An eco-alternatives

Dio Pigadia  was created in 2018 with the aim to put in practice and experiment a sustainable way of living.

Facing the ecologic and energetic crises, it is necessary to find an eco-alternatives and to prepare for the changes to come.

We need to rethink our way of producing and consuming food, energy and materials, and create a space for people to live together in a meaningful way.

At Dio Pigadia we begin by rebuilding the soil.


A different way to consider the soil

As humans, we are now underestimating what might be the most important thing for us: food.

Food production/consumption is today the major cause of ecological problems/health issues.

It is necessary to create a sustainable farming model respectful of the environment.

Organic agriculture might be a step, but in many ways it is similar to conventional agriculture and doesn´t provide structural solutions.

It is a monoculture system where biodiversity is low.

You can´t tell the difference: fields where the ground is processed mechanically, minerals or strongly concentrated naturally extracted products are used as an input to replace the more traditional chemical fertilizers /pesticides, fungicides, herbicides.

Both these methods, traditional and organic, rely on massive inputs of petrol to work the ground and make/import these products.

This is not sustainable.

The mechanical turning of the ground destroys the life in the soil (worms, bacteria, mushrooms…) which are necessary to keep it healthy.

The fertility and productivity of agricultural land has diminished largely in the past 50 years, needing more and more inputs to compensate for it.

When the mechanical work stops, the ground compacts like stone, it is literally dead soil. If you look at the ground in the forest or under a bush in any place that hasn’t been exploited by agriculture, the soil will be much richer and have a proper structure, with air, naturally maintained by the life in the soil.

At Dio Pigadia we focus on regenerating the dead soil. We start by adding organic matter that we use as mulch to cover the ground. This ground cover reproduces a forest´s soil by feeding the micro life and regulating humidity.

It is a compost system on a bigger scale, aiming at bringing back life in the soil – the base of the ecosystem.

Rich soil provides biodiversity. It prevents invasive pests by providing their natural predators just like it happens in nature.

Most of the invasive pests that traditional agriculture fights by pesticides are just a consequence of an unbalanced ecosystem where monoculture and weak biodiversity prevails.

It is therefore necessary to treat the problem at the source by providing a balanced ecosystem where the priority is not short term vision but long term sustainability.

An other way to regenerate the soil is by rotational grazing. The animals (donkeys, sheep, chickens…) are being moved in a mobile system. This replicates nature where animals live in symbiosis with plants.

Modern breeding is source of pollution because the concentration of animals in one place unbalances the system. On the other hand rotational grazing is a source of fertility. It is amazing to see that where the animals passed everything grows better. The animals have “produced” heat, meat, energy and yet there is more fertility after they passed. This is related to the qualitative input of animal manure that re-enrich the soil with bacteria and other elements. There is clearly a relation between the micro flora in the animal´s digestive system and the micro flora of the soil.

Food is the link between living organisms and the soil.

A different way to consider food

Bringing back biodiversity and fertility in the soil assures a rich and complex substrate where plants can find what they need to be healthier and stronger.

When we in turn eat the products of these plants we not only enjoy the delicious taste but also become healthier and stronger by providing our body with qualitative food.

Recent studies have shown how the biodiversity of our intestinal flora is weakening drastically in the last 50 years. This is related to the poor quality of our food as well as the consumption of antibiotics, preservatives or pesticides. This low intestinal flora explains many health problems since our body is not able to breakdown essential vital elements from food.

It also relates to our mental health since there is no heathy mind without a healthy body.

Food is not only a source of good health, it is also quite pleasurable!

We built an extensive outdoor kitchen since an important part of the project is the processing of our production.

We consider food production and food processing as two sides of the same coin.

The diversity of cultures that meet in Dio Pigadia reflects in a variety of recipes inspired by local products and the variety of our production.

Come discover the food here, it is world´s cuisine at it´s best!

We are also encouraging the revival of traditional food preservation such as drying, canning, and salting. We produce a variety of transformed food, from our world famous homemade spicy ketchup to marmalades, dried fruits, ratatouille… The list is long and evolves over the seasons!

A different way to manage energies and resources

When starting the project in 2018, it was aimed to build all facilities by ourselves using mostly upcycled materials.

The first step was to establish a fully equipped workshop (80 m2 building available on site), enabling the construction of the necessary infrastructures.

It was observed that the workshop encouraged creative approaches and design innovations from outside helpers. Learning how to use tools, how to design and how to build with available materials is an essential part of the project. People need to know how to use their hands to repair and build things.

