Five farms looking for volunteers

by admin on 03/07/2017

 

Tiger Hill Permaculture in Tasmania

Paul, or Ringo as known by people within the permaculture world, has been involved in permaculture projects in many parts of the world over the past 15 years.

He is looking for volunteers to join him on his 70 acre permaculture farm in Buckland, Tasmania (Australia).

His vision is to create a working family farm and educational community to demonstrate self-reliance and sustainability via permaculture design and holistic farming.

He invites anyone with interest in environmental issues, sustainability, farming, gardening and permaculture in general. Being fit with high energy and a “can do attitude is also required.

Volunteers will help out with tasks such as gardening, composting, seed collecting, basic construction and fencing. They will be asked to provide 5 hours of work per day, 5 days per week, and will in return be able to sleep in a 12-bed bunkhouse. At time off volunteers will be able to enjoy nearby beaches and recreation sites.

Live in eco-lodges while volunteering in Thailand

Spicy Villa Eco-lodges are handmade bungalows, built of natural and local materials. The lodges are located high in the mountains of the Mae Wang area.

The people operating the lodges have an organic farm on the property that they need help from volunteers with. Their goal is to produce as much as they can on-site, currently growing herbs and vegetables, but they are constantly expanding.

As a volunteer you’ll be asked to provide 5-6 hours of work per day with Sundays off, and your tasks will include farming, cooking, building, taking care of guests, bamboo rafting and planting banana and grass for elephants.

By volunteering here, you’ll get an opportunity to integrate with authentic Thai culture, but you need to be open-minded and willing to learn.

On your days off you can go for a trek in the jungle, visit local waterfalls, and learn how to prepare a jungle style lunch. You can also go cycling, river tubing, bamboo rafting, bathing with elephants and learn Karen-weaving.

Join the community at Finney Farm in the U.S.

Finney farm is a community located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, Washington, U.S.

The folks at the farm are devoted to conservation, educational and social outreach (egalitarian, not religious).

They have 105 acres of land, where about 15 acres is “developed”. The remaining area is second growth forest or replanted trees. A large chunk of the land was originally home to a blueberry farm, and they have nearly an acre of 90+ year old blueberry bushes.

They also have a fruit orchard, ducks, a sauna, an old barn, a large organic garden and a play area.

There are currently a variety of building projects underway, including a “green” building.

The community also operates a seed distributing project, which involves growing, packaging and distributing heirloom organic seeds for free to schools, community gardens, food banks and low income households. Last year they gave away 8000 packages of seed!

Your tasks changes seasonally, but may include landscaping, organic gardening, firewood harvesting, wood- working, and odd tasks such as tutoring and web assistance. They are looking for 1-2 workers, who are able to work 6 hours per day, 5 days a week.

In return for your work you’ll be able to sleep in a bunkhouse, shared/private room in the community house, vintage travel trailer, or in a shorty school bus.

PermaTree, a tropical organic fruit farm in Ecuador

PermaTree is a tropical organic fruit farm and and a wildlife refuge at the edge of the Amazon basin. The farm is operated by a Swiss and French couple and was started in 2016.

The focus is on sustainable living by growing and cooking one’s own organic food. They are building a bamboo house, compost toilets, and get their water from a nearby river. Half of their land is a natural jungle reserve, so it will not be touched.

The fruit orchard at the site is very diverse, you’ll find papayas, bananas, plantains, cacao, mangoes, bananas, lemons, white zapotes, lulo, guayabas, ice cream bean, passion fruit, sugar cane, and tons of other edibles.

PermaTree are currently looking for 1-3 volunteers, who can help with painting, blogging, compost work, carpeting, photographing, filming and building a natural swimming pool.

You’ll be asked to stay for at least 4 weeks, and in return for your services you’ll be able to eat tropical fruits you may never have heard of before, experience living in an eco-community, getting hands-on permaculture experience, develop teamwork skills, and getting a lot of Ecuadorian Spanish language practice.

Join TOKA in their work on conserving the Albanian Alps

TOKA is an organisation working hard to conserve the Albanian Alps. One of their current projects involves preventing construction of hydropower plants in a national park.

