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Host CE150

Here at the foot of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park I aim to develop this 1,5 ha of land into a productive edible forest on the principals of permaculture. Eventually being an edible food forest and being more than less self sufficient hence making products for culinair, cosmetics and medicinal purposes. To be used ourself or to be sold to generate some form of income.

The land has the most important ingredient for this: namely an abundance of water! Within the Permaculture Design I aim to start with the very first fase of observing, analyzing and mapping, and planning on some basic structures for basic needs.

No mains water at the house yet, but planning to pump up water from the stream with a ram pump (the pump is made and has undergo a duration test) collecting it in a tank and distribute it to the main house, which at the moment is a large barn, Rustica in Portuguese. The mountain stream water has been tested and could be drinkable after been filtered. Now it is only used for 'grey water'. All water systems still need to be designed and installed.

Power: Main Solar has now been installed and I am now busy with the AC distribution inside.

What to expect as volunteer? I bought this piece of land October 2017, so only shelter and power are in place and pure water from the river, spring and wells. You get the opportunity to be a pioneer and to witness the process of permaculture design into practice at first hand! A great opportunity for PDC students or if you are very much interested in Permaculture and/or Green building or just want to do some basic traditional DIY and renovating.

About myself: Jeroen, from the Netherlands Amsterdam, born in Australia and have been from time-to-time an eco-volunteer myself in the Caribbean, France and Spain. Now more than ever, people around the planet are in search of new, sustainable models for life. Eco-villages and ecological communities are emerging as a viable alternative where people can live together in cooperation and harmony with nature. I live here alone with my cat Doerak, but I am also open to start an Eco-community right here and now!

In this initial stage (fase 0), the following work has to be started with:
- A greenery (to be made of the damaged trailer by fire);
- Irrigation canals from top hill (pumped up by the rampump) to swale/raised beds area in Zone 1;
- Help designing and installing 'grey water'-system;
- Renovating, drainage outside (rain water) and insulation inside;
- Designing the water supply to the Main HQ building;
- Help designing/installing solar hot water;
- Energy: to be installed: AC inside, ‘hotel’ switches, etc. If you are not confident with this, you don’t have to do. I can do this.;
- Taking care of wood worms in the house;
- Clearing the irrigation channels;
- Insulation down stairs and eventually creating bedroom, bathroom, toilet and technical area for energy and boiler installation;
- Building the Genset technical small shelter outside;
- Building a large barn for tools but with also bedbanks for volunteers;
- Gathering wood for the woodburner;
- Preparing a plot for the veggie garden;
- Building a wooden platform to hold a 20ft Yurt, dormitory or Passive Solar Little house;
- Chicken scoop (or -tractor);
- Food cooking based on a Rota system.

Profile and skills:
- Dedicated (eco)volunteer (or have a basic knowledge of permaculture);
- Knowledge of several communication methods, working as part of a team;
- Skilled DIY or willing to learn on the job;
- Green builder (or interested and willing to learn);
- Can help (vegetarian) cooking (no vegans), once a week meat or fish;
- Non smoker, no drugs (also no marihuana), no alcohol (Please ask me why and I can explain if this is a no go for you);
- Mentally and physical strong and healthy;
- Open- and eco minded;
- Big sense of humor ;)
- Creative in re-using and coming up with solutions
- not being afraid of large barking dogs (which don't bite, but
always carry a stick with you)...

Accommodation: Camping: Your own tent or I can provide one. In the near future there will be a Yurt and/or dormitory. Also a bed in the house and bank beds in the large barn. It is inclusive meals and non-alcohol drinks, generally vegetarian. Once a week we can have fish or meat.

Compost toilet is down stairs and can be cold, but sheltered inside. No (soloar) shower (yet). I wash myself with heated water out of a bucket or in the river after a warm day. If you want, we can go to a local swimming pool to take a shower. This is the situ during winter. In spring and summer I have waterfalls and plunge pools available in the stream on the property.

Breakfast and hot espresso coffee at 07:30 each day. We work normally from 09:00 till 15:30 with a tea break at 11:00 (30 min.) and lunch at 13:00 (1 hr.). Your two days off are free to set on which day you prefer. We cook together or rotate by day.

Also I'd ask you not to bring and use any chemicals (tooth paste, deo, shampoos etc) in my grey water. I make my own natural home made toothpaste, deodorant, body lotion and soap. It all can be bought for a small price from me, or I could show you how to make your own.

Social activities: Once a week we have pizza-evening and a few times a week movie-night or we go for a swim. I often also visit local markets and/or do some sightseeing myself; You can join me on your days off or after 'working hours'.

For this stage I am looking for a strong and multi-skilled eco-volunteer who is willing to pioneer and is enthusiast and not afraid of being in a rustic place of hardly no utilities yet (off-grid), but has all the opportunity to bring his/her ideas into practice as a PDC student. English, Dutch or German speaking. Portuguese volunteers with an acceptable level of English are very much welcome and have my preference, as I want to learn Portuguese myself! If you want to learn English, I am a native speaker English (son of Dutch emigrants to Australia).

Local attractions
Serra da Estrela Natural Park – 101 thousand hectares of protected area (the largest in Portugal) encompassing the highest point in Portugal where there is a huge diversity of flora and fauna with an ‘alpine’ landscape. There are fabulous pure lakes to swim in, hiking and cycling trails, a ski resort and museums locally. Taken from the local tourist board description: “The magnificent landscape of the mountain is the natural habitat of mammals like wolves, boars, otters, foxes, genets and wild European rabbits. They are overflown by birds such as golden eagles and common buzzards, peregrine falcons, Eurasian eagle-owls and black kites.”

Host availability

When can you visit this host?

Host information
No, not yet. Planning chickens, goats and bee hives.
Dutch, English, German, Español, Portuguese
Mostly vegetarian
Preferred length of stay
4 weeks, 2 weeks trial period.
We grow and collect seeds for our own use
We produce renewable energy (wind, sun, etc)