COB.GR: a review from Clementine! (august-september 2022)

This is an interview with Clememtine, taken part in Dio Pigadia – our permaculture Farm in Pylos, Greece.

How did you hear about COB?

Since I lived in Athens I began to search for alternative places in Greece and COB seemed to be the biggest organization at this time, in 2018. It was one of the only one on social media. So I started to follow their activity. Returned to France and followed them.

What do they do at COB?

They do eco-building with natural materials. They also focus on permaculture and regenerative agriculture. They give PDC courses (permaculture certificate). They began 20 years ago by planting many different species according to the teachings of Masanobu Fukuoka (a Japanese farmer and philosopher). They established a food forest in Nessonas near Larissa. It is amazing to see what they accomplished: a little oasis in the desert, a place full of life with many birds and other wild animals. Around it is mainly almond monoculture.
They are now specialised in alternative building solutions and work everywhere in Greece.
Now they are starting an Eco village. This was my mission there as an ESC volunteer.

What exactly is an ESC volunteer?

It is a EU exchange program with Erasmus. For short or long term, for 18 – 30 years old. You can get refunded your travel ticket and get pocket money (150e in Greece). I did a short term ESC for 24 days. You actually don´t have to be a student to do this.

How many ESC volunteers were staying there at this time?

We were 15 ESC volunteers from all over Europe and also 30 Youth Exchange which is another Erasmus program. In total we were 60 but this was exceptional. The others were here to learn and take classes as PDC or to follow workshops about ECO building.
It was amazing what we can do with so many people together in a few days.

What did you actually build?

A kiosk for the village with an oven, a grill, a meeting point with benches for the village nearby. It was nice to help the local community and build a place for sharing and exchanging. After my stay I got a “Youth Pass certificate” for eco-building and permaculture.

clem cob

What building techniques did you use?

Stone foundation and wood structure. For the walls we used cob, a mix of sand, straw, clay and water. To make it waterproof we used lime and marble powder. It is all natural alternative techniques with local materials.

How was the accommodation?

I arrived with my van. The others were in tents since it was the beginning of the project for the village. They had an amazing huge outdoor kitchen all equipped to make delicious vegan food for everybody. Also dry toilets and a showers. In the food forest nearby they had beautiful cob houses where we could chill and enjoy the shadow.

clem cob

What did you do during free time?

Mostly resting and relaxing. It was during summer so it was hot. But free time activities included waterfall hike, camping at the beach, visit of Meteora and Mount Olympus which is nearby. I was moving around with others in my van. It was also possible to take the bus or hitchhike (this was working very well in the area!)

What was for you the most interesting about your stay there?

It was to realise that with many people we can build everything we want in a sustainable way. I learned a lot about eco construction techniques. It was a great experience to live in a community with so many people from different countries (13 nationalities and 13 different English accents). To get to know each other and work together. I was happy to see that our generation regardless to which countries is sensitive to environmental issues. Our common point was to experiment how to live with nature and natural elements.

And what did you do after COB?

I wanted to see other projects in Greece, on a smaller scale. In COB – Building with earth they recommended me to Dio Pigadia in South Peloponnese. I am now doing a long term ESC program there.

What others think about us

  • Avatar We learn as we wander ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    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 Marjal Sykora ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    Dio Pigadia is a very beautiful place between olive trees. The month we was there was the best time of our trip through Greece and south europe. Jules … More is very friendly and he work at this project with all his possibilities and love. Also it was nice to known all the nice people and this way of life. I can tell recommend to go to this place and this people and see how life can work in a good way.
    Thanks for this experience Jules
    P. S. you should try the comfortable compost toilet ;) it's perfect.
  • Avatar gil jarus ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    Such a lovely place! We stayed for three nights and felt home, the atmosphere is peaceful and welcoming, we were invited to help ourselves with everything … More the farm yields - vegetables, greens and eggs. the volunteers were friendly, and Jules hosted us so nicely, he showed us around the farm and kindly explained about the ways he operate the farm and the permaculture approach, he gave us so much knowledge with such a big smile, it was a pleasure!
  • Avatar Lucas Bonnier-Kulik ★★★★★ 5 months ago
    I spent approximately 2 months alongside Jules and many other volunteers and it was for me one of my deepest experience I've never had. You live, … More learn, practice as if it was your family, your shared project that you support, a return to a sober living.
    Thank you for all, I'll never forget. Kiss
  • Avatar Louise Olgiati ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    Had an amazing time at Dio Pigadia volunteering for 6 weeks. It was great to learn about gardening and permaculture, and to be part of such a welcoming … More community !
  • Avatar Séréna Duthilleux Giamoukis ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    A magical place with amazing people, Dio Pigadia feels like a second home, and I can’t wait to be back!
  • Avatar Jonas P. ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    A little paradise and a source of creativity. This place has a beautiful spirit as well as awesome human beings and animals. You have to visit it!
  • Avatar R Bungener ★★★★★ 10 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 Antonia Rappert ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    Truly a special place. There's a lot to learn from this place, a bunch of warm people and many great ideas of how to live together in a sustainable … More (ecological & social) way. I really liked volunteering during the olive harvest, I still often think about the feeling of waking up and feeding the animals first thing in the morning before having breakfast and starting the day together with everyone. Greetings from Bonn :)
  • Avatar Jade Da Silva ★★★★★ 7 months ago
    I've worked as a volunteer last autumn (sorry Jules it took me a long time to write a little review, but better late than never:-) It's a unique … More place in which you will be able to help a common project that makes so much sense nowadays and be part of a family. If you are curious, motivated, eager to exchange and share experiences/knowledge and you want to add a little be of you in this amazing project then go for it. You will discover the pleasure of living the slow life and go back to the essential. I wish with all my heart to come back to this little haven of peace !