Living and working together
on an organic farm in the ceven
The organic farm Durantis has a mediterranean climate despite the altitude of 580 meters. The farm is quite secluded on one of the sunny, southern slopes in the very south of the Massiv Central.
About half of the area is taken up predominantly by European chestnuts. We cultivate and improve these traditional breeds and harvest the grown plants that we have arranged in gardens. We sell the biggest part of our chestnuts as fresh produce, the rest is processed on the farm.
We, Angela (*1958) and Bernd (*1964) have been cultivating the traditional chestnut farm with 33 hectares of land since 1999. Big parts of the rather ruinous buildings could be restored with a lot of voluntary help and about 10 hektars of of the old agricultural area could be vegetated after having not been taken care of for 40 years.
A big help in this respect are our sheep. Due to their light weight - they weigh only under 20 kg - our Oessant sheep are perfect for landscaping and they are probably the smallest sheep race in the world. We also own a small flock of goats that are a geat addition to the tiny sheep.
About half a hectar of land are used for fruits and vegetables that must be ??? with mulch due to the long dry spells during the summer. The vegetables are sold to organic shops in the region or are delivered to locals who can subscribe to vegetable crates.
An important issue is the effort to cultivate in a biological cycle. This is why our houses are heated by with our own wood exclusively. To save precious (drinking) water we have built toilets tjat compost rather than flush. We use this compost after a sufficient amount of time for the composting process to dung our fruit trees...
Our everyday life is versatile and planned according to the season. A big part is the welfare-oriented animal husbandry. In the future, the animals are supposed to graze an even bigger part of the land. This means forest operation, for example using the side shoots of wild chestnut trees in order to build fences or gates.
Our most important produce are the chestnuts that are harvested from the middle of september until the end of october. A part is dried at the farm, processed later and then marketed together with other products.
Due to the climatical conditions we can also work in the chestnut gardens during winter, as well. The tree crop is taken care of, and we can aditionally make firewood for our numerous ovens. Furthermore, this process makes the grazing easier for our sheep and goats.
Pretty much the entire agricultural area of the Cévennes is structured by terraces that are made from dry stone walls. Therefore a standing project is the maintenance and reconstruction of dry stone walls as well as the improvement of infrastructure and the building and maintenance of further agricultural roads...
The main part of the farm has been built up traditionally and enviromentally friendly. For the coming years, the renovation of another building is planned. This was once used for the breeding of silk worms. It has two big rooms and good basic fabric. There are further ruins on our property that we are anxious to save.
Apart from our ecological activities, we also attend to children and or young adults for certain periods of time (individual socio-paedagogical case work).
We also rent two holiday flats. For further information please see our website for vacationers.
Below the line we offer:
organic farming with an especially extensive way of cultivating, welfare oriented animal husbandry - we do not eat our animals nor do we get them slaughtered -, may experiences and certain biological projects, a big part of own produce and processed products and a few years experience concerning an eco-friendly life.
What we are looking for:
We realize the enrichment that only the communication between people from different backgrounds makes possible. We are curious to meet new people and and all year round we look for people would like to live and work with us in Durantis for a few weeks or longer.