Internship – Volunteer

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Come centro permanente di sperimentazione in Permacultura, oltre che a tutti gli effetti un’azienda agricola che produce ortaggi, frutta e uova, offriamo la possibilità di rimanere con noi periodi più lunghi in collaborazione con diverse Università italiane (è possibile accreditare i propri tirocini previo accordo con  la segreteria dell’Università) ed estere. Ogni anno ospitiamo almeno due tirocinanti, magari in percorso Attivo per il conseguimento del Diploma in Permacultura Applicata, o per la propria carriera universitaria, per un periodo da 1 a 3 mesi.

Leggete però attentamente il profilo in inglese qui a fine descrizione per essere sicuri che l’aspetto spirituale che portiamo avanti combaci con la vostra ricerca personale.

In breve poi (dopo aver stretto i necessari accordi preliminari) funziona così:

Verrà stabilito un progetto, o un caso di studio o un approfondimento su un progetto già esistente in base alle richieste del tirocinante che poi verrà seguito in un percorso definito fin dall’inizio.

Vivere a Saja da stagista/tirocinante non vuol dire solo avere uno spazio o un sottoprogetto in affidamento, ma essere parte del Tutto; sentirsi co-responsabile dei beni comuni, rapportarsi con gli altri, saper gestire la propria privacy e quella degli altri ma anche essere parte attiva di una comunità.

Organizzarsi i giorni liberi, le ferie, la propria presenza ed il proprio ruolo con la flessibilità di un presidio umano e non di una fabbrica o di un ufficio.

A Saja ognuno deve essere autonomo economicamente ed è libero ed incentivato a creare il proprio reddito all’interno di questo spazio occupandosi attivamente e responsabilmente di un’attività produttiva anche a fini commerciali così da sostenere la propria permanenza e resilienza.

Il fatto che siamo una realtà già attiva dal 2011 ci dà maggiore visibilità e maggiore capacità di intessere nuovi rapporti sociali e commerciali e vi troverete catapultati (e responsabili) di mantenere una correttezza ed una qualità nei confronti dei consumatori e dei sostenitori del progetto.

Vicinanza con Catania mezzora in auto, 40 minuti in treno o pullman dalla stazione di Paternò a Catania, 10km da Saja a Paternò.

p.s. mandateci un curriculum 
è necessario parlare inglese come seconda lingua

Please when writing us tell us specifically what interest you in our project and your relation and interest in the Spiritual path.

After several years of up and down, having more that 100 people per year visiting, learning, building, transforming and giving back space to life for Mother Nature to express her power, a new wave, more into intimate reconnection, is flowing in the project.
Now besides farming as lifestyle our inner goal is to live and promote spiritual awareness and practices. Someone called it Spiritual ecology, but let’s not stick to labels please!
Salvo is committed in a path of worship of the “invisible” trough the “visible”, and veneration, meditation and devotion towards the spiritual teachings of his Sufi master Shirdi Sai Baba and the manifestation of Nature in the visible aspect of Mother Kali.
Welcomed are all spiritual seekers as friends, to share the practices and live it into the daily communal life.
For this reason the possession and consume of Alcohol and Tobacco, and all intoxicating substances, activities, practices and philosophies that can drive us towards selfishness, materialism, violence, lust, anger and untruthfulness, cannot find a space in here. It’s not a taboo or a prohibitionist attitude but a matter of prohibitionism but rather a way to detox from worldly dilemmas that slow down our specific path towards Oneness of Self.
Please be honest with yourself and us and avoid applying if that doesn’t resonate with the kind of experience that you want to live.
Our project started in June 2011 from a 15000sq meters abandoned orange orchard in a typical sicilian monoculture citrus production area.
The project takes its name from the traditional Arab irrigation channel that runs through our land and carries water slowly and thoughtfully to nourish all forms of life in nature and fuels our purpose: regenerate!
Through the Permaculture design model and thanks to the important help and energy of many friends and volunteers, it grew to become an oasis of biodiversity and one of the main hubs of the Italian and Sicilian permaculture network. It is well known as a model for production and experimental-oriented farming project, obtaining crop yields and still being a center of active learning and non-formal education. Over the course of the years, the experimental field also grew in size and the core team evolved around the project foundations and its life values.
We chose Permaculture, because it can be considered a systemic approach and it includes many aspects of life, following in an harmonic way the different interactions within ecosystems. This system is based on three ethics: earth care, people care and fair share (also declined as future care), and a growing number of design principles!
For us it’s a conscious choice of life. A choice to share places, emotions, time and elements, looking outside and inside of ourselves.
Still Permaculture is One possible choice, and not necessary the best one, and that has to be understood and lived trough a more conscious relationship with all the Other than Human beings.
We aim to develop within ourselves and those coming to join us, this deep Divine connection within Nature, sense of the Place and of the animate spirits living within us.
We want to host people with a REAL feeling of Curiosity, Care, Stewardship, Desire of Presence, Spiritual attitude and Active sense of Responsibility.
THE PEOPLE living here:
Linguist, social worker and permaculturist (not as a trademark!) farmer, fond of meditation and world music. He bought the land back in 2011 after 10 years of travelling and doing voluntary work around the globe. He lives and works semi-permanently here. He’s fond of nature’s intimacy, anthropic silence, group working, reading and sharing his knowledge and experiences in everyday life, courses and events.
He’s also into Sufi remembrance practices, Advaita Vedanta-non dualistic hindu spirituality, world religions, anthropology, and loves to feel inebriated by Earthly and Divine Love.
|Nuri, 9
Salvo’s son, who spends here a part of the week or some longer periods depending on school and holidays! He loves growing little plants in pots, climbing trees, fishing and swimming in the pond, getting muddy, finding toads, playing with the people he likes and have his own space for relax and reflection. He goes to a “normal” school to be in touch with “normal people and kids” in order to experience how life is lived by the 90% of people out there.

