We enjoy hosting folks who come to the Mount of Oaks with a spirit to serve.
Over all these years we have received hundreds of people passing by, who helped and made MoO what it is today. For that we will always be grateful.
After 2020 we came to realise that we had quite a significant community of like minded people around us within a few kilometers radius, and we started to host working days, more than “volunteer” programs.
At this moment we are 2 adult resident guardians and the land is much more manageable, so we will be looking for specialized help in the areas we most need.
This year (2022) we specifically request help on 2 areas : the kitchen and vegetable garden.
At the project we speak mainly English and Portuguese (some Spanish and French if necessary)
What is our life project about?
Since 2006 there have been people at the Mount of Oaks. We have been evolving as a community where we are practicing off-grid living, with little harm to nature, and with an attitude of service, creativity, conscientiousness and prayerfulness/mindfulness.
We live in the countryside and are very well-placed to be an educational and nurturing space for people interested in living more resourcefully; people who want to spend some time closer to nature, getting to know more of themselves, of others and of the mysteries of Life, seen and unseen !!
All of the people who have been part of the project as it has developed have been volunteer servants. Some for shorter periods, and some for as long as a couple of years, all the way to Barbara who has been here since the start!
This means, there is specific attention given to the sense of the ‘land owning us’, people at any given time are here to serve and have deep connection with the natural cycles.
The land is owned by a cultural association called ‘White Stone’ – and no one individual. The mission of the cultural and social association is to promote lifestyles and low impact ways of being that seek to discover wholeness, healing, and good health – in and within our diverse local community. The motto is Collaborate, Create and Transform.
Our aims are to continue to develop our sustainable and meaningful income streams over time, and connect the local Portuguese community with the new people moving to the region.
What kinds of activities happen at the Mount of Oaks?
As part of our aim to provide educational experiences for off-grid and low impact living, we teach ‘hands-on’ natural building courses; fermenting foods and drinks; spiritual renewal; and other experiences that contribute to personal and social development – such as silent and guided retreats. We are also a part of an exciting movement of local organic markets in the region, and are constantly looking for ways to grow this movement in our area and beyond.
Much of what we do is host and model a simple lifestyle – we are aiming to bring more income to the project by offering camping space, and renting out our straw bale guest room. We already have the facilities for ‘off-grid’ camping and have been promoting our educational experience alongside the rest of our activities. The life here is dynamic and certainly not boring!
As we are a little farm, we might need help with gardening, transforming our products, drying our herbs, harvesting flowers or food, natural building or other land-based activities.
We have a system for Daily Tasks (cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, chopping vegetables, preparing the guest room, ‘beautifying’, cleaning toilets…). These daily tasks are a part of living as a community and your help with these is a part of the daily work routine and massively appreciated.
Since we host events, guests, and workshops we ask that those we welcome are open to be welcoming too. What does that mean in practice? We are looking for people who are open, friendly, and self aware of their boundaries, punctual and professional in their dealings with others – with an attention to detail and making places beautiful.
What can a day look like for those who are serving here?
- Personal time and Silence in common spaces until 10am
- 10am – 1pm community service (including cleaning tasks)
- 1pm lunch
- 2-4pm community service
Dinner is not always communal, and Saturday and Sunday are resting days when we appreciate quietness in the land.
Tuesday and Thursday (7-9 am) we have our closed prayer/singing circle for the resident community and friday around 5pm we have our community circle that invites everyone in the land to participate and share.
Managing differences and conflicts is a big part of community life and we encourage talking circles, deep listening and forgiveness at any time for anyone.
The daily rhythm is really important for the smooth functioning of the community, so we can all have time to work, eat, have our own personal time, hang out, and rest and it’s necessary for those who are part of our daily life to fit into the schedule. In the summer months we have a long mid day rest from the sun, and in other seasons, we will be flexible with the schedule to accommodate our daily needs.
The day schedule given above is for Spring time for example. We adapt with each season.
Weekly rhythm and REST
We acknowledge the importance of contemplation and rest, not only for us but also for the land. Everyone is free on their days off (Saturdays and Sundays) to do what they please or enjoy the surrounding countryside. As we live here all the time, we often have our own plans so please be prepared to find your own entertainment on your days off – sometimes we just disappear to be by ourselves, or have plans with friends.
