Balsa do Amieiro is located on a slope facing northwest. The upper part of the farm is composed by a mixed forest dominated by cork oak trees, eucalyptus and strawberry fruit trees.
Half way down the slope there is a lake which which serves for both recreational and farming purposes.
The lower part of the farm is composed by beautiful man made terraces in which most of our food production is going to take place following the principles of agroforestry.
After a devastating year of wildfires in Portugal, the importance of re populating our forest with native species has never been so important.
The monoculture of eucalyptus annihilates biodiversity, "dries out" the land and promotes the social desertification of the interior of Portugal so one of our main goals is to replace this exotic species with native species.
The reforestation will be done using species such as sweet chestnut, cork oak, azinheira, strawberry fruit tree and native bushes in the understorey layer.
The cut down eucalyptus will be used for the production of edible mushrooms (mainly shiitake) and construction.
Water is another of our big concerns so we are designing a system that will use retain water in the land a much as we can by creating a series of ponds and water storage tanks.
This is crucial for everything else that comes afterwards so that's where we will be spending most of our energy in the first couple of years - managing the forest, food production, water management and creating more and better infrastructures using natural materials sourced from the farm whenever possible.
We also want to reach out to the local community by organising cultural events, courses and activities for children. We are already hosting our first permaculture course in May 2018.
As a Wwoofer you would be expected to help 30 hours a week, usually 6 hour days but this is flexible.
Tasks will vary from forest management, creating vegetable gardens, improving water systems and natural constructions.
Your accommodation will be in a caravan or you can camp as there are loads of amazing spots to pitch a tent - no need to bring your own tent as we can borrow you one.
We have compost toilet, hot shower and electricity.
At the moment there´s a couple living permanently at Balsa do Amieiro.
Francisco is Portuguese and used to work in an environmental conservation organisation in the UK. Has just moved back to Portugal to start working on this project.
Lucy is a traditional shoe maker and all round leather worker. She just moved to Portugal to be part of this adventure.
Nuno who acquired the farm a couple of years ago is not living here permanently yet but comes as often as possible. Nuno works with complementary medicine techniques and therapies such as Shiatsu, Osteopathy, Chi Kung, etc,
We have a close relationship with three of our neighboring farms that have just been taken over but new families too.
When can you visit Balsa do Amieiro ?