And living just on the other side of the road our friends with which we collaborate and randomly organise activities, works and mutual help moments:
|Angelo, 32
Music teacher, farmer (working mainly with olive and orange trees), and passionate for eco-building. He plays sax and loves sharing music, especially Jazz, Cumbia, Gospel and world music!
|Laetitia, 29
Slow-life and de-growth amateur who converted to countryside life to live “d’amour et d’eau fraîche”. She’s eager to find ways to auto-produce about anything, and also likes to create useless things.
Apart from those mentioned above, we’re part of a small but growing network of Salvo’s friends and ex-volunteers of our project, that over the time decided to invest and do a deep life change, buying land in the nearby areas and deciding to create new collaborations and co-productions!
This is an important point because we promote and support long term commitment, collaborations, new neighbours settlement in the area to extend and promote the value of our work as much as possible. So, if you’re looking for a place where to move, this could be an option!

The work-learning exchange:
Being a volunteer or a collaborator doesn’t strictly mean working a certain number of hours in exchange for food and stay, but a co-living within an environment where we try to keep humans within Nature’s boundaries, where Plants and Animals share the space and time, energy and life, with and for us.
We sometimes eat local meat but mostly plants, we respect them and nourish them while they do the same keeping us alive and healthy.
The right attitude towards the activities that we do is taking a selfless Political and Spiritual action into this limited lifespan.
During the seasons shared here you might be LEARNING BY DOING on these and many more aspects:
Concepts, politics, philosophy, tools and techniques of gardening in permaculture design and regenerative farming, Agroforestry, Ecology;
Food production from the vegetable garden, from seed to harvest and back to seed saving;
Growing fruits and plants for the Food Forest and for the Forest biology in itself;
Plant selection and propagation;
Food processing and conservation, fermentation, baking, eating!
Observing and respecting natural cycles in humans and all around us;
Medicinal plants, herbs, tinctures extractions and oils;
Water conservation, treatment and recycling;
Soil and forest ecology;
Mushroom growing, reproducing and consuming;
Animal integration and interactions;
Wilderness skills;
Aquaculture, ponds, earthworks, swales and ditches;
Ecological waste management;
Natural building;
Social systems, social Justice, de-Colonisation, Food security, activism;
Financial strategies and surviving within capitalist state dominion😅;
DIY, manual ability from art to artifacts;
Spiritual ecology, deep reconnection and Faith.

beside this we might need your help with:
-keeping the place if we’re away to our other farm or for other reasons (we cannot leave the farm on it’s own, animals and gardens never go on “holidays” !)
-cleaning all around and keep the space tidy and neat!
-play with Nuri and teach him your language and your culture.
Please apply if you are able to stay from a minimum of 3weeks to up to 2 months and have previous knowledge or deep interest in the fields above!

