Daily Life and Basic Needs

What is daily life like at Tärkkilä?

Tärkkilä project is still in the very beginning. So far there is only one person fully committed to the project, others are still coming and going, getting to know the place. So there is no permanent community yet. Our volunteers thus are part of a small ”family”.

Our intention is to host three long term (minimum stay 1 month) volunteers from beginning of May until end of September. On bed is reserved for shorter visits. Volunteers and visitors with own accommodation may be accepted any time.

We apply inclusive sociocratic decision making methods, so our daily routines may differ according to the common decisions of the group.

Volunteers are invited to work 6 hours per day. We trust volunteers take care of themselves not to overwork though sometimes the host might be tempted to do so.

Proposal for daily rhythm:
7-8 yoga/meditation
8.30-9 light breakfast
9-11 morning session
11-12 lunch with proteins
12-14 second session
14-14.30 afternoon tea
14.30 – 16.30 third session
18.00 dinner with carbohydrates
22 silence

Sundays are days off, but Saturdays we work half a day and heat up the sauna. Also the day before full moon and the day after new moon we may decide to take things a bit easy, sing, play, dance… We use moon calendar also to plan the work and annual celebrations.

Participants should be adaptable as our needs are seasonal and ever-evolving. We also take turns preparing and cleaning up after meals and all participants are expected to contribute.

During time off you can go for a swim in the lake, go fishing, hiking or biking, take out the rowing boat or canoe (or kayak if daring enough capsize it), take our dog for a run, do yoga, dance, jump on the trambolin, balance on a slackline, make art, carve wood or make other handicraft with natural materials like birch bark or willow, build your own shelter, sit by the fire, play music, or simply relax in a hammock with a good book from our library.

Where will I sleep?

We have one room for four volunteers. It is possible to build a lean-to or clear some private are at the attic (no heating). You can also bring along your own tent or van.

Can I have a double bed/private room for my partner and myself?

For participants, it depends on the season, how many people are here and what we have available.

How are the toilets?

We are proud of our terra preta -urinals and humanure compost toalets. Easy to use and maintain. We literally can take care of our own shit! And in a clever way. Toilets are placed in the old barn. During night time you may use some kind of a chamber pot if too lazy to walk across the yard. But please do not waste precious nitrogen up in the air and down to the waters by peeing around: we fix it with carbon by fermenting and offer it to the little creatures below the surface to make permanently fertile soil!

Please note: in terra preta only urine and green leaves

What do I do about my monthly cycle?

For those with a menstrual cycle, we recommend the DIVA/Moon cup (empty in humanure, preferably not in terra preta!) or reusable pads. If you do bring tampons or pads, please take care that they will be taken to the sorting center with other rubbish.

How do I wash my clothes?

Mostly we hand-wash our clothes in the sauna and dry them in the sun. Possibility to use a machine sometimes at our neighbors place.

What kind of cosmetics/toiletries can I bring to the farm?

You are invited to learn some natural recipes to produce your own cosmetics and washing solutions. Please bring along only biodegradable/organic cosmetics/toiletries. As a general rule it is never good to put anything ON your body that you wouldn’t put IN your mouth. Please keep in mind that whatever we put on our bodies becomes a part of our land. So no regular sun-protectives, bug sprays or other poisons in Tärkkilä, thank you!

Is there hot water at the farm?

We can heat water in the sauna, but it is also possible to build solar-powered showers and hot water collectors. Then, if you time your day right, it’s possible to have a hot shower. Summer weather in Finland is unpredictable. Most of the times the water in the lake is nicely refreshing!

What kinds of farm animals live in Tärkkilä?

We currently have only one dog. Hopefully top bar beehives next summer. Maybe chicken. In future years sheep, goats, cows… maybe.

What kind of wildlife is possible to encounter?

We are blessed with a modest population of black adder around the yard. Sometimes be create kind of open terrario for them to sunbathe without disturbance. We much prefer snakes to rodents and nasty ticks they host. So, please respect our dear friends.

Summer nights are filled with bird sounds and it is not impossible to meet a moose, deers, badger, raccoon dog, foxes, rabbits or even lynx and bear – if you are very lucky. 300 meters of our lake shore is protected habitat of flying squirrel, but they are active only during the night and masters of hiding.

Expectations, Community and Participation

What do you grow at Tärkkilä?

We are a permaculture farm gradually evolving to a forest garden. We are replanting the forest in a way that creates abundance for human and non-human animals, microorganisms, plants, trees, and mycelia. The gardens that supplement our diets are incredibly important and ever-expanding.