Solar energy, rainwater harvesting, and gravity systems have been installed on the site. The facilities themselves are intended to be part of a resilient and ecological approach.

For example, a plant nursery that is built out of recycled windows is combined with a shower, as these two functions are mutually beneficial (humidity, warmth, and water control).

dio pigadia permakulturfarm gewcähshaus

Dry toilets contribute to soil fertilization.


Natural building techniques are used for construction such as a wood oven or the greenhouse. Cob (mix of hay and clay) is a natural material available on site. We use it extensively and enjoy working a magic material that is fun, easy and healthy to work with!

Building with cob makes for great moments of fun work where everybody participates, older and younger, bringing people together!

A place for people to find themselves around a common dream

The project is evolving on a more social level with the participation of so many volunteers. There are on average 10 people on the site. People get to know and understand each other by sharing so much. We are open minded and don´t discriminate. It is a place of exchange.

Organizing the living and working together has become a fun and exciting challenge. Community living involves an exchange of knowledge, practices, and general life experiences. This sharing has now taken a central place in the project.

As this is a pioneer project, the role of education is central. We see it above all as a process of learning together, encouraging everyone to find their place, according to their interests and skills. We try to give great autonomy to the volunteers participating so that they are fully involved in the project and can take responsibility.

It is inspiring to see so many people interested in the project. Many leave with the will to establish similar projects in the future.  

People often come with a need to find meaning, they have felt loneliness and are burnt out or just disillusioned by the standard urban lifestyle and modern values. They need a place to share, a place for bonding, for dreaming.

They come here tired and leave full of good energies, thankful for the experience. This might be the main function of a project like this, to heal and give hope.

Dio Pigadia is a public and open space that encourages bonds with the local community. Local villagers or tourists often come to visit, discover the project and meet the volunteers to share a rich moment of exchange.

We organize social events (Open Day every friday) and want to be sharing as much as possible to inspire similar projects and practices.

In the future, we imagine many possibilities and dreams: opening even more to the public, inviting specialists of different fields to make seminars and workshops or even rebuilding an old traditional olive oil mill for people to visit.

After 3 years it is hard to believe what has been achieved here. It has become a place of hope for the future where people get inspired and believe in an alternative for the future.

We aims to rebuild the soil in an ecological approach but also the human substrate, the bonding between people.

This can happen if people get together, work together, dream together. Come to Dio Pigadia and help us make it reality!