Once your stay is confirmed we will send you by email or telegram/wapp message a pdf file with the directions to reach us.
You are welcome with your car or your van, and if you come with public transportation we can come pick you up in the town near-by.
Note that there is limited to no public transportation on Sunday and on Saturday and that we can’t come to pick you up in Catania (airport nor city center).
Flip Flops or similar : you will appreciate having a pair for inside common areas
Gloves : if you like for working in the garden or building things
Rain boots : in autumn it can get very rainy since the climate is changing
Sleeping bag : in winter (Oct – April) you might need to bring it, we do supply blankets but you will appreciate the extra warmth. Even in Sicily winter gets cold at night to -4 C
Seeds & plants : to increase the biodiversity of our place you can bring seeds or babies of your local vegetables and trees. We are especially looking for every avocado types for a new project
There are cats, chickens, fishes and a lot of wild animals (mice, snakes, gekkos, frogs, foxes, rabbits). For their sake and respect we cannot host other pets or domesticated beings.
Your papers need to be in order for us to host you, unfortunately we are not in a position yo be able to help neither with your visa situation or with your citizenship process. Borders to us make no sense, let’s keep it in mind firmly.
Please take a little time to introduce yourself, who you are, why you would like to come, what are your experiences and projects, and what skills and knowledge you can share.
Beyond the daily work and our current projects you will be helping on, you are welcome to contribute in your own way. We are open to new ideas and love learning new skills (building stuff, auto-production, art, well-being…)!
Once you commit we expect you to come. The running of the project relies on people and it causes us a lot of difficulties when someone doesn’t show up. So please be transparent, let us know if you are not sure.
We hope you’ll be able to:
-recognise and develop your own skills
-work collaboratively, share ideas and know how to contribute to the wider community
-be inspired and visit great projects across Etna and nearby
-have fun!
-bring and promote Love.
-being able to work and be also on your own if on that particular moment you’re the only volunteer.
If you fear silence and solitude, maybe wecan suggest you other friends farms around sicily without any concern ☀️
We check emails once a week, but we always reply.

all the timing can change depending on season and weather to adapt our time and body on the rhythm of the seasons
Sunrise morning meditation warmup
7.30 breakfast
8.30-11 morning check-up walk and practical activities*
11.30 cooking lunch and dinner together
14 lunch
15-16.30 individual time
16.30-18.30 afternoon practical activities*
Sunset meditation/chanting
20.30 dinner (lighter on Thursday)
*practical activities are all the scheduled manual works of the season
on Thursday around 9pm sufi remembrance Zikr
You can choose 2days off whenever you feel like as long as we manage so that someone among us is at the farm, since chickens and gardens require our constant presence!
Volunteers can stay from a minimum of 4 weeks (to a maximum of 3 months ) and those having previous experience in the upcoming works and living in communities are especially welcome.
Remember that You might be working on your own, in a couple or in group.
|All year round
Managing the garden from seed to harvest, with water and love
Feeding the chickens, and give them water and love
Implementing and maintaining structures and projects : wood houses, lanes, water systems, swales, ponds
Cooking is organized in turns, feel free to share your favourite recipes
Cleaning regularly, everyone takes on the responsibility to leave things and spaces as clean as found or even cleaner
find out new stuff to experiment!
|Orchards seasonal work
January, February : pruning fruit trees (other than olives and citrus)
January to March : picking blood oranges
May, June, September : pruning and grafting citrus
October, November : picking olives
October to May : picking lemons & spreading manure and compost fertilizers

You will be hosted in one of the restructured-trailers where you might be sharing the space with another guest depending on the moment or in one if the 2houses that we built.
The bathroom and the kitchen are shared.
There is no wifi.
There are 3 different compost toilets.
We eat mainly what our garden offers us : delicious and organic fruits, vegetables and eggs. For everything that is not (yet) auto-produced, we supply ourselves directly from local and biological producers.
Sometimes we might eat meat but never Pig and Fish/seafood.

in our project you might learn:
How Permaculture concepts can be declined and how we live out of farming
-organic farming
-learning the tecniques of Market Gardening – bio-intensive faming
-how to grow your own food
-how to cook the food that you produce and how to store it and preserve it
-how it is like to be living in a small farming community
-how to harvest, prune and care of fruit trees and vegetables
-water management
-how to elaborate good quality compost and fertilizers
-how to feed the soil in order to feed humanity
-how to swim in a pond
-how sweet blood oranges can be!

Expenses contribution
We encourage a 25€ weekly contribution per person to cover the common expenses like externally supplied goods (rice, pasta, cereals, legumes, coffee, sugar, toilet paper and soaps, gasoline to go and get drinking water to the town and so on, no stupid low quality food, just the basics because we try not to support as much as possible iniquous systems) , electricity and gas.
Over the course of our experience of 10 years hosting, this is the amount we calculated as an additional cost per person that we cannot cover on our own.
We’re not a “business oriented” project, we don’t work with tourism so the help you give as a volunteer cannot cover extra expenses like this because this would mean extra costs that we’re not able to cover. Nothing is compulsory because we can understand and support travellers with economical problems 💚. There’s no shame or fear, together we grow.