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 Didi Stoepman ★★★★★ a week ago
    I spent 3 days as volunteer at Dio Pigadia and it was a memorable experience! It’s amazing how the community runs the farm, educate the newcomers and are … More able to sustain the landscape and all its beauty products in such a nurturing way. The people on the farm are super warm and welcoming, the space is clean, the homemade meals are amazing and everybody is kind in educating about how the farm is operating. Can’t wait to come back!
  • Avatar Soizic Brun ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    Amazing place where you can explore sustainable practices including composting, mulching, wood work, lacto-fermentation, low-technologies... in an interacting … More community. Jules is very willing to share his knowledge with you and explore shared governance. Don't miss this opportunity to live an off-grid experience.
  • Avatar We learn as we wander ★★★★★ a year 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 Soffi Sandkühler ★★★★★ a month ago
    A wonderful farm with wonderful people.
    The vision of the place and the way that they think realistically about permaculture and self sustainability is
    … More inspiring!
    So if you get the chance to go there you should definitely go and enjoy your visit there!
    The area is amazing and the olives trees in combination with the wild see is a dream come true 🤩
  • Avatar Menno ★★★★★ a week ago
    Joke and I had a holiday on the Pelopenesos. We stayed in Pylos and did some hiking and visiting archeological sites. Since our daughter and son in-law … More have a biodynamic vegetable farm in the Netherlands we googled on bio-farm. We had a hit for Dio Pigadia Farm. Perma-culture was the key word here. Since we know something about the filosofie of permaculture we made contact with Jules. We visited the place for a few hours. Warmly welcomed we had a tour around the property with a lot of information and explanation. A really inspiring place where you can really dive into sustainable living in every aspect. Great respect for the people there, who have founded a nucleus with great potency and expectation. Good luck and thank you for your dedication.
    Joke and Menno
  • Avatar Yarden Haik ★★★★★ a month ago
    We’ve stayed for a week in dio pigadia with my family as active guests. Our stay was beyond expectations. Stunning and comfortable place while it brings … More you back to basics. Thanks to the amazing staff and volunteers, we very fast felt part of the community. We highly recommend for a special experience in Peloponnese. All the family will take away something and reconnect with the essential laws of nature.
  • Avatar Yiaei Kasenda ★★★★★ a month ago
    Thank you Jules, Vaso and all the team for your warm welcome! We wish we could have stayed langer. What you people built up there in these few years is … More really amazing and impressively important. Good luck with everything that is yet to come! Can't wait to come back next year :) see you soon!
  • Avatar Willow Horsfall-Munden ★★★★★ a month ago
    An amazing experience with amazing people. We stayed for 2 months, we learnt so much, a place of sharing, enjoyment and caring. Living on the farm, in … More the olive trees, under the sun!
  • Avatar Marjal Sykora ★★★★★ 11 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 ★★★★★ 11 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!