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Sunseed Stories, Volunteer Stories
Sign welcoming new arrivals.

Arriving at Sunseed is an amazing experience filled with excitement at the opportunities that the project offers. The landscape is breath taking in its dryness but the valley of Rio Aguas is a green oasis. People are friendly and welcoming and there is so much going on and so much to see and learn.
Arrival can also be a little overwhelming. The other people seem to know exactly how everything works, and often they are already close friends, with a history of their time at Sunseed together. There is a lot to take in, most of it is incredibly positive and exciting, but it’s also normal to feel unsure or uncomfortable for a little while. There are things that will take more time to get used to, maybe it’s the compost loo, or sharing space with many other people, or the work hours and intensity.

Due to the nature of the project there is a continuous stream of people arriving, this means that there are hundreds of people who share this experience. We’ve all been in the same position of arriving at Sunseed, we all know how great it is and we have all had to adjust to the Sunseed way of life, we all know how intense Sunseed can be, especially in the beginning.

The street through Los Molinos Del Rio Aguas to Sunseed Desert Technology

First weeks at Sunseed will vary and each experience is unique. For instance, Peter, our Communications Coordinator, helped to collect drinking water before he had even arrived at Sunseed. After the bus ride from Almeria to Sorbas, he was picked up on the way to collect water. An extra drive and then filling the huge bottles with fresh water at the beautiful spring in a nearby village, and eventually carrying them from the carpark down Los Molinos main street to Sunseed, is a pretty unique way to arrive. Peter says that he got to know the people who had picked him up, he’d had a chance to ask them all of his questions about Sunseed while they filled the bottles and he felt that spending one on one time with them helped him feel like he was a part of the community. As did the Wednesday general tour of the property, which gave him an overview of the layout and departments.

Leon, Sustainable Living and Tech Team Assistant, came for a week in 2018. It was an incredibly busy week, he was working in all of the departments and got involved in workshops and skill exchanges, as well as helping out on some bigger projects, like installing a new water system and working up in the Drylands. He left with a knowledge of the many different ways that one can get a blister, including burning bare feet on hot desert roads. However, he came back this year, committed to be here for a longer time. He says that taking part in a sharing circle a few days into his stay helped him feel more comfortable and he really connected with the people in the circle with him.

For others the change of pace can be really confusing. Working at Sunseed is not like working in a city job. While the work can be really physical and exciting, the pace might seem much slower than a different job. As Sylvia, Education and Gardens Assistant, says that it can take a bit of getting used to. She also found all of the information that is available at Sunseed was sometimes hard to process, but exploring the land and swimming in the poza helped her feel at home in the project.  She now splits her time comfortably between the gardens and the office.

There are things that all of the arrivals will experience during their first week at Sunseed. Things like the welcome tour, where you will be shown the main parts of Sunseed. There are practical things, like getting to know the daily schedule, and putting yourself into the rota (preferably with someone who knows what they are doing and can help you). But there are also those illusive elements that make you feel at home, like meeting people that you connect with, or having something to contribute in the morning circle, or getting to know the land and the poza. Sunseed is an amazing place to arrive and though it might be overwhelming at first there are so many things that make the experience work for everyone.

The beautiful Poza.

Every experience of arrival at Sunseed is different with people finding some parts challenging, and others easier. However, there is a common thread that connects all arrivals and all people living at Sunseed; the community we are building, one person at a time. It is the connections made to the people who are already here when we arrive and those that arrive after us. It is working together for a common goal, it is in the land and learning to live closer to it. The threads that connect all experiences of Sunseed also spread out while we are here when we meet with local people and once we leave the project, to all the people we connect with.


Volunteer Stories

DSC00241Hello future sunseeders,

My name is Dimitra and I’m from Athens, Greece. My experience here has been life-changing, so I wanted to write it down to remember. And then I thought what the heck… I might as well make it public, I can get credit for inspiring a couple of people…

Having visited a community in my island of origin in Greece (who themselves gave a good feedback of this place) I was expecting to go somewhere the same. So, when I arrived in a way I was disappointed. I thought I had more extreme ideas than everyone here and therefore, arrogantly believed there wasn’t much this place could teach me, other than practicalities.

But the reality of staying for six months on location proved to be very different than my initial impressions and taught me many unexpectedly new things as well as provided me with an environment to discover many surprises about myself.


As far as my belief system is concerned, since my environmental ethics were already as strong as it gets, it was more of a personal development gain. I got initiated into the world of female empowerment through learning how we physically function by nature and recognising socially and economically constructed false images about our bodies. This had a huge impact on me. I started seeing my body with its cycle and its needs more as a gift than a burden and became less and less affected by pressures of how I should look, dress, speak and behave. When I arrived I found having to work and live by schedule, really hard and by the time I left, I had not only gotten used to it but consider it a very valuable tool that I implement in my life now even without having to.