Since 2010 they have also been working on marking, mapping and signposting more than 200km of hiking trails in and around Valbona Valley National Park , funded only by donations.

TOKA also operate JourneytoValbona, a frequently used source of information for all aspects of travel in Northern Albania. The purpose of this site is to make it possible for local families to make a living by being able to connect with tourists, therefore empowering locals living in or near a protected area.

They are looking for volunteers who can stay for at least 1 month, and who are prepared to be flexible about accommodation and willing to stay in a tent when rooms in the farmhouse are not available.

Apart from help on the projects above TOKA also need help with computer work, outdoor work, renovation and helping tourism businesses.

The story about Hippohelp

Leopold got the Hippohelp idea when he was developing a small piece of land with his wife outside of Guilin, China.

Since Guilin is a popular spot for backpackers around the world, he thought that some of them might be interested in helping out, and get free food and accommodation in return for their services.

He looked up websites he could use for this, but quickly found that they were either too outdated, too expensive, or too hard to use. So he decided to develop an alternative himself, and 6 months later he launched Hippohelp.com.

When choosing the name he first brainstormed a lot of words related to working and travelling, and then used an online tool called LeanDomainSearch to find available domain names.

Once he got a draft of a few combinations he asked his friends to vote on the ones that sounded the best, and Hippohelp got the most amount of votes.

It also happened to be the name Leopold liked the most. He thinks Hippohelp is short, easy to remember, and who doesn’t love hippos?

A guest post written by Leopold Huber from Hippohelp.

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Sourdough bread course

by admin on 21/05/2017

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A small bakery called «Ille bakeri» recently arranged a course on how to make a sourdough bread in 4 hours. Upon arrival at Mølleren Sylvia , the baker Martin Hveem Fjeld had put 11 bowls, one for each participant, on a table. Before starting the course, each of us should make a short presentation. Some of us had already made sourdough breads, but with very variable success. I had tried it once at another course, but I didn’t go on afterwards. Anyway, when we started baking, we were all on more or less the same level.

Martin had already made a sourdough starter, and having poured a fixed amount of water and sourdough starter in each bowl, we should first stir the mixture well. Next, he poured a fixed amount of wheat flour from Holli mill into each bowl, which we should stir until both water, starter and flour was mixed well together. Martin‘s only using wholemeal flour meaning that it contains both endosperm, germ and bran, keeping both taste and nutrients.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cereal_germ#/media/File:Wheat-kernel_nutrition.png

Gluten (from Latin gluten, “glue”) is a composite of storage proteins termed prolamins and glutelins and stored together with starch in the endosperm (which nourishes the embryonic plant during germination) of various grass-related grains.

Gluten is appreciated for its viscoelastic properties. It gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.

Gluten enables dough with yeast to leaven because it forms a network of small walls which confines carbon dioxide and water vapour inside the dough. It also works as a binder in the dough, making it easier to work with.

Holli mill grinds grain by means of millstones where the germ is ground into the flour such that it contains more fat than grinding by means of a roller mill, which is used for industrial production of flour.

Sourdough starters contain yeasts and lactic acid bacteria. While the yeasts expand bread by leaving air pockets after baking, the lactic acid bacteria improve taste, sight, smell and touch of bread as well as their shelf life, nutritional value and wholesomeness. A sourdough starter contains thousands of different microorganisms, which will leaven the bread much slower than when using baker’s yeast.

After about half an hour, we were told to pull the dough away from the wall of the bowl, then let it fall back again. After we had completed this task, we should let the dough rest for about one hour before repeating the same procedure. Since the dough was very wet, we needed to scrape off the dough from our hands and inside the bowls by means of a spatula. During the stay inside the bowl, we could observe formation of bubbles appearing in the dough, which was a sure sign that the yeasts were turning sugars into carbon dioxide. After a break, we restricted the fermentation by adding unrefined salt.