What others think about us

  • Avatar We learn as we wander ★★★★★ in the last week
    My daughter and I only wanted to visit Dio Pigadia for one afternoon but we ended up staying three weeks. It was a truly great experience for us and we … More both enjoyed taking care of the animals, gardens and veggies on the farm and fell in love with this little paradise. We ate daily together with the other volunteers amazing fresh meals with very tasty vegetables from the garden, helped out at a beach clean up event and even went sailing together.
    Saying goodbye was a hard one here but we both know for sure we want to come back, so it's only bye for now and thank you for everything Jules.
    Lia, Jenny and Tito
  • Avatar R Bungener ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    What an incredible place where nature and humans work in collaboration to enable sustainable living and agriculture.
    Not only is Dio Pigadia in gorgeous
    … More setting, in the hills between Pylos and Methani, the people there are also really nice. A must visit whether you're a volunteer or visiting the area (they do hope evenings on Fridays!).
    They also have rental cottages (Nectar Pylos) which are a gem to stay in if you're visiting.
  • Avatar Jules Canquelain ★★★★★ 4 weeks ago
    What a magical place to take a break, get away from this world where everything is going too fast. Here, we get closer to the most essential things in … More life: the earth, love, autonomy, good vegetables, animals, crafting and the most important !! INCREDIBLE FOOOOOD !!
    All of this in a wonderful community of sharing and mutual aid.
    What a pleasure to take care of mother nature and help her as we can.
    This is where it all begins !
    Thank you family
    See you soon 🫶
  • Avatar Hugo Prd ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    We worked there as volonteers for a month and it was truely an amazing adventure! Such a good atmosphere and filled with nice people. We learned a lot … More ans had some small responsabilities in the community, which is a thing we loved.
    Jules is so welcoming and always ready to share about his project!
    We miss you already and can't wait to come back!! Love
    Julie and Hugo
  • Avatar Kajsa ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Dio Pigadia is a little slice of paradise. A safe haven for people who want to slow down, get into the earth and reconnect with nature. Beautiful gardens … More and veggies, you can really tell that everything is made with the principles of permaculture in mind. Staying as a volunteer is so great, the work is fun and rewarding. The people who are attracted to this project are beautiful and I have learned so much! Thank you Jules and the rest of the team
  • Avatar Lucia Christ ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    Dio Pigadia...what a place!
    I came as a volunteer to stay for six weeks and it turned out to be such a great and interesting time. Learning "little"
    … More farming skills, building a relationships with all the animals around, laughing at the shared meals with all the other volunteers, getting an image about how we can treat our environment in a sustainable way...
    I would definitely recommend joining for some time as a volunteer or just looking by to enjoy some veggies and olive oil!
    Thanks for this experience Dio Pigadia and Jules, the "Master of Mesochori" (and the "chef" of the farm, but don't call him that ;)!
  • Avatar Theresa Aston ★★★★★ 11 months ago
    Very impressive small-scale farm in the Peloponnese region of Greece. The olive oil they produce is the best I’ve ever had, as well as the tomatoes, eggplant… … More everything here is delicious! Truly a (healthy) culinary experience! The owner Jules is a very inspiring guy with a refreshing philosophy of what sustainable living entails. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit! Definitely worth it for the delicious food, friendly animals, and beautiful community :)
  • Avatar Noel Gilmartin ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    I recently visited with our family during the August peak, when the farm is open to visitors on Friday evenings.
    It was a perfect evening and the atmosphere
    … More in this secluded, elevated location with the beautiful evening sky and stunning countryside, with views all around was truly magical. You could feel the presence of the ancients who surely farmed these hills before us!
    On arrival we received a really friendly welcome from Jules, the principal, who immediately invited us on a tour of the farm and was keen to explain everything about the philosophy of the operation.
    Jules, a Frenchman, is the kind of charismatic, almost messianic, personality that you can connect with right away.  He's a great communicator and a very open person who has great enthusiasm and energy for this project. He doesn't have fixed ideas about how the farm, which is still in the early stages of development, should proceed. He knows he's doing, but seems very open to ideas and suggestions - for example a volunteer had recently set up a website and social media presence for the farm.
    Jules is passionate above all about farming sustainably, and you can see this from the mulching on the soil (contrasting with the usual ploughing / cultivation).
    But the overall impression on this particular evening was of serenity and harmony of people together with nature.
    The products on offer taste fantastic - e.g. organic peppers & varieties of tomatoes, aubergines, and jars of ratatouille, tomato paste, olive oil... wow!
    Jules is also aware of the current alignment of Dio Pigadia with the post-Covid zeitgeist - the great awakening or reset of values - that life is more than the corporate 9 to 5,  (a bit like the Woodstock generation?), and there's a better partnership with nature to be achieved, especially through the smart use of technology now at our disposal. Volunteers work on the farm and for a variety of tasks - the perfect environment to experience nature, sustainable farming and companionship. Pay a visit and see for yourself!
  • Avatar Jan Schulz ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    We stayed in dio pigadia for one month, it was our first time as volunteers and it could not have been better!
    To cook everyday with fresh vegetables from
    … More the garden, eat the freshest (and maybe best) olive oil, work with our hands and always be surrounded by animals was
    We also learned much about permaculture, biodiversity, sustainability, to compost and to cook marmelade or peti mezi, the nectar of the greek gods.
    However, for us the best and also most in depth experience was to talk with other peoples from all over the world and especially with Jules about our western society, climate change, to learn to question the way we live in every aspect and to get new ideas for the future.
    So it was a really enriching stay and we are full of respect for Jules, his project and his vigour to try to spread his ideas.
    We totally recommend to visit the farm when you are in greece and we hope to come back one time!! Thanks Jules.
    Inga and Jan
  • Avatar Hans Van Dam ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    The combination sailor and landman is a common one on the islands in the Netherlands (in the old days). It was very nice to see Jules recalling that principle … More in Greece again.
    He is equally good and dedicated to both.
    His dedication is seen for sailing in the beautiful work he did on his wooden sailboat and even more in his diligence with which he started and developed this lovely Dio Pigadia 9km from the sea.
    Using old and often forgotten principles of cultivating the earth and crop, he developed the most fantastic veggie garden and olive tree orchard.
    He is the one giving you biological olive oil and vegetables with the real taste they should have and nutritional value that mono culture farmers have long time forgotten.
    And for volunteers: the relaxed atmosphere Jules and your colleagues have on Dio Pigadia is enough reason to apply for a place where you can learn about permaculture.
    It was a real pleasure to meet you and I wish you all succes you deserve. Good Luck.
    Hans, Zephyr