How to participate?

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

8th Life La Palma is in a stage of recovery and reactivation (read the history of 8th Life La Palma). Therefore, at this time we mainly need the participation of skilled people with a permaculture background.

Note that the minimum stay at 8th Life is 1 month.

Typically we divide the day into 3 periods of 2,5 hours. One period centered around farm maintenance and farm projects, one period focused on individual and group projects, and one period for studying permaculture. This will depend on each participant’s goals at 8th Life.

We ask all participants to collaborate on both maintenance tasks (gardening, tree caring, spaces cleaning, etc.) and to develop individual or group projects. The idea is to work on several tasks/projects so that each can lead and mentor others in a project they have expertise with, and to learn from others in another project.

If you have a background in permaculture

If you hold a PDC or have at least participated in permaculture related projects, you could:

  • volunteer on existing design projects and on daily tasks;
  • develop your portfolio as an intern with a design project of your own;
  • or deepen your knowledge with an advanced internship.

The Advanced Internship consists of taking our online Advanced Integral Permaculture Design course while developing your design projects onsite.

To apply, please fill out this application form after reading the General Conditions below.

If you are still new to permaculture

We invite you to enroll on our Basic Internship program which consists of:

  • taking at least half of the online Permaculture Design Certificate classes (40 hours) before arriving at 8th Life;
  • studying the rest of classes on site;
  • practicing what your are learning by developing a design project onsite
  • collaborating on others’projects to learn from them
  • participating in daily farm’s tasks

If for some reason you can’t take on the PDC course and only want to volunteer, you may have key skills to offer. Please review the activities below you could contribute to with your skills.

To apply, please fill out this application form after reading the General Conditions below.

Internship structure (Basic & Advanced)

Before arriving on site:

  • Read carefully all the information about 8th Life, the Integral Permaculture Academy, our Internship Agreements and our Living Together Agreements
  • Study the 20 multimedia classes to understand the basic theory (approx. 2h each – required in order to focus on the practice while on site). (Basic Internship program only)
  • Start deciding which design projects to focus on during your stay together with the project coordinator

While on site you will:

  • work 2.5 hours a day on the farm, 5 days a week, contributing to the farm maintenance (building & repair work, garden care…), food production, and soil fertility building.
  • work on your internship project at least 2.5 hours a day, 5 days a week
  • participate as a facilitator 1 hour a day mentoring other students and volunteers having less experience.
  • review & question the theory learned previously against the designs you will get to know on the farm during a period of observation, then start on your own designs
  • document, plan & advance your practical design projects with the support of weekly mentoring sessions and daily circles or ‘Think & Listens’ with the group
  • & conclude your stay with a design presentation which will count for your PDC, iPDC or Diploma design portfolio

Classes and mentorship are provided by the Integral Permaculture Academy and imply costs (see further below).

To apply, please fill out this application form after reading the General Conditions below.


Activities and projects

  • Veggies and trees Nursery
  • Gardening, vegetable production
  • Cereal production
  • Tree caring
  • Fruit harvest and transformation
  • Solar dehydrator project
  • Water mgmt infrastructure project
  • Energy production project
  • Soil building project (ongoing)
  • Forest planting project
  • Eco-construction projects
  • Animal project
  • Tool repair and buidling
  • Infrastructure repair and maintenance (carpentry, masonry, painting, stone walls, water tanks, etc.)
  • Eco-coops to be developed onsite

Example: Rocket Stove builder

The camping kitchen is still waiting for a proper rocket stove cooker.

So we need someone with experience in working with this  kind of construction and knowledgeable about the science behind it.
If building a rocket stove is too easy for you, don’t worry, we have many rooms where to build rocket heaters. 
 
 

General Conditions

Why do we ask for donations from participants?

The 8thLife Permaculture EcoVillage Project belongs to the Asociación GaiaTasiri, a non-profit organisation registered in Spain. The project has a continuous running costs and we rely only on donations to cover them.

