to be with the land

Reliquias, South West Portugal

“Knowing that you love the earth, changes you. Activates you to defend, to protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that transforms from a one-way street to a sacred bond.”

-Robin Wall Kimmerer-


We invite you to come and volunteer a week with us, to share the work and the beauty of the land and all her beings.

With a small group of maximum 6 people we will gather and take care of the land, have our hands in the earth, be with the plants, herbs and trees, be on the hillsides, with the waterlandscape, do work on the infrastructure, etc.

Depending on the season, the wheater and what’s happening in Retumbana we will gather to get things done.  

This week is an invitation for you to come and be with us on the land. 

To live with this land and from and for this land has been such a gift. Retumbana is a 14 hectare non-private small community project in the beautiful soft hills of the Alentejo, south west of Portugal, where  we hold the vision of regenerated landscapes and communities.

As we regenerate of the land, also the people will find regeneration. 

On the land we work a lot with the care for Water, for the soil and the trees and the animal beïngs.  We live with spirit in many areas on the land and we hold a life infused by soul as very important.  We see the older trees and the wild boars, as those that live longer here then we humans, and we see community as living together will all human and non-human beings.  Listening to what the lands want, is part of our story.

In the 4 years of the existance of the project there has been many people living and helping. Offering their love, energy, listening ears, helping hands and hard work which results today in an amazing water-system, +1000 of planted trees and shrubs on the hillsides, 2 almost 4 year old sintropical agroforests, a vegetable garden, a herb garden, and an almost finished rebuild ruine into a community space.

Slowly, slowly the ecosystem here is supported to become healthy again… and slowly slowly we humans learn from and with it…  it’s generational work, it’s with an awareness of the coming generations that we started this and it’s for them to harvest and continue that what wich takes longer then one lifetime.

We are looking forward to welcome you here with us!

VOLUNTEERING is often during our planting season, when the land needs a lot of care.  It’s also outside of the planting season when we do more beautifying jobs or jobs like building the check dams for the water, clearing bigger spaces on the land, watering during summer, etc..

Depending on when you come we will have more clear what the work will be.

Think this : planting, seeding, harvesting, weeding, mulching, building soil, bringing in hay, pruning, making cuttings, collecting seeds, chipping and chopping wood, building check dams, clearing the building site, painting, … 

In your VOLUNTEERING time we will work together and at times you might have a  job to do on your own.  

We will gather every morning for breakfast and to start the day together.

As you come, you’ll get a bed and vegetarian food in exchange for the volunteering.   Some meals will be cooked for you and in some meals you will be asked to participate.  We will take together care of the dishes and the community spaces we all use.

Who’s it for? 

It’s for you if you want to work on the land and are open to what needs to be done during the time when you come.

It’s for you if you want to work together and at times can work on your own if needed.

It’s for you if you are in good fysical and emotional shape to be with the land for a week.

It’s for you if you love being outside, enjoy land and the care for it.

It’s for you if you have no experience yet with landcare, though are willing and curious to learn.

It’s for you if you have specific experience in a certain area like permaculture, watermanagement, sintropical agroforestry, herbs, trees,  pruning, fruittrees, … let us know what you bring and we can see how we can combine your skills with your week with us.

What will a day look like? 

  • Arriving time is the day before we start from 4pm and leaving time is the day after we have ended before 11am. 
  • Breakfast will be around 8u, Lunch around 13u30 and Dinner around 7pm.
  • We work about 5 hours a day, from 9u30 -13pm.  And from 15-16u30.
  • If we are cooking, we will spent some of this time in the kitchen, organising and preparing meals. 
  • In the time that we don’t work there are many spaces on the land to enjoy the quiet and the beauty.  You can also go out and walk into the surrounding hills, gather in or outside on the land with who’s there to share stories, sing or dance, or take your own time to relax.

These are guidelines and we might at times, because of the weather or other circumstances be fluid with the timings.


Some practicalities

  •  As volunteer you will work 5 hours a day and receive a bed and the food we cook together.
  • You arrive the day before, after 4pm and leave the day after before 11am.  
  • We all together take care of the communal spaces and of our own bedroom or campingspace and bathrooms.
  • We have some rooms with shared beds, a tiny house, and space for camping, or a camper.   You will be having the indoor community space and kitchen to use, the outdoor compost toilet and outdoor shower, as well as an indoor bathroom and toilet.
  • The travelling costs to and from Retumbana are for you.
  • We have no space for dogs.
  • We do not welcome alcohol or drug use during this week.
  • We speak English and Dutch, starting to learn Portuguese, some French and our main language will be English.

The coming Volunteering weeks are:

10-14 june 2024

19-23 augustus 2024

11-15 november 2024

11-26 january 2025

2-9 february 2025













Join us by sending an email at contactmecarole@gmail.com 

We love to read about who you are and why you’d like to join us.  Also let us know wich period is best for you.  And we will come to you as soon as possible. 


Click here for ‘How to get to Retumbana’? 

Soon here will come more information about the project and what we have been doing in 2023. 

Do you want to come and volunteer on other dates, please send us an email and we will look at what’s possible.