But if you love nature, want some time for contemplation or personal projects, or want to explore this area then you’ll really enjoy your rest days. There are lots of lovely walks you can take in the area and a nearby river beach, or consider hiring a car or taking a train to a nearby village.
What sort of people are we looking for?
Based on what you have read so far, you will either be interested to continue reading and feeling a pull towards the community life here, or not. We are looking for people who feel drawn to being part of co-hosting and serving the daily life of this place for a period of time. Those with experience of cooking for large number of people are super welcome, as are those who like to do odd jobs and be willing to ‘muck in’ with whatever needs doing. We are looking for people who like to learn, who already have useful skills, experience, and like to work as part of a team.
Unless you have volunteered with us previously, we are looking for longer term help, like 3 to 6 months, and someone willing to take on a specific responsibility needed for the time being.
We are animal lovers here! In theory we are open to anyone bringing their animals under the condition that they are well socialised towards people and other animals. We have chickens that roam free in the afternoons – we would not like any accidents with dogs and our pets! Similarly – this place is open to many people passing through. We need to know in advance that you will be responsible for the care and discipline of your animals – that means for example collecting any of their poo that appears in common spaces, or going after them if they are loose and disturbing any neighbouring animal (we are surrounded by sheep and many wild animals).
Arrival and Departure
We prefer if everyone is responsible to get themselves here, by foot, train, bus or their own transport. As we never know how our weekends go, we really appreciate if people arrive during the week, and that communication befiore hand is very clear.
Here is the link to the Google Map if you are planning on coming by car.
Once you are familiar with our place and walking in the area, it is possible for you to walk to the nearest local train station (Alpedrinha or Castelo Novo)
If you would like to come for shorter period of time you are welcome to come as a guest or pilgrim. You’d be more than welcome to help out where possible like collecting herbs or helping with the kitchen team, or participating on the daily cleaning tasks.
Other bits and bobs…
- Please bring your own tent/accommodation
- As far as health insurance goes, we ask that if you are from the EU that you bring your E111 card. If you are outside of the EU, we ask you have necessary travel insurance.
- We eat mostly a vegetarian diet. Though on important rare occasions we eat our own chickens/roosters. Our diet is local, seasonal and mostly organic. If you have other dietary needs/requirements we ask you let us know about those. We enjoy eating and cooking!!
- We ask that you bring only natural products for washing (we have natural soaps ans shampoos made locally if you want to buy from us) as the waste water from the shower and bath feed the trees in the citrus grove. All other natural products are available from our local Bio Market – a weekly event in the surrounding villages ( and a great opportunity to meet other like minded people who live in the area).
What we offer?
- We have a pond for swimming in spring/summer, a sheltered common place, a common kitchen and camping kitchen, several beautiful compost toilets, and ways to charge your electronic stuff by solar power. The drinking water is from spring and washing water is from our pond. Hot water is either solar or with fire (it takes 40 to 60 minutes to prepare a hot shower). The land itself is off-grid.
- As for Meals, for breakfast you will prepare that yourself – this includes bread, butter, oats, seasonal fruits, jams and cow’s milk. Lunch is communally prepared and everyone prepares their own dinner . On ‘days off’ you will prepare all your own meals and provide for yourself for your food needs. We will have a stock of basic groceries for you to use – but if you want fancy things or you have special needs, these can be purchased locally.
- We will have a stocked camping kitchen, which is open for the volunteers with a stove and utensils for your use along with fresh spring water for drinking.
- There is free wifi in the local village, 20 mins walking down the hill. We have limited use of the internet at the Mount of Oaks – use for administrative purposes mainly. However, if you have internet as part of your phone contract, the signal here is pretty good! Our recommendation is more like “unplug yourself” and connect with Life 🙂
We hope to provide a loving environment where people’s gifts and talents are acknowledged, where conflict is not ignored, and where respect and kindness is encouraged.
What to bring?
- Shoes for working (flipflops are not considered as working shoes)
- Natural products for washing
- Your own towel – unless you rent from us.
- Ear plugs – we live in a rural area – sometimes you can hear dogs or chickens.
- Head torch
- Musical instrument if you wish
- sleeping bag/roll mat – unless you are renting from us
- Water bottle
- Charger/adapters (we only have EU plugs)
- Hat (needed with this strong sun!)
- Sun screen – ideally something ecological (you can order from us)
- Insect repellent – if you do not have an ecological one – you can get that here too!
- Good energy, joy, love and laughter 🙂
We look forward to hearing from you!