All participants to the project come to learn, experiment, help out and build. Activities include the development or group projects and individual projects which often need material inputs as we’re still building long-term infrastructures such as energy, housing, or water management projects. To cover these costs, we decided to ask for a small financial contributions to all participants as this is the most straight forward and sustainable way to fund projects that they are working on. It has also the benefit of making each participant more responsible and aware of the use of materials and budget.

Besides activities costs, we also have to cover a debt contracted to buy the land and houses we are using. In order to pay back this debt, we have to ask for donations to the participants who choose to be hosted in rooms.

The amount of the donation depends on the kind of accomodation you choose (see below).

We can offer two options for the people who want to participate but cannot afford to make a donation. They can apply for a scholarship and/or they can dedicate their time with us to developing future profitable eco-cooperative projects.

Remember that your donation is a very valuable and important financial contribution for the project’s wellbeing and continuity.

Bursaries

8th Life Scolarship

At 8th Life we want permaculture to be inclusive and accessible to all. If you are a resident in the Canary Islands and would have difficulties to cover the costs implied by the Basic Internship program, you could apply for a scholarship by filling our application form.

European Union Scolarship

We are a host organization within the European Solidarity Corps program. If you are between 18 and 30 years old, there are bursaries available if you qualify under the European Solidarity Corps (ESC) requirements.

This program is fully funded by the EU and we give priority to people with fewer opportunities (people at risk of social, cultural or economic exclusion). Please note we have a limited number of scolarship available. We currently have open scholarship for nationals from Poland, Czech Republic, Greece and France. If you are from another country, you could still apply for the next round.

To apply, please fill out this application form.

Accomodation

In the project we have rooms and a camping site. Wherever you stay, you will be able to use the shared facilities: drinking spring water, camping kitchen, compost toilets, solar shower and library with internet connection.

For camping, you would need to bring your own tent, and sleeping bag, but if you really can’t bring a tent, ask and we might have one available for you.

The rooms are usually booked far in advance, so if you want to stay in a shared or single room, please ask us first and then plan and reserve with plenty of time ahead.

Accommodation type >>TentShared RoomOwn Room
Per month accommodation only30€100€150€
If enrolled in a course with the Integral Permaculture Academy20€70€120€

Food

At 8th Life we are still far from being food self-sufficient. With your help we’ll try to remedy that. But for the time being, you’ll need to cover your own food needs, so you would do your own shopping in the nearby town and farmers’ market and prepare your food in our shared kitchen, either by yourself or together with the other hosts (you can self-organize).

Buying food will cost you between €20-30 per week (depending on your diet).
At certain times of the year, the farm produces more than the residents need, in which case you are welcome to harvest the excess. However, it very much depends on the time of the year and who is eating from the farm, so please do not depend on this, and consider it a bonus rather than an expectation.

Please note we are not a vegetarian / vegan project, but we welcome people following all kinds of diet. We believe there is no ethical, ecological or biological right and wrong answers regarding diets. What is important is mutual respect and openness to hear each other.

Basic and Advanced Integral Permaculture courses

Classes and mentorship are provided by the Integral Permaculture Academy.

The prices of the courses are:

  • Permaculture Design Certificate: 286€
  • Advanced Permaculture Design Certificate: 832€

Please visit our Academy’s website for more info : integralpermaculture.org

To apply, please fill out this application form after reading the General Conditions below.


Past Experiences

If you want to hear from previous interns how this was like for them,
and what to take into account before coming,

have a look at these newsletters:


Examples of Design Projects

Below are some examples of the kind of design work we’re doing on site
– these are just some, there are many others,
and they are all organized in our private online design portfolio,
to which you will have access once you enroll
in order to study the different design projects and choose which ones to work on.

