Some periods we accept applications for “ErasmusPlus European Solidarity Corps – Voluntary System” (ESC). If you are between 18-30 years of age you can spend 1 to 9 months at Hästekasen farm (EU nationals). Free food, free accommodation. Travel expenses (up to a limit) and 150 euro/ month pocket money included. This is an European Union funded project.
Project for 2013 – 3 (Zsofie, Elize, Davide)
French project -2 (Laure, Coline)
Project for 2014-2015 – 6 (Kaisa, Fran, Johanna, Eliott, Mikaela, Stef)
Turkish project – 2 – (Selin, Gulche)
Project 2016-2017 – 8:
(Julia, Simon, Martyna, Delphine, Anton, Amen, Grete, Jorge)
French EVS (Adice): – 1 (Laura)
1 months EVS oct 2017- 10:
(Geoffrey, Theresa, Eszti, Cristine, Nat, Natalia, Egelin, Anna, Gisela, Elena)
Project 2018, Long EVS: (Alex, Carina, Kirke, Giacomo, Konstantin, Lillyangela)
French EVS 2018 (Adice & Parcour): (Nico, Pia, Sami)
Short EVS, July 2018 – 10:
(Brandon, Micha, Michau, Alexandra, Sophie, Helga, Katinka, Clara, Nicolas, Naomi).
Short EVS, Sept 2018 – 10:
(Maite, Gabriel, Dina, Agi, Zorka, Zhenya, Elena, Gabor, Dorota, Geremy)
Long EVS march-> 2019: Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Poland, France, Hungary
Short EVS, May 2019:
Our project is very popular, 100´s of people apply.
This is the project!
Notice that WORK is in the center of everything.
Non-formal and Informal learning through practical work.
Before you apply – read everything below.
6-9 month European volunteering (ESC) on a community small scale farm and adventure center in Sweden. Outside, dirty, practical work for practical people in beautiful nature.
- Main activities:
- Living in a community, sharing household.
- Permaculture gardening/ small scale farming (some animals). Soil and
manure work. Recycling of resources.
- Natural building with logs, wood, stones, clay, straw. With hand tools.
- Food preservation, baking.
- Work in forest.
- Possible to do handicraft.
- Receiving taking care of guests.
- Survival nature skills / camping.
- Learn Swedish and/or english.
- Special Topics: Leadership and entrepreneurship
Mostly vegetarian food, absolutely no smoking (not even in your freetime). Restricted use of shower, laundry, dryers, heating. Limited Wifi and internet use. You will be part of a self sustainable and environmentally friendly life style, where we save resources, using less comfort. There is no city here – only trees, rocks and sea.
If you want follow the activities at Hastekasen farm (ecological farm community) you can follow us on facebook.
You need most of these:
- Prior experience of practical handy-man work.
- Be able to live simple with less comfort.
- Initiative and work ethics (activities is obligatory)
- Background of economic problems, or social problems, or school problems, emotional problems e t c
These are also good:
- Be able to communicate in english.
- Planning a future life on the country side.
Share the vision.
Be interest in doing the work described.
Have a passion for being in the forest and on the sea.
Preferably you have already tried short stays in communities. Now you want to stay longer and live “slower” and simpler.
Remember, this is not a city. Just a few people in a house on the countryside with low living standard. Simple life is a goal.
The project aims to improve THREE entities:
1) Your life
2) The hosting organization
3) The European society
Our slogan is “Back to nature”. Our main tool is work.
Our key words are: ruralisation, entrepreneurship, creativity, environment, self sustainability, employability. We offer empowerment. We plan to change lives and open minds as we have been doing since 2013. This will happen if you activley chose to take part. You are not here to watch – you are the one making it happen.
You will be moved out of your comfort zone, you will be nervous, you will feel that too much is asked of you, you will think about going home, you will notice how much you do not know, you will be angry, you will be questioning your self confidence, you will be questioning the people that organize the work.
There will be demands and expectations on you, you will be expected to remember things, to be able to repeat and do things just after being shown them once, in time, you will be expected to be able to lead others.
Your potential is great, we have great expectations on you. Your hands and feet are not enough, you need to be focused and aware, your ability to observe and analyze and remember, you need to write some things down, you need to take responsability and initiative. You need to bring your “heart”, to care about the things here.
Out of 61 volunters so far 6 has wanted to leave earlier, two has left earlier.
You will be offered to stay longer after EVS if you like it here, you will always be welcome back.
You will work, and live at the same place. The community living is not officially part of the volunteer work, but you have to live here and follow the rules of the community. Make sure you check out these rules before you accept.