So what do we grow? We grow fruit and nut-bearing trees and vines. We grow diverse orchards full of nitrogen-fixers. We grow valuable habitat for wildlife. We grow greens, spices, vegetables and legumes. But most of all, we are focused on growing healthy soil to support biodiversity, a healthy ecosystem, and a healthy human culture. We harvest wild herbs, berries and mushrooms.

All farming in Tärkkilä is based on recognition! It is important not to weed or scythe a plant you do not know.

What kind of building projects are going on during summer 2019?

The biggest building project at the moment is the sauna cottage by the lake. Most likely we combine two old log buildings and use cob between to minimize work. We will also build some greenhouses from old windows. There is a summer kithcen area under construction as well. Plus to these there are endless possibilities to build: bridges over the stream, lean-tos, rainwater systems, tiny houses, stone paths and stairs… possible to take create your own project in resonans with our permaculture plan.

What is expected of me as a participant?

As a volunteer, you will be expected to work six hours per day. We share meal responsibilities throughout the week so sometimes you will be expected to cook and clean up after meals. You are also expected to contribute to community cleaning. We have a lot of projects going on here and always appreciate motivated individuals that are able to plug in, contribute where it’s needed, and help get the job done.

What is it like to live in Tärkklä? Will I fit in?

We welcome anyone open-minded, hard-working, and interested in living sustainably. Living together can be an empowering and educational experience. We live and work in close quarters with each other, share meals, living spaces, and responsibilities. It’s important to understand how to work as a team, communicate clearly and maturely, be respectful of differences, and take responsibility for yourself and your role within the community. Respect the personal space of others, clean up after yourself, ask permission first, and talk to people, not about them.

In Tärkkilä you are becoming a part of a community and it’s important to recognize what that means. We are actively exploring and creating an alternative way of living. We like visitors to engage as much as possible and understand that they are a part of the project, not just working for it.

Can I bring my children? Is Tärkkilä family-friendly?

Children are welcome! However, we expect parents/caretakers to be fully present with their children and responsible for their safety. Please keep in mind that there are poisonous snakes and stinging insects around. Do not leave your child unattended. Please specify on your application if you are bringing children with you.

Will my religion/culture/sexual orientation/gender identity be accepted at Tärkkilä?

We welcome and value diversity and people of all backgrounds.

Can I become permanent residet in Tärkkilä?

It is certainly possible. Come visit for a while and let’s get to know one another!

I am a student. Can my time at VerdEnergia count for school credit?

Well motivated students are certainly welcome. You will have to get details from your school to us and we would be happy to oblige if we can. We are looking to build partnerships with universities and other educational systems.

What to Bring

What kind of clothes do I need to bring?

rubber boots or other working boots (we have only some extra)
rain protection (we have some extra, but not all sizes)
comfortable working clothes
Lightweight long-sleeve shirts for work (Short-sleeves are fine but long-sleeves protect from grass, sun, and insects)
Lightweight long pants (just old jeans from a second-hand store work great
Lightweight/summer casual clothes
Good quality work socks (woollen socks are best with rubber boots!)

Please keep in mind that it’s a good idea not to bring any irreplaceable or extremely nice clothes. Natural materials work best.

Summer nights are light, but towards the end of August it would be good to have a flashlight or headlamp with rechargeable batteries or preferably USB-cable.
A notebook and pen for journaling and taking notes might be a good idea
Biodegradable/Organic Soaps/Sunscreen
Your medication
Travel insurance/an emergency fund in cash (~300€).

Do I need to bring my own sheets/pillow/blanket/towel?

All beddings and towels are provided, but if you wish to go hiking overnight, it might be a good idea to bring a sleeping bag: our extras are old fashion and a bit heavy.

Can I bring any extra things to help out Tärkkilä?

Our needs are always changing so please ask before you come if you have extra room in your suitcase!

Food and Allergies

Will I be well-fed? What kind of food do you eat?

We eat from our land as much as possible and purchase extra food each week. Daily meals are usually mostly vegan or vegetarian with plenty of wild or farm-fresh greens, berries and veggies. Occasionally we might have fish or meat to eat.

I’m a vegetarian/vegan/have a food allergy! Will I have acceptable food to eat?

Yes. We try to be as understanding of different food habits as possible. Plenty of vegetarians, vegans and people with food allergies stay here and have acceptable food to eat. Just make sure to communicate your needs and preferences when you arrive.

What do I do about snacks?