Besides, by adding salt, the gluten network in the dough is broken up such that it will be arranged anew and form stronger and more bonds. Since we added unrefined salt, which contains some essential trace elements in very small concentrations. The main ones are calcium, magnesium and sulphate, which, while they are there in tiny concentrations (parts per million), they are important to human health and to bread production.

Next, we should turn the bowl such that the opening faced downwards and scrape the dough out of the bowl, letting it fall down on a wooden table on which we had applied flour in advance. We tightened up the dough by means of a dough scraper. This consisted of holding the scraper obliquely and pushing it below the dough, forcing it upwards, then pulling the scraper out. It seemed very easy when Martin did it, but when I should do it, the dough was so sticky that it got attached to the scraper. Unsurprisingly, several of us needed help to finish this task.

After a break, we watched Martin turn the dough into a sausage-shape, folding the dough onto itself, pulling the far end of the dough left and right, braiding the parts of the dough and folding them back on the dough. Having done the same at the middle and near end, he put the dough into a basket called a banneton in which he first poured a small amount of rice flour. They are called hevekurv in Norwegian, meaning leavening basket, because they are used to let the dough leaven.

Next, we should do the same as he did, but almost all of us asked Martin to help us with this work, which seemed easy when he did it, but not so easy when we should do it. Finally, everyone had a banneton with sourdough and having got both sourdough starter, flour, spatulas, a razor blade with a wooden handle and a dough scraper, we left the premises. We were told to let the dough stay in a fridge for at least 12 hours before baking it and we should use the razor blade to make some cuts in the dough such it could expand through the cracks during baking.

I baked the bread, but I had to lower the temperature from the recommended 250ºC to about 175ºC because the crust was getting burnt. After baking, I had a delicious sourdough bread for a few days.

For those who are interested in knowing more Martin’s breads, he has made a book on the breads with a couple of friends. It can be found in Norwegian here and in English here. He arranges courses occasionally and they can be found at his web page.

Making a sourdough bread or any other bakery product from sourdough entails using the same procedure for baking as was done from the dawn of civilisation to about 1900 when baker’s yeast  started replacing sourdough.

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A course on edible weeds

13 May 2017
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A short course on some common, edible weeds.

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Seminar on humus or soil organic matter

7 April 2017

A seminar on improving topsoil quality.

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Microgreens course

9 March 2017
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A short course where we learned how to grow microgreens.

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Il forno del porto

12 November 2016
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Artigiani che fanno pani e delizie.

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“Il forno del porto” bakery and confectionery

12 November 2016
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A small, family-owned bakery and confectionery.

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La Parrina farm

11 November 2016
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A farm, which was founded in 1830.

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La Parrina – Antica fattoria

11 November 2016
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Un’azienda agricola che produce tanti tipi di cibi e bevande.

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Rosati Cesare farm

8 November 2016
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A family-owned sheep farm.

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Azienda agricola Rosati Cesare

8 November 2016
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Una fattoria dove le pecore vengono date una miscela dic bi che diminusce i grassi dannosi nel latte.

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Caseificio Sociale Manciano Società Agricola Cooperativa

7 November 2016
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Un caseificio che produce tanti tipi di pecorino.

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Dairy cooperative «Caseificio Sociale Manciano»

7 November 2016
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A dairy cooperative which produces a wide range of sheep’s cheeses.

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Frantoio Arienti Elia

5 November 2016
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Un vecchio frantoio che usa una macina con due pietre enormi.

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Olive oil mill of Arienti Elia

5 November 2016
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A traditional olive oil mill using millstones.

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Rustici farm

5 November 2016
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A family-owned farm which makes a wide range of agricultural products.

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Azienda agricola Rustici

5 November 2016
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Un’azienda agricola con una ampia gamma di prodotti.

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La Scapigliata Società Agricola

4 November 2016
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Un’azienda agricola dove si può andare ai concerti di jazz in estate.

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La Scapigliata farm

4 November 2016
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A farm where guests can enjoy eating outside listening to live jazz bands.

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Fishermen’s union of Porto Santo Stefano

3 November 2016
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A fish auction where fresh fish is auctioned and brought to markets in Italy.

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