HFA is a different host. We have no employees. Nobody is paid to take care of you (like some bigger organizations or schools, or youth centers e t c)
You must understand that the volunteer work is only the farming and the building work and hosting of some courses. It is obligatory to take part in these activities.
The community living that involves you cleaning and cooking is NOT part of the regulated ESC work..
There is a wide variety of work and activities here. We will try to offer you lots of variety.
We want you to avoid causing category 1 situations, and in time help to stop them. Category 2 and 3 is the main work here. We want you to focus on working in category 3. If you contribute to category 3, we can spend more time in category 4, and make more time for category 5.
Tactical methods for efficiency
Being efficient is about respecting resources, being efficient is about not wasting each others time, being efficient is about employability, being efficient means more time for other things (fun projects and relaxation)
These are some methods used at Hästekasen:
Next step, Double check, Relay, “If it aint broke – don’t fix it”, “Gör om, gör rätt”, Second opinion, Bottle neck.”Förtöj för storm”, “En bonde går aldrig tomhänt”, Delay decisions – if they can be delayed, Good enough for now. Plant seeds and ideas and wait, Bottke neck, Meetings, Look for motivation…
Below are some methods that will help you get involved.
Tactical methods for efficient work (inspired by permaculture methods)
– Next step. When work is going on in a group, and you have nothing to do – think – What is the next step? – what can you start with to prepare so the whole job can be done faster.
– Double check, We are all amateurs here – most creations here have faults – small misstakes are being done all the time – we must try to minimize these – start double checking each other – independently measure, recheck, step back and look at the whole picture. What is happening. Observe – Think.
– Relay information. Being capable, having skills and knowledge is about learning. Learning is about receiving information.
Living together is about having similar habits, following certain traditions, having the same name for things, putting the things in the same place. This information has to be shared – PLEASE share this information with each other – don’t let the work leader carry all the burden and having to give the same information over and over to different people.
– If it aint broke – don’t fix it. Lots of things need repair and maintenance at Hästekasen. Lots of projects are going on. Lots of possibilities, ideas, new projects. Everything can be improved, BUT, please, we have a lot of things to do, so lets not spend time to fix things that works fairly well. It is about prioritizing.
– Gör om, gör rätt. We are all amateurs. It is also a human trait to look for the easy way to solve things. Sometimes the lazy way. Often things are done in a way that they break fast or does not work properly. When you realize that you are doing something that that is of lesser quality, or that will not work fully – stop – don’t hesitate, just start all over and do it again. Do it better, do it right.
– Second opinion. Even if it is your own project, ask for someones opinion about what you do – before you start. It can give you a new perspective and save a lot of time.
– Bottle neck. Avoid creating bottle necks in the work that breaks the flow. When other have to wait for you to finish – then you are the bottle-neck. Often we can not start step 3 until step 2 is done, and for step two we need a certain tool that we only have one of. Others may be waiting to use the same tool. The one using this tool in step 2 should work efficient so that a whole group does not have to wait for that person.
– Förtöj för storm. We are lots of people here. Many just pass by for a few weeks. Some (many) care less for things when they do not own them, when they will not have to take the consequences. Do not be one of those persons. Start caring about things. Don’t have the attitude: “Not my problem, someone else will fix this”. Understand that the things we build/repair will be used in a rough way by people that sometimes have no skill to use them or care less. Things have to be built very strong so they last a long time. Understand that you must imagine the worst case scenario and prepare for that. Now there is sun, warm and no rain, but there will come rain, frost and gale – prepare for that. Do not leave things in the wrong place. See that there is a consequence in everything you do.
– Finish what you started. It is about work ethics, its not the hours that count, it is what you achieve. A finished result. If we or you are just about to finish something, lets finish it, in spite you being cold, hungry, thirsty, tired, bored, rain has started, darkness has come – we finish the work, because that what they did in the old days, thats what high-achievers do, thats whats makes us successful – because we do no want to have to bring out all the tools again the next morning to finish a 45 minute job.
(A work is not finished until you have cleaned after yourself, replaced all tools and repaired what you broke)
– It is over when it is over. The whole group finishes the work, if your task is done, help the others to finish theirs. Or start preparing food and/or fire for the rest. Make them a cup of tea for the group.
– En bonde går aldrig tomhänt. There is always work to be done on a self-sustainable farm. Don’t wait for someone to tell you to act – find work yourself, be proactive, remember work that must be done, write a list, be a leader, don’t be mindless robot waiting for instructions.
When you walk from point A to B there is always something that has to be moved. You are fully integrated in the farm when you always are carrying something.
– Delay decisions – if the can be delayed. If you do not have to act now – wait – think more – get more information – more opinions. Take the decision later. It will be better the longer you wait. Sleep on it, tomorrow morning the problem may be gone by itself.