Most of the time there is at least bread to munch between meals if you get hungry. If you bring you own snacks, try to keep plastic waste (wrappers and such) to a minimum.

Financial Information

volunteer: minimum stay 4 weeks, deposit 100€ returned after 4 weeks

paying learner: 10€/day + volunteering

guest: 30€/day + occasional kitchen duty

Can I get a discount on my stay?

The longer you stay, the more skills you will learn and the more valuable of a participant you will become. We cannot afford to subsidize your stay without meeting you and seeing what you are truly capable of first. Participants are expected to pay their full deposit upon their arrival.

We are looking for dedicated, long-term interns/potential community members. If you are interested in building your home and living here, let us know and come try it out!

What happens to my money if I have to leave early?

For example: if you were originally planning on staying for four weeks but have to leave unexpectedly after one week, we would refund you 30€.

If I decide not to join though I have already paid, can I get my deposit back?

If you cancel less than three weeks before the agreed arrival, we will return only half of your payment, othervice full refund.

Where are the nearest shops and other services?

The nearest shopping possibilities, banks, bars and library are about 8 km away in Jämsänkoski – close enough to go by bike. There is also an outdoor museum of traditional culture. 16 km away in Jämsä there is more special shops, cinema and a nice cafe serving raw cakes, gluten free food, smoothies etc.

How much spending money should I bring?

It depends on your habits and what you want to buy. It is possible to bring barely any extra money at all and live comfortably. But if you want to buy snacks, rides to town, etc. you will want to bring extra to allow that.

Does Tärkkilä accept donations?

Yes! Please contact us via email for details.

Medical Precautions and Safety

I have a medical condition, will I be okay?

This is something that you will have to gauge for yourself as only you know your own body. Please let us know if you have any health concerns, allergies, dietary needs or use medication that we should know about.

Will I be safe? What do I need to know about staying safe in forest?

Act with common sense, listen to your body, and be respectful of wildlife and you will be fine. Animals in Finnish forests usually sense you and run away long before you notice anything.

We have medicinal plants and a first aid kit here, but you should always be prepared and maintain responsibility for your own health. There are ticks, poisonous snakes and stinging insects.

Does Tärkkilä recommend that I purchase travel insurance?

If you do not have European health insurance card, we recommend that you purchase travel insurance OR bring ~300€ to set aside in case of emergencies. Please be aware that we are not legally responsible for you while you are here.

What is the alcohol/substance policy at the farm?

Thank you for respecting our free will to live in a drug and alcohol free surrounding. If substance abuse becomes a problem for individuals while at Tärkkilä, they will be asked to leave.

What is the smoking policy at the farm?

We have designated smoking area. Please be mindful of others. We ask you to collect your butts.

What is the cleaning policy at the farm?

Everyone is expected to contribute to maintaining a clean and comfortable communal environment. Please don’t leave personal items in common areas. Take care of everything you use and put items back where you found them. If you make a mess, clean it up. We have regular “cleaning parties” where everyone picks a chore and deep cleans the common areas. We emphasize personal as well as collective accountability and ask that everyone pitch in.

You are also responsible for keeping your private living space clean and tidy.

What is the electricity policy?

We ask everyone to be mindful and conserve electricity as much as possible. We are currently not connected to the grid but on a sunny day our solar panel provides enough to charge laptops and mobiles.

Is there internet access?

There is internet access – unless it’s too cloudy to charge the device. If necessary it is possible to charge devices at the library in Jämsänkoski.

Are there quiet hours at Tärkkilä?

Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 7 am.

How are conflicts resolved at Tärkkilä?

Because we live and work together as a community, conflicts occasionally arise. We use talkin circles and if needed we invite a facilitator from an other ecovillage.

Transportation and Surrounding Area

What is there to do in the surrounding area near Tärkkilä?

We are lucky to be so far removed from the harms of civilization and blessed to have so much beautiful forest surrounding us. Nearby there is nice hiking routes, a protected area to study old forests, a wooden tipi and a lean-to to to take rest or even to stay overnight.

Within 50-60 km there is a communal permaculture farm, two ecovillages and antroposophic commune that also welcome volunteers and it might be possible sometimes to pay a visit.

Is it easy to get on and off the farm?

We have some bikes for volunteers to use. During summertime public transportation is next to nothing, but you might be lucky if you hitchhike. Usually we go shopping or pick up volunteers at least once a week and it is possible to join.

How do I get to Tärkkilä?

We can arrange rides from Jämsä or Jämsänkoski. Please be in close communication in the days before your arrival.