1. What is ESC
2. Erasmus/ESC – Who are we
3. Being a volunteer at Hästekasen
4. Long ESC
5. Team ESC
6. Methods and traditions
Volunteer on a farm/ adventure center on the countryside in Sweden.
Building with natural material, farm chores, some farming/harvesting, handicraft… maintaining a household in a community.
2023 March to October
Hästekasen Facebook photos
Read about our “green” approach
Are we self sustainable? Not really. Read more.
… and we are not a role model permaculture homestead.
Our project is very popular, 100´s of people apply.
The long term vision of Hästekasen is a small eco-community and nature/adventure activity center.
The farm itself has an ambition of self sustainability. You can be part of breaking new ground for small scale ecological farming (but most volunteers find that work too hard and boring). Contribute with your effort and build low impact ecological houses for a small ecovillage. Take care of farm animals and forest. Participate in adventure activities on your free time.
Economy & period of stay
Long ESC is 6 – 8 months and usually starts in March.
You are expected to participate at least 38 hours per week.
Your travel costs will be covered up to a limit.
You will receive 150 euro pocket money every month.
Food and accommodation is covered. Organized by the host.
This is not a school or a course – this is learning by doing in a non-formal way. You must actively take part.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION for participants
This is not a 9-5 kind of activity.
Some days we “work” 10 hours, other days we may just sit in an watch films and drink tea and talk. There is lots of room for improvisation.
Some days there are a course at the farm and the ESC may have to adapt to that, take part, or support, or take a day of.
Sometimes you will have to take initiative yourself.
You must understand that the volunteer work is mainly the building work, and sometimes small scale farming. It is obligatory to take part in these activities.
The community living that involves you cleaning and cooking is NOT part of the regulated ESC work.
- Main activities (depending on season):
- Living in a community, sharing household.
- Natural building with logs, wood, stones, clay, straw.
- Survival nature skills / camping.
- Possible to do handicraft.
- Manure work. Recycling of resources.
- Work in forest.
- And some:
- Food preservation, baking.
- Permaculture gardening/ small scale farming (some animals). Soil and
- Special Topics: Leadership and entrepreneurship
Mostly vegetarian food, absolutely no smoking (not even in your freetime). Restricted use of shower, laundry, dryers, heating. Limited Wifi and internet use. You will be part of a partly self sustainable and environmentally friendly life style, where we save resources, using less comfort.
There is no city here – only trees, rocks and sea.
If you want follow the activities at Hastekasen farm (ecological farm community) you can follow us on facebook.
Depending on how long you stay you will learn self sustainability and be part of a future ruralisation. You may learn to grow food without machines, you will learn to build your own house, cheap and ecological…. IF you are actively pursuing it.
You may be able to pursue your own projects within the community.
We will sometimes give you freedom and responsibility.
We expect you to grow and become a leader.
The main activities are:
1) Experimental and ecological construction,
3) Small scale farming (permaculture) (if you are pro-active)
4) Outdoor activities,
5) Hosting groups.
Other things we do
Scrape old paint. Dig. Trim fruit trees. Play musical instruments.
Recognize wild plants and herbs e t c. Repair engines e t c. Build homepages. Hatch chickens. Carry. Work with piping. Move big stones. Watch films. Move and spread manure. Climbing trees and rock. Research on internet. Read about farming. Go on excursions. Carry hay. Listen to music. Discuss… and more
Hästekasen will help you grow. You may be offered to stay longer after ESC if you like it here and are “useful”, you will welcome back if it is a “fit”.
There is a wide variety of work and activities here. We will try to offer you lots of variety.
We want you to avoid causing category 1 situations, and in time help to stop them. Category 2 and 3 is the main work here. We want you to focus on working in category 3. If you contribute to category 3, we can spend more time in category 4, and make more time for category 5.
PHYSICAL WORK OUTSIDE
It will be dirty, you will sweat, you will touch animals, you will touch worms, your body will at times hurt, sometimes it is boring, sometimes it is cold and raining. It will make you mentally strong.
We expect you to be able to lift 30% of your bodyweight (men 40%).
You will share household with many others. You will have to clean, cook, bake e t c. You will share your free time with the people living here. Food will be simple and mostly vegetarian. No nicotine allowed. We try to avoid too much sugar. You can drink alcohol on special occasions.
Living conditions are simple, sometimes 15 degrees in your room (spring/autumn), there are maybe ants and mice and mosquitos.
You will work, and live at the same place. The community living is not officially part of the volunteer work, but you have to live here and follow the rules of the community. Make sure you check out these rules before you accept.
You will have a private room, but mind you, there may be a spider or some ants also living there (this is the country side).