– Good enough for now. Do no become blocked in a project because you have not found the perfect solution. If a decision seems like a good start that can be improved/changed later, just do it.
– Plant seeds and ideas. Let all your ideas first become ripe before putting them into actions. Discuss them, draw, show others, share, observe – it takes time to find the full potential of an idea. Remember, some ideas are destined to die, let them.
– Meetings. Let´s talk about it. If you are confused – demand a meeting. We misunderstand each other all the time. The more we talk the less this will happen. We may have different opinions – its ok as long as we know about it and understand each others reasoning.
At Hästekasen we aim for having three meetings a week: One social, one personal (sharing), one work meeting (planning a head).
Be like a duck
There will be work situations where you are slow, where you are the bottle neck, where you will be told you are doing things wrong, where you will shown how to do it (again) and maybe be asked to focus more, observe better, remember better – it is called feedback. Some one has cared enough to study what you do and analyze it and remark on it. It may seem harsh but do not take it to personal/emotional. It is up to you to accept the feedback or discard it. If you do not like it, just let the statements roll of you like water on a duck.
There is a reason why you are not good at things – you have not tried it enough.
Look for motivation. See the full picture, see that your work and contribution is part of something greater that many will benefit from. You are benefiting from others work, others will benefit from yours. Find small projects where you are 100% motivated and feel pride and joy at work – YOU will have to find and propose this work.
– Dont hide in the kitchen. Cooking is not EVS work. Dont find yourself avoiding work by hanging in the kitchen. When you start focusing on eating and interneting those are the first signs that the work here is not motivating you.
– Take care of the details.
Small things can have big consequences. Try to get the details right.
So, always remember the goal. How can we create competences that makes a homestead/farm more selfsustainable. A place that uses it´s own resources. A farm fit for the future. How can we make these skills spread. What skills do we need and how much do we have to work to put food on the table and keep warm. What if EU did not pay for your rent and food? How much would you have to work to survive in that situation?
We want you to see YOUR future as part of the transition movement and ruralisation. We want you to use the volunteer time to look for the skills you need for your future gardening/farming and building projects, either for yourself or as employed by someone.
On another note we must not forget that our activities take place in a socio/economic background of a Europe that has rising unemployment, probably due to losing jobs to Asia, and due to higher automatization and an abundance of workers. We are also living in an era of fast globalization and its immense impact on our society. This has caused migration and challenges of national and cultural identity.
We as a society has serious issues to solve the coming generations in the areas of ecology, energy and maybe economy (in the sense that the economic system is based on debt upon debt). We are in desperate need of new ideas on how to have a reasonable standard of living in a world without cheap energy from fossil fuels. And in the middle of all this is the issue of food. All civilizations are built on their capacity to produce food. So far food has come from soil, and now our soil is under severe threat – erosion, degradation, desertification, flooding.
In the middle of all this The Hästekasen farm collective exists.
PHYSICAL WORK OUTSIDE
It will be dirty, you will sweat, you will touch animals, you will touch worms, your body will at times hurt, sometimes it is boring, sometimes it is cold and raining. It will make you mentally strong.
We expect you to be able to carry 30% of your bodyweight (men 40%).
You will share household with many others. You will have to clean, cook, bake e t c. You will share your free time with the people living here. Food will be simple and mostly vegetarian. No nicotine allowed. We try to avoid too much sugar. You can drink alcohol on special occasions.
Living conditions are simple, sometimes 15 degrees in your room (spring/autumn), there are maybe ants and mice and mosquitos.
You must use the outhouse dry toilet, maximum 4 showers every week. There is not much sense taking morning showers since we do physical work in nature. We do not have to feel “fresh” when working in nature.
Max 1 laundry every week, do not use the electrical dryer (wind will dry your clothes for free, without environmental impact).
Sometimes we have Wifi. Mobiles must stay in your room. Because we try to be “here and now”. No TV, no videogames – not even in your freetime (if you want to fit into the vision), because you chose this EVS because you want to do things in nature with others. We often watch films/documentaries together.
This is what we mean with simple lifestyle – saving resources, becoming more self-sustainable. Do not expect Swedish high material standard.
Sometimes there are electricity cuts, you will have to make a fire to keep warm and to cook. There is no city here, civilization is far away, no shops, no cafés, no bars – nothing. A 5km walk to the bus. Here you find only nature, and weather. This is a rural experience. Come here because you are looking for this experience. Do not be too romantic about “Swedish countryside”.
