Permaculture farm in Tunisia
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We are a family of four: Corinne, Basset, Zayane and Saossane. We moved in Tunisia in 2011 and bought the farm in 2013. We live a simple life in a rural town with few distraction. We like to host helpers because being your own boss can be tricky to keep on being motivated. We've been hosting volunteers for 6 years now and we know what we offer don't suit to everybody. Especially, we don't share evening time even though we can have a dinner together if it pleases everyone. We both work and are parents, we need resting time and family time. Depending on the duration of the stay we like to take visitors to the nearby hot spring or lake.
Hajeb El Ayoun is a small rural town in the center of Tunisia. Out of touristic ways, it is very authentic and quite wild. Kairouan is an hour away, as well as some reputated archeological sites (mostly roman) such as El Jem (2 hours), Sbeitla (1/2 hour), Makthar (2 hours). You can enjoy hot sulfuric spring 1/2 hour away from the farm or the barrage lake.
The farm is 8 ha big with mostly olive trees. We are in the process of starting a market veggie garden but still wait for a proper water source. Even if we have the farm for almost 10 years, many things need to be implemented still. That's a lesson we learnt, in arid climate everything is slower. Plus when we got here, permaculture was almost unknown. We are also aiming to host all our visitors at the farm and we are building structures for that purpose mostly with superadobe technique. So far we built a big 6m wide dome where we can cook and take lunches and coffee breaks; a fencing wall for a terrace with an outdoor kitchen; a small 3 m dome part of the farm entrance and a hammam. All these buildings are at different stage of finishing. We also teach permaculture courses, but these days it has been hard to organize any event... And we consult on other permaculture projects, private or community supported. * The working hours described below are what we do, when our daughters go to school. This can vary a lot. We expect people to be committed, but they work at their own pace and can have more time off; and no specific results are expected. But clearly, people that have good time with us come to learn working and give help.
We host buildars in an independent house downtown Hajeb el Ayoun, with basic comfort: no air-conditioning or heating, few furniture, no washing machine, no TV. Most of time people can have a private room but it may happen they'll have to share. There's an equipped kitchen where to cook breakfasts and dinners, as we only provide lunches on working days. Services are all nearby by walk: grocery, banking... We go to the farm together, it is 15 min away by car.
We provide food we mostly buy, so mostly non organic. We are not vegetarian, but don't cook meat often. We do not adapt to very different regime regarding to our habits. People are welcome to cook if what we offer don't suit. We provide olive oil. We don't provide supplies and don't share breakfasts and dinners. For us it is too much in energy, we tried before and hosting became more a new task than help. And clearly, we need help, not more on our plate.