If you want to visit nearby towns there is a bus station 5 km away, the nearest shop is 15 km away. Most volunteers do not leave the farm much, but usually takes a longer vacation in Sweden (we will help you organize this). The nature around Hästekasen with sea and forest is great places for excursions.
You must use the outhouse dry toilet, maximum 3 showers every week. There is not much sense taking morning showers since we do physical work in nature. We do not have to feel “fresh” when working in nature.
Max 1 laundry every week, do not use the electrical dryer (wind will dry your clothes for free, without environmental impact).
Sometimes we have Wifi. Mobiles must stay in your room. Because we try to be “here and now”. No TV, no videogames – not even in your freetime (if you want to fit into the vision), because you chose this ESC because you want to do things in nature with others. We often watch films/documentaries together.
This is what we mean with simple lifestyle – saving resources, becoming more self-sustainable. Do not expect Swedish high material standard.
Sometimes there are electricity cuts, you will have to make a fire to keep warm and to cook. There is no city here, civilization is far away, no shops, no cafés, no bars – nothing. A 5km walk to the bus. Here you find only nature, and weather. This is a rural experience. Come here because you are looking for this experience. Do not be too romantic about “Swedish countryside”.
What you may learn as a volunteer if you stay 6-8 months:
– Basic carpentry
– Use a scythe (summer)
– Bark trees
– Drive a tractor (at least try)
– Repair tools and maybe engines (if you have this interest)
– Use traditional and electrical hand tools in a professional way
– Work with painting
– Chop wood (handle an axe)
– Work with clay, cob and straw (not winter)
– Principles of drainage.
– Tend animals such as dog, cat, sheep, hens, ducks, bees.
– Independantly build something from planning to finish.
– Compost and soil management (not winter)
– Recognize basic plants and trees (not winter)
– Understand the basics of permaculture farming
– Seeding and basic planting skills (not winter).
– Cut wool and hoofs on the sheep.
– Basics of beekeeping and honey management.
– Plant a tree (bushes)
– Household skills (cleaning & cooking).
(Since we all live together, this is the daily basis for our comunity)
– Baking (everyone will bake)
– Food preservation (mostly autumn).
– Make fire (We use a fire stove for cooking and heating) (mainly winter).
– Chimney sweeping (wintertime)
– English and swedish language skills. Swedish is obligatory for those staying 6 months+, but if you want to focus on improving english instead, that is also possible.
We expect you to activly train swedish, otherwise we will not help you.
Ni kanske kan tala och förstå minst 100 svenska ord när ni lämnar Gården.
Possible outdoor activity skills on your free time e t c
– Learn to swim (depending season)
– Orientation in a forest
– Camping in the forest.
– Basic rock climbing skills (not winter)
– Freediving (mainly summer)
– Kayaking (not winter)
– Rowing (boat)
– Climbing trees (mainly summer)
– Zip line
– Ice scating, skiing (flatland) (if there is ice)
– Bow shooting
We will discuss things like what you could be doing five years into the future. We will discus things such as empowerment, learning, skill, responsibility, performance: motivation, confidence, goal, discipline, identity. Things that shape our life.
Remember you have come her for a new experience, not to recreate the life you had at home. That means you will have to adapt to new things, maybe even things you do not like.
– Ecological mill
– Ecological dairy farmer
– Green meat farmer
– Kalvö nature reserve
– Nordens ark – wildlife park
– Visit ecovillage and permaculture neighbor.
– Lysekil, Uddevalla and Gothenburg
If you feel that things get too “intense”, try this:
– Ask for free time.
– “Skype” your friends
– Do an excursion by yourself (forest, sea or next town)
(maybe try couchsurfing)
– Use your vacation days and travel somewhere.
We will help planning your own personal vacation/excursions you may want to do.
In order to have a goal to work against we propose a series of individual practical exams: example:
1) Take down a tree, cut it up, sort branches, bark logs.
2) Shop and cook for the whole group.
3) Point out 20 plants/trees/bushes with swedish and english words.
4) Point out 20 tools with Swedish and English words.
6) Make a fire.
7) Do the yoga sun or moon greeting series.
8) Stay 24 hours alone in nature, camp.
9) Climb the local cliff.
10) Freedive to 10 meters, hold your breath for 3 minutes.
11) Build something of own choice.
This list can be changed by the group to fit the individual.
Before you leave we want you to have explored the following treks:
– South walk Knösen cliffs
– South walk to the harbour
– West walk “John Baur forest” and postbox
– East walk clifftrail and round the “mountain”
– Northwalk mountain
– Northwalk cabin
– Northwest walk?
– Northwalk round the “kalhygge”.
– North walk to the bus
There should be room for the individual and personal as long as it does not go against the vision. Activities will include regular meetings that should lead to cooperation.