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help exchange   Host 9132
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Santo Stefano di Magra
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 1/2
Persons: 1 or a couple
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 9132
Country: Italy

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Last Updated: January 18, 2017

We're not taking any helpers at the moment as we are spending more time at our new project in Northern Ireland.

We're striving for self-sufficiency on 18 terraces of mixed fruit orchards interspersed with vegetable beds. The aim is to finally become completely independent from the moneyed economy, through providing ourselves with as much as we can and bartering / sharing for the rest.

Our main plot of land is some 10km away from our house on the other side of the valley. Due to us not having any regular income we mostly cycle or walk across.

Heavy rains just before Christmas 2010 lead to serious landslides on the terraces on our land. We are still busy repairing some of the damage and securing all the terraces before the onset of the next bout of winter rain.

Accommodation is basic, in a caravan on the land. You will be expected to partially look after yourself there. Plumbing is almost non-existent, but there are full cooking facilities and we'll provide you with the basics on top of which you can eat anything you find on the land. The views from our lively hilltop village as well as from the top of our land are stunning, the seaside is within half an hour's cycle ride from us, the world famous Cinque Terre is very close by and public transport links exist to the the port city of La Spezia (20 minutes), Pisa (1 hour), Genoa, Parma, Florence (all about 1 1/2 hours). During the summer we come down with free festivals and concerts, including in the coutyard of our house. During the winter we sit together with our neighbours for traditional music sessions.

Work would mostly depend on the weather and season and be more likely 3 to 4 full days a week. We like to give volunteers specific projects to complete during their stay in their own time. There's always some weeding, digging, harvesting, wood chopping in addition to seasonal jobs such as pruning of fruit trees, planting etc. We are also avid wild food gatherers. Most of our meals consist at least in part of some foraged food and we are becoming experts in this field. On days of bad weather we conserve our harvested fruit and veg for leaner days. We live on almost no money at all!

Between us we speak English, Dutch, German, French and Italian. Any candidate would have to be physically very fit. Knowledge of permaculture would be a plus. Someone with wood crafting skills would be really useful for a couple of projects such as building a beehive, bat boxes, an outdoor compost toilet shelter and a tool shed. You are welcome to join us for some simple meals over at our house as well, where you can also do your laundry and use our WiFi connection.

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