!!! VOLUNTEERS WANTED !!!
Association Društvo Zelena centrala invites you to a summer agri/cultural volunteering project on the ecological farm in Jurovski Dol, Slovenia, from 1st June to 15th September 2023.
Young people aged 18 to 30 from any ESC country may apply, regardless of their professional status, social and economic background, education, previous knowledge & skills, or gender. We will choose five participants, who will altogether stay with us from 1st June to mid-September.The ESC project financially supports the living costs (accommodation, food, insurance and a pocket money for your personal needs); we take care of the project execution.
You can read more about European Solidarity Corps (ESC) HERE.
write us a comprehensive, but genuine and truthful motivational letter, from which we will be able to understand, who you are and why you want to join us. How would you describe yourself? If we say to you: be a local spring of global change – what do you answer? Don’t forget to mention your main interests, your skills and knowledge, any possible previous experiences with volunteering, and of course: your expectations. Please, add your CV.
But not later than on 25th March 2023! We will be evaluating every letter in the moment of its arrival, and will provide an answer in max. 3 weeks.
In case of our positive answer, you may expect a shorter additional questionnaire and a longer zoom interview. The interview will also be the occasion to answer ALL of YOUR questions, comments or doubts, including the exact information on the accommodation, food, working and learning methods and the mentors. After the interview, we will take max. 3 days to give you a final answer, giving you – in case of YES – the additional 3 days to think about the proposal and to confirm your participation.
Zelena centrala is an independent non-profit association of individuals who foster artistic production, creative informal education and interdisciplinary communitarian actions on the fields of sustainable development. It operates on 4 hectares of organic property with fields, orchards, a vineyard, and a forest.
These 4 hectares serve as a platform for all sorts of alternative and informal education; we provide professionally managed creative workshops of active learning indoor and outdoor: biodynamical agriculture, sustainable building with earth, interior design, restoration, orchard (old varieties of fruit trees, biodiversity, and living ecosystems), local heritage and storytelling.
There are plenty of corners on the farm to be explored; to have a walk, to take a rest & a nap, or to be creative. There are benches to sit and a soft grass to lie on …
Our everyday activities are strongly linked to the interests and needs of our farm, and therefore vary from season to season. As most of our activities happen outdoor, our timetables strongly depend on the weather conditions. We do not work in the rain and we try to avoid the summer heat. As we do many different things and not all of them are strictly linked to farming, we have a large capacity of flexibility. We shape our timetables on a weekly basis and try to schedule our time in the best possible way. Generally, you will be invited to work with us 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, but we can be very flexible in our planning and will always respect your needs, wishes and suggestions. Once the plan is set, though, we kindly ask to respect it.
Between 1st June and 15th September, you may expect warm summer weather, with the heat peaks in July that can reach 30-35°C. We might get some heavy summer showers/storms from time to time and consequently some slightly colder evenings and mornings (also 10°C possible).
will be divided between the care for the farm and the artistic/cultural/youth work activities of our NGO. As for the farm, we will do some wildlife/habitats inventory and monitoring this year, and this will take place quite immediately upon your arrival. With a little help of our friends biologists, of course. We will also need to cut the grass in our traditional meadow orchard and store the hay for our animals (June). During the whole period from June to September, you will experience, how to take care of the different fruit trees in organic way (prunes, apples, peers, walnuts, hazelnuts, elder trees), and take care of our young organic vineyard. You will get some basic practical knowledge about organic beekeeping, including the practical knowledge about wild bees and other pollinators, especially bumblebees and butterflies. You will experience the lavender harvest (July) and produce some very very charming essential oil. We will also work with some other herbs and hopefully collect a lot of blackcurrant (patience!) for some tasty juice or marmalade. Every day, we will take care of our animals; mini sheep and hens.
Our farm is a continuous work in progress and a nonstop trial-and-error laboratory. We have been farming for 7 years now, learning from many mentors, successful farmers and great friends, but also from our own mistakes. We got many things done, learned a lot and collected a bunch of experiences, but there are still many things we don’t know. We are also not much of the gardeners. BUT. If you want a very good, practical and communicative introduction to organic farming in global perspective, agroecology, biodynamic agriculture, social ecology and biodiversity on the farm, with practical introduction to fruit growing, herbs, wine making and basic gardening: you’re absolutely in the right place!
We are very good at networking and love to visit & help our farming comrades and friends all around the region. Actually, we do it all the time, as we believe the farming is always a communitarian act. During your volunteering project, you will have a chance to meet several different farmers, their farms, stories, collectives and families, meet different approaches and focuses – from bees to berries, veggies, and wine.
