25€ p/day) or hitchhiking (best if you're traveling light). It is about a 20 minute car ride from the airport to our home.

You can practice yoga at the beach, swim in the ocean or just soak some rays when you stay with us because we're only a 3 minute walk to the beach. There's also a beachfront cafe/restaurant where you can mingle with locals and have a drink and a nearby restaurant where they bring the fresh fish of the day to your table so you can select the actual fish you will eat.

If you want to immerse yourself in peace and be removed from the confusion of city life, our home is suitable for you. We live like most people here on the island, meaning our home and lifestyle is simple, minimalistic and uncomplicated.

Here, you'll likely see cows walking the streets, open your window and hear the ocean waves from your bedroom, listen to birds sing and watch as time moves slowly. We have free-range chickens, roosters, 3 cats and 1 dog at our home (we foster pets at times, so these numbers can fluctuate) and we own a dairy farm with grass-fed pastured cows about 15 minutes away. We'd be happy to show you our farm and give you a taste of our healthy raw milk.

The village center is about a 2 min. drive / 10 min. walk away and you'll find some mini grocery markets, a restaurant and the fishing port there.

The city of Ponta Delgada is about a 20 minute drive away and the city of Ribeira Grande is approx. 10 minutes away.

The access road to hot springs (Caldeira Velha), a hike down to a gorgeous lake (Lagoa do Fogo) and one of the highest view points on the island (Pico da Barrosa - 947 meters / 3106 feet) is only about a 10 minute drive from our home (then you have to drive up to each of the locations).

The two tea plantations (Cha Porto Formoso and Cha Gorreana) are a short drive away (or a 30 min. walk to Cha Porto Formoso) and are worth a visit to try the local organic teas and learn how tea is grown and harvested using methods that have changed very little in the past 130 years.

Other things to do for fun: scuba dive, visit the fumarols, various hot spring pools, many breathtaking lakes and hikes/trails, whale watching, swim with dolphins in the ocean, visit one of the other islands, cultural festivals, eat a traditional dish cooked beneath ground, surf, free dive and the list goes on...

The bus stop is about a 10 minute or less walk away and we've had many of our guests get around hitchhiking as it's commonplace here. But, the easiest way is with a vehicle (we have private parking at our home).

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