Gardens

 We have a big nursery and several gardens and there’s space for many more including a large chicken-tractor garden still under construction (for future large production: at the moment we don’t need so much).
So we have plenty of space & scope for some more intensive growing, which is ideal for someone who wants to design a whole garden from scratch, plant, maintain & harvest it (if you wish) or simply improving and maintaining the current ones.
Because with the online-learning & design time, we can do interesting team-work things like get the nursery plants before you arrive, so you have however many plants & varieties you decide waiting for you, as you will have worked out the preparation & growing times together with us & be well on the way to becoming an expert garden manager by the time you’ve completed your project.
Or you can simply help in the day to day maintenance of the existing gardens, nursery work and / or building of the larger infrastructure work, which is ongoing.
Forest Gardening
 We have 8 embryonic forest-gardens on site, and if you wish to focus on trees, soil conditioning, making & improving swales, paths, hedges, & in general learning how to be a food-forest designer, there is plenty still to design & plant in each of these sites.
Our vision is that each of these small forest gardens will eventually join up into a big edible forest, which will be the whole site, but this takes quite a few years to all grow, so building soil & planting more & more varieties is still a priority.
The idea is that each part will have it’s own character, own peculiar art, cosy sitting-places, wide variety of food growing with least effort.  All are future foraging-space for our chickens & other animals.
 Hobbit Domes
One of the more adventurous (& controversial) projects that we started on site is an experiment in making small “hobbit-domes” with 90% waste materials.
This means finding creative ways of working with things like:
– plastic bales instead of straw-bales (in order to find good uses for the huge quantities of plastics which are currently causing havoc in landfills & the oceans)
– using cardboard as a building material (quite challenging also, but has great structural qualities, as well as being plentiful waste material from the banana industry here) – old car tyres, metal fencing, palets … whatever is normally pollution & can become a valuable resource, with some imagination & skill.
Eventually the vision for the domes is that they be covered with a thin fire-proof, water-proof ferro-cement shell that will in turn be a support-structure for climbing plants – so the buildings can disappear totally in the landscape.
At the moment we have a 2 early prototypes at various stages of building, which you can help with or take on as your individual project, as you prefer.
Here is a short video we made in spanish about this (it’s called Transforming Rubbish into Dreams & is presented as a crowd-funding project – which you are very welcome to use if you wish to fund your stay in a very original way)
 Plant nursery

We currently have 3 plant nurseries: one for trees, one for seedlings and one for cuttings / bigger plants. Interns interested in this work usually take responsibility for one of them in turn, also contributing to design ideas for improving them if they wish.

As we love nurseries (most of our production is gifted to neighbours and friends at present, and we have exchanged all sorts of stuff for plants in the past) we’re always open to making new or improved ones, like this rather ‘wild design’ one of our students came up with :

   >>    

The old trial greenhouse and the guinea-pig multifunctional greenhouse design we made for a future larger greenhouse.

The idea is that the guinea-pigs live inside the greenhouse, providing plants with Co2, compost & heat, in exchange for being in a nice warm sheltered place, where we can see them every time we pass through the greenhouse on the way to the camping site or the house, as the new structure will act also as a corridor in a well-transited place.

Chicken house

A large-scale chicken-tractor project, that will eventually join up the 6 big half-moon terraces & gardens is still being designed.
It aims to provide enough chicken meat & eggs for a small community – & of course also all the great de-bugging & fertilizing services that these wonderful creatures offer.
The chicken house is part of a big chicken & pig tractor project which is slowly being completed.  This is a great design for someone ambitious who wants to contribute to a major structure of the whole.

Chickens in one of the tractor system gardens.


Solar Showers

The solar shower started as basic bottles + black pipes structure (in the picture) that we built in our first months here, & it worked fine most of the time, but was a little cold in winter.

It was re-designed in february 2015 & has been through several re-designs already.

We could do with more showers, so there’s scope for much creativity as there are lots of ways they can be designed, … eg. as an integral part of a wood-heated sauna-spar complex that we are fantasizing about from time … 🙂

Just this simple shower can be improved by building a compost-heated winter version & by adding a storage tank for hot water.

Compost Toilets

Again, we started with the very basic sawdust bucket-system which we still use in parts of the growing project as they work very well, but in 2015 a friend also built us a larger twin chamber composting toilet.

There’s still lots of scope for improving the existing structures and for experimenting & building various toilets of different types here, if anyone has the enthusiasm to organize it.