Green Skills XIV
Learning and Volunteering Program
Starting March 2024
in Suderbyn Permaculture Ecovillage
on the island of Gotland, Sweden
Since 2010, RELEARN Suderbyn has been hosting 1-year-long learning programs “Green Skills” in Suderbyn Permaculture Ecovillage yearly. Young people from all over Europe and neighbouring countries come to Suderbyn to develop practical skills, soft competencies and get involved in local and international pro-change projects.
Food, accommodation and travel is covered via European Solidarity Corps (previously Erasmus+).
We invite you to join us in experiencing the joys and challenges of community life. If you are ready and motivated to dedicate your time and energy to co-creating this home, in exchange you will acquire hands-on skills, personal and social competences, and meaningful experiences and connections.
The program is for young people, who are:
- Between 18 and 30 years old;
- From the EU (applications open in November): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
- From neighbouring countries (applications closed): Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, North Macedonia, Norway, Palestine, Russia, Serbia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine.
- Eager to put your body and mind to work in an intense combination of research,
experiment and creation of an alternative model of life;
- Seek to experience living and working in a community – with the challenges it
inevitably brings – either based on curiosity or because you already know it suits your personality;
- Motivated to invest time and effort into the development and improvement of Suderbyn;
Deadline for application (non-EU): 11th of September 2023
Interview process (non-EU) : Middle of September 2023
Selection announcements (non-EU): end of September 2023
The Green Skills volunteering program is completely integrated into Suderbyn’s work and community. Participants of Green Skills co-create social, ecological, economic and cultural dimensions of Suderbyn as much as the rest of the residents do. While developing the ecovillage, volunteers have the opportunity to grow practical, organisational and social skills. By living closely together and slowly building a small but holistic model of a more sustainable society, we experience the complexity and beauty of life every day.
Below, you can find more information about Suderbyn and volunteers positions.
For additional information, feel free to explore the pages about who we are, what daily life in Suderbyn is like, and which principles we follow in our community.
We are looking for volunteers who are highly motivated and are ready to dedicate their energy both to the practical work and communal involvement. We base the selection process mostly on your reasons to apply and willingness to learn, rather than on whether you already have existing skills or experience.
Show an understanding of the actual conditions at Suderbyn Ecovillage, and have a personal motivation for learning and living in this community
Ready to participate in permaculture gardening, low-tech construction, learning projects, social life, vegan cooking and maintenance of the place
Know that community life can be as demanding as it can be rewarding when living closely with over 20 people, and are ready to participate and support
Suderbyn Work Domains
We structure the complexity of Suderbyn into work domains, each operate independently but are all interconnected and interdependent. By clicking on the title you can learn more about each of the domains.
Everything connected to plants and food: production, processing, soil improvement, storage, regenerative permaculture design, education, working towards self-reliance.
Maintenance and development of the physical aspects of Suderbyn: planning, building, and fixing using natural building techniques and permaculture design.
International and local projects in the fields of education, research and outreach for social and environmental topics, cross-border cooperation, strengthening networks, and activism.
Organisation and project management, accounting practices, facilitation of meetings, financial work, documentation and archiving, various IT and office tools and external communication,
It is not an official domain, but it is nonetheless very important. This is where community-building, celebrations, games, , music, films, and sharing our feelings take place.
Suderbyn has been placing more and more focus on food production and self-reliance. To achieve this, we need dedicated individuals to help plan and organise expansion of our gardens according to permaculture principles. We are looking for volunteers to dedicate their year mostly to garden work. Do you want to get your hands dirty while also learning about sustainable food production and permaculture design? Do you want to work with Nature, support soil restoration, learn and help us to achieve self-sufficiency? Then you might want to click this link!
Read more about Earth Keepers
Are you already experienced in practical work – building, designing, carpenting, electrical wiring, engineering or similar? Great!
Have you never held a tool in your hands or done a technical drawing? Fantastic! What matters most is your interest in being in a dynamic environment with continuous choice-making and your willingness to take on some responsibility as a coordinator within the Infrastructure and Building domain. We are looking for volunteers who are motivated to take on a leading role, If you are interested, click below for more information:
Read more about Roof Keepers
ESC-volunteers are assigned to work 35 hours per week , including:
- work in any of the four domains, or multiple domains
- work-related meetings and instructions
- household tasks (vegan cooking, cleaning)
- language training in Swedish and/or English (max. 3 hours per week are counted as working hours)
Weekends and some holidays/celebrations are days off. Volunteers earn 2 additional days of holiday from work per month.
There are often additional learning and social processes – workshops and events – outside of the working hours, which the volunteer may choose to attend or skip
Accommodation, food, travel, pocket money and all administration costs are covered by European Solidarity Corps
Volunteers will have simple accommodation in small single or shared rooms. People who prefer the quiet and a simple lifestyle will love our lovely bungalows (no electricity, wood stove). People who wants to be next to the kitchen and don’t mind the noise will prefer the main house. The same conditions apply for permanent inhabitants and are part of the voluntary simplicity of life in Suderbyn.
All the food purchased and prepared by the community is organic and vegan. Every weekday, one or two people volunteer to cook breakfast (porridge) and lunch, that we eat together. For other meals, you can use food from our supplies, and it is always appreciated if you cook for others as well.
Suderbyn has both a biogas car-pool and bicycle-pool for transport. Traveling by public bus on the island is also a possibility, and there is a bus stop close by (5 minute walk)
We already have quite some social, organisational and physical structures in place, but Suderbyn is still a work-in-progress. We are hindered in our ambitions and projects by diverse limiting factors – be it legislation, skills, funding or agreements. It is very important for us and for you that you do not expect to arrive in a perfect place and rather would like to co-create it together.
Some information to keep in mind
All communally bought and served food is vegan. Every weekday, one or two people cook for the community and on Sundays we usually have a pancake brunch.
Managing expectations: Suderbyn is situated in a semi-rural area, next to the main road of Gotland and to the active military base. Even if it still is a beautiful place, do not anticipate an ecovillage lost in the middle of the woods 😉
Suderbyn follows the natural rhythm of the seasons. It means that summer is incredibly busy, and winter is more a time for self-reflection and cosy afternoons next to the fireplace.
We promote a healthy lifestyle. Although strongly discouraged, smoking is allowed only in specifically designated areas, never indoors. Please read our Co-Living Principles for more details.
We try to grow most of our food ourselves, but have not yet reached full self-sufficiency.
We use compost toilets, separating urine and solids. But if you need to pee, the best is to just do it in the garden
(at least 50 m from the pump station).
The Green Skills program carries a special significance for Suderbyn Permaculture Ecovillage. It gives volunteers an opportunity to experience Suderbyn life with its ebbs and flows, while enabling them to cultivate an intimate bond with the place, its people and its values.
Approximately 80% of the people that make up the community today, initially arrived as Green Skills participants and decided to stay after its completion. This means two things; first and foremost that most people who involved in organising this project deeply care about it and the experience you will derive from it, and secondly, that you too shall have the possibility to grow your roots among this family if that’s what you end up wanting to do.
Whether you stay or move on to another path, the Suderbyn family will continue to grow.
Photos: our previous EVS/ESC volunteers who decided to stay on and become a part of the Core team of Suderbyn