FOOD and shopping
To follow the vision of sustainability, save resources, low impact, simple living and health… these are the guidelines for food shopping:
– No alcohol, wine, beer (you can buy your own for festive moments)
– No soft drinks, no juice, coffee. We usually drink water.
– No meat (only our own sheep) (if you eat meat, you have to take part in slaughter)
– No bread (only our home baked)
– Very little candy/cookies/chocolate (you can buy your own)
(only some sweet things we eat together, or our own baked)
– One fruit per person per day (focus on local produce)
– Avoid long transported food (such as exotic fruit)
– No luxury pre-cooked food.
– Focus on trying to use homemade jars from last years harvest.
All these restrictions reflects how much of the planets resources we want to use. Being adaptable and consuming less, will make you empowered, more self sustainable on a personal level.
What we do – what you will learn as a volonter.
The long term vision of Hästekasen is a small ecovillage and nature/adventure activity center.
The farm itself has an ambition of self sustainability. It is already happening. You can be part of breaking new ground for small scale ecological farming. Contribute with your effort and build low impact ecological houses for a small ecovillage. Take care of farm animals and forest. Participate in adventure activities on your free time.
Depending on how long you stay you will learn self sustainability and be part of a future ruralisation. You will learn to grow food without machines, you will learn to build your own house, cheap and ecological.
You will be able to pursue your own projects within the community.
We will give you freedom and responsibility.
We expect you to grow and become a leader.
We are looking for a SENDING organization that is also a host that reflects our activities, that means a host that is a farm on the countryside – that wants to send its members to another farm.
The main activities are:
1) Small scale farming (permaculture),
3) Experimental and ecological construction,
4) Outdoor activities,
5) Hosting groups.
The association rents farmland and buildings from a farm. Activities will be dependent on season and weather.
What you will learn as a volonteer if you stay 6-9 months:
– Basic carpentry
– Use a scythe (summer)
– Bark trees
– Drive a tractor (at least try)
– Repair tools and maybe engines (if you have this interest)
– Use traditional and electrical hand tools in a professional way
– Work with painting
– Chop wood (handle an axe)
– Work with clay, cob and straw (not winter)
– Principles of drainage.
– Tend animals such as dog, cat, sheep, hens, ducks, bees.
– Independantly build something from planning to finish.
– Compost and soil management (not winter)
– Recognize basic plants and trees (not winter)
– Understand the basics of permaculture farming
– Seeding and basic planting skills (not winter).
– Cut wool and hoofs on the sheep.
– Basics of beekeeping and honey management.
– Plant a tree (bushes)
– Household skills (cleaning & cooking).
(Since we all live together, this is the daily basis for our comunity)
– Baking (everyone will bake)
– Food preservation (mostly autumn).
– Make fire (We use a fire stove for cooking and heating) (mainly winter).
– Chimney sweeping (wintertime)
– English and swedish language skills. Swedish is obligatory for those staying 6 months+, but if you want to focus on improving english instead, that is also possible.
We expect you to activly train swedish, otherwise we will not help you.
Ni kanske kan tala och förstå minst 100 svenska ord när ni lämnar Gården.
Possible outdoor activity skills on your free time e t c
– Learn to swim (depending season)
– Orientation in a forest
– Camping in the forest.
– Basic rock climbing skills (not winter)
– Freediving (mainly summer)
– Kayaking (not winter)
– Rowing (boat)
– Climbing trees (mainly summer)
– Zip line
– Ice scating, skiing (flatland) (if there is ice)
– Bow shooting
We will keep in mind the key competences stated by the EU youth program.
– Social and civil skills.
– Communication in different languages, incl our own.
– Mathematical and scientific skills
– Digital skills
– Skills in learning
– Cultural awareness
We will discuss things like what you could be doing five years into the future. We will discus things such as empowerment, learning, skill, responsibility, performance: motivation, confidence, goal, discipline, identity. Things that shape our life.
Remember you have come her for a new experience, not to recreate the life you had at home. That means you will have to adapt to new things, maybe even things you do not like.
– Ecological mill
– Ecological dairy farmer
– Green meat farmer
– Kalvö nature reserve
– Nordens ark – wildlife park
– Visit ecovillage and permaculture neighbor.
– Lysekil, Uddevalla and Gothenburg
We will help planning your own personal vacation/excursions you may want to do.
Other things we do
Scrape old paint. Dig. Trim fruit trees. Play musical instruments.
Recognize wild plants and herbs e t c. Repair engines e t c. Build homepages. Hatch chickens. Carry. Work with piping. Move big stones. Watch films. Move and spread manure. Climbing trees and rock. Research on internet. Read about farming. Go on excursions. Carry hay. Listen to music. Discuss… and more
We are very much interested in your skills.