I interacted with the most inspirational people of diverse background that its one of them opened my mind to a new view of life. The circumstances gave me time to get to know myself better by observing what does and what doesn’t make me happy and recognise, accept and face problematic patterns within myself and my relationship with others. For example for the first time in my life I realised that being around people all the time is not the ideal for me and I rather prefer a balance between this and spending time by myself reflecting. I had also the space which allowed my creativity to flourish (I am referring to learning how to knit, of course, my latest passion as most people who met me would remember hahahhaha).

Now, concerning the actual low-impact living education… I grew up in an environment where all these kind of alternative happenings seemed as far and foreign as following the plot of your favourite tv series. (Ironically I was even watching a web series about ecovillages named Living in the future.) So, it felt like I was finally at the center of all the action and could see with my own eyes what my ideas practically entail. For sure I had my struggles with the lack of comforts (certain I found unnecessary and others made me proud of getting used to) but no matter my complaints, I believe it was a living far more luxurious than what I’m used to in a capital city. Definitely the community has many defaults and is itself a learning experiment. After all it is created by people and as part it for however long you feel your very own contribution to its shape.

What I most importantly left from there with is the confirmation to myself that this way of life is what makes me happy and the confidence that it can be my reality in the near future. I’m highly motivated now not to let this remain a distant fantasy and to pursue it in similar places all over the world (and possibly Sunseed itself again someday…<3)

DSC00346Dimitra did her internship at Sunseed with the Erasmus placement grant for 6 months between October 2013 and April 2014.

DSC00241Hola futuros residentes de Sunseed,

Me llamo Dimitra y soy de Atenas, Grecia. Mi experiencia aqui me ha cambiado la vida, por lo que quiero escribirla para recordarla. I luego llegué a la conclusion de que podría hacerla publica y a lo mejor inspirar a unas cuantas personas.

Habiendo visitado una comunidad en mi isla de origen en Grecia (que habló bien de este sitio) me esperaba ir a un sitio parecido. Por lo que al llegar estaba un poco decepcionada. Pensé que mis ideas eran mas radicales que las de la gente aquí, por lo que de forma arrogante pensaba que no había mucho que este sitio pudiese enseñarme, aparte de algunos aspectos prácticos.

Pero tras seis meses aquí me di cuenta de era muy diferente de las impresiones iniciales y me enseño muchas cosas nuevas e inesperadas, ademas de darme un sitio en el que me di cuenta de muchas cosas de mi misma que me sorprendieron.


Mi ética medioambiental ya era lo más radical posible, por lo que fue más una experiencia de enriquecimiento personal. Me metí en el mundo del poder femenino a través de aprender sobre como funcionamos físicamente por natura y reconociendo falsas imágenes sociales y económicas del cuerpo. Esto me impactó mucho. Empece a ver los ciclos y necesidades de mi cuerpo mas como un regalo que como un tarea y me empezó a afectarme menos la presión de como debería vestir, hablar y actuar. Al llegar me pareció que trabajar y vivir siguiendo un horario muy difícil, y al irme no solo me había acostumbrado a ello, sino que lo consideraba una herramienta muy útil que me utilizaba ahora en mi día a día aunque no fuese necesario.

Me relacioné con muchas personas increíblemente interesantes y diversas, y una de ellas me abrió los ojos a una nueva forma de ver la vida. Las circunstancias me dieron tiempo para conocerme mejor a mí misma a través de observar que y que no me hace feliz, y reconocer y aceptar formas de actuar problemáticas dentro de mí y en mi relación con otras personas. Por ejemplo por primera vez en mi vida me he di cuenta que estar siempre con otras personas no es lo ideal para mí y prefiero un equilibrio entre pasar tiempo con otra gente y tener algo de tiempo para reflexionar yo sola. Tuve tiempo para ver florecer a mi imaginación (me estoy refiriendo, evidentemente, a hacer punto, mi pasión mas reciente y por lo que la mayoría de la gente que me conoció me recordará).

Relacionado con la educación y forma de vida de bajo impacto, crecí en un sitio en el que todo este tipo de cosas alternativas eran muy comunes. Por lo que me sentí como si estuviese en el centro de la acción y podía ver con mis propios ojos la implicaciones de mis ideas. Aun así tuve problemas con la falta de comodidades, pero independientemente de mis quejas, lo consideraba mas lujoso que la forma de vida a la que estaba acostumbra en la ciudad. La comunidad tiene fallos y es un proyecto en desarrollo. Después de todo es creado por personas e independientemente del tiempo que pases en la comunidad te sientes como que contribuyes a hacerlo lo que es.

Después de la experiencia, me fui con la conclusión de que esta es la forma de vida que me hace feliz y con la sensación de que es una realidad posible en el futuro cercano. Me voy con la motivación de no dejar esto como una fantasía sino como una realidad y en busca de sitios simulares a lo largo del mundo (y posiblemente Sunseed de nuevo en el futuro <3).


Dimitria hizo sus practicas en Sunseed con el programa de Erasmus durante seis meses, desde Octubre de 2013 hasta Abril de 2014