We keep it open at least 3 days a week, bringing our super bookshelves outdoor and invite the locals to come and have some read. Not only the best selection of contemporary literature in Slovene, English, Italian and German language, we also offer the fresh daily newspapers and magazines. The Library under the Treetops is a project of Divja misel institute from Ljubljana, and Zelena centrala collaborates in the project as partner. With an imaginative and attractive infrastructure (red chairs, wooden shelves) and a selection of quality literature, the project established recognizable free reading islands all over Slovenia.
You will be an active part of the Library under the Treetops Team, taking care for its smooth execution as occasional librarian and host. You will have plenty of opportunities to make this experience special and unique, as we like to make it social, fun and instructive in several possible ways: inviting renowned authors for a talk, organising workshops of creative writing or photography, tales for children, storytelling for adults…
From 2014 to today, we have led more than ten international youth projects about building with earth and organised several workshops with renowned mentors and handcrafters. For your volunteering project, we will organize A SPECIAL ONE WEEK WORKSHOP with theoretical and practical lessons on natural construction with earth. Lead by experienced mentors, you will learn why the earth is the perfect material for your house and how to test your local earth to understand, if you can use it for the building proposes. You will experience several contemporary construction techniques with earth and master yourself in earthen plastering. You will do all these on a real building site, having the possibility to observe the results – and the developments – of your work through the following weeks of your stay with us.
Besides this workshop, we will often do different experiments with wood, collaborating with professional handcrafters and artist, who will share some of their secrets of woodcraft and design in order to create something useful and inspirational.
There is more! There is (any kind of) your personal project that you will be able to realize with our devoted support, enjoying the benefits of our technical and human resources; there are cultural events that we will organise from time to time – you can also organise them yourself; and there are excursions and trips to most interesting places of our surroundings that we will organise for you: to see nice things, to learn some more, to have some fun.
Our property is situated in Jurovski Dol, a small village of less than 2.000 inhabitants in the North-Eastern part of Slovenia, positioned in the very centre of Slovene Hills (Slovenske gorice) – the rural area, famous for its vineyards and traditional meadow orchards. The village is situated less than 20 km away from Maribor, second-largest Slovenian city (reachable by bus).
Zelena centrala is positioned besides the very centre of the village. Less than 300m from the farm, you can find a small supermarket and a post office, a modern bar (opened recently), and even the hairdresser, a pedicure/manicure and the massage centre. Less than 500m from the farm, there’s a central village square with the church (Sunday Catholic masses at 7am and 10am), the rural pub (they sell ice-cream in the summer), and a multifunctional hall for public events. Just few minutes of walk further, there’s a village primary school (for children up to 14 years old) with the kindergarten. Next to the school, there’s the basketball field and the running track.
Circa 700m from the farm, there’s so called “sport centre” with the football field on grass, the beach-volleyball field, and the tennis field on sand. There’s also the outdoor fitness. The village is surrounded by the green hills and forests, orchards and fields, there is a small stream running through the valley, and the path besides it is perfect for walking or jogging.
There will be bikes provided for you during the whole volunteering period: just keep in mind that the landscape in our surroundings may be quite hilly!
There are regular buses to Maribor from the centre of the village; the ride takes approx. 30-55 minutes (depending on the number of stops) and costs 2,7 eur. From Maribor, there are regular train and bus connections to Ljubljana, Graz, Budapest, Zagreb, Trieste…
We often visit Maribor for different artistic, cultural or social events. Theatre, cinema, exhibitions, concerts, festivals, vivid student life and charming bank of the river Drava with many small bars and a lively night life make this city quite enjoyable. And there is Pohorje: a 1543 meters high natural oasis with vast forests, the Primeval forest Šumik, clearings and pastures, unspoiled Pohorje waters, waterfalls and moors with lakes, the largest butterfly in Europe and other precious animal species.
There is a reach tradition of horse riding in Jurovski Dol. We do not have horses at our farm, but can organise a horse riding lessons/sessions for you in the near surroundings.
All five volunteers will be living in Jurovski Dol on the property of Zelena centrala in the independent 3-rooms apartment on the ground floor of the three-story house. The apartment has a separate entrance and its own kitchen with the direct exit to the vast terrace, a bathroom with the washing machine, and different options for the arrangement of beds. During summer months, you will also have some other accommodation options, e.g. caravans or tents. We will pay a big attention to the balance between staying together and having your own private space, and will make sure the accommodation is comfortable and cosy for all.