Maybe you know something that we can use, or do here.
You will need to tell us things like allergies, food preferences and strengths and weaknesses that we have to be aware of.
We can not accept smokers. Food will be mainly vegetarian.
This is not a 9-5 kind of activity.
Some days we “work” 10 hours, other days we may just sit in an watch films and drink tea and talk. There is lots of room for improvisation.
Some days there are a course at the farm and the ESC may have to adapt to that, take part, or support, or take a day of.
Sometimes you will have to take initiative yourself.
How many are we
Wintertime there is minimum 4-6 persons living at Hästekasen including volonteers.
Spring autumn there will most likely be 8-12 people living at the farm.
During summer there will be visitors every weekend, and maybe some extra 1-2 volonteers, totaling 12+ people living here. With the neighbouring farm 50 meters away, we may well be 20+ people here on a weekend during summer.
If you feel that things get too “intense”, try this:
– Ask for free time.
– Skype your friends
– Do an excursion by yourself (forest, sea or next town)
(maybe try couchsurfing)
– Use your vacation days and travel somewhere.
Economy & period of stay
You can choose between 1 or 6 or 9 months (maybe longer)
You are expected to participate at least 30 hours per week.
Your travel costs will be covered up to a limit.
You will receive 150 euro pocket money every months.
Food and accommodation is covered.
This is not a school or a course – this is learning by doing in a non-formal way. You must actively take part.
In order to have a goal to work against we propose a series of individual practical exams:
1) Take down a tree, cut it up, sort branches, bark logs.
2) Shop and cook for the whole group.
3) Point out 20 plants/trees/bushes with swedish and english words.
4) Point out 20 tools with swedish and english words.
6) Make a fire.
7) Do the yoga sun or moon greeting series.
8) Stay 24 hours alone in nature, camp.
9) Climb the local cliff.
10) Freedive to 10 meters, hold your breath for 3 minutes.
11) Build something of own choice.
This list can be changed by the group to fit the individual.
Before you leave we want you to have explored the following treks:
– South walk Knösen cliffs
– South walk to the harbour
– West walk “John Baur forest” and postbox
– East walk clifftrail and round the “mountain”
– Northwalk mountain
– Northwalk cabin
– Northwest walk?
– Northwalk round the “kalhygge”.
– North walk to the bus
We try to keep the following traditions
Vippassana silent weekend
– A few days in silence and meditation/yoga
– Midwinter celebration (21st dec)
– first sign of spring and we start planting inside.
– some days with intense yoga
“Valborgsmässoafton” and 1st may (in Town)
Grazing sheep day – cut woll
– Move the sheep to other field
Boat launch day
Sea weed day
– we collect seaweed for the fields
– We have an open house for visitors and do “social work”
Hay day – “slåtter”
Start of freediving season
Honey harvest mid-summer
Hide and seek and camp in the forrest
Harvest – vegetables
Sea weed day
– we collect seaweed for the fields
Plow & manure & hay (cover)
Vipassana fall – silent days
No-electricity week – We explore living without electricity
– celebrate the turn of the season.
Finally remember – we are not “hippies”, this is not a consenus-community. We are green entrepreneurs focused on economic solutions. Its about employabiliyu and entrpreneurship.
This is a text from our vision:
VISION – ENGLISH
Hästekasen Farm – south of the stream in cooperation with the north partFounded: 2010 (Bohuslän, Uddevalla Municipality)
Community purpose in order of priority:
1) Create conditions for habitation and self-sufficiency on and of the land, based on simple lifestyle. (Economy)
2) Promote personal development / health. (Psychology)
3) The project should strive to be ecologically sustainable. (Ecology)
4) The land/resources should be be managed as a ownership cooperative, with both private and common areas, in cooperation with volunteers / visitors and, if possible, in cooperation with the local area. (Sociology)
– Owners / investors in the co-ownership will according to shares take the overall long-term decisions / priorities in tune with the vision.
– The vision can not be changed regardless of what new members / owners want. Majority voting can not change the vision / purpose e t c.
– Members / visitors / volunteers take short-term priorities based on primarily their expertise and their time investment in the project (short term / long term).
– All decisions should be measured by whether they work effectively towards this vision (the four goals).
– Private projects may be allowed as long as they go in tune with the vision.
There should be room for the individual and personal as long as it does not go against the vision. Activities will include regular meetings that should lead to cooperation.
Work and activities should be characterized by awareness and mental presence. Learning and experience will be an obvious target, among others. The functional work should also involve aesthetic aspects.
If possible, simpler technique to go before the complex, the traditional can go before the modern, if there are advantages. Activities should take place close to nature.