Newsletter Subscribe

Follow Us On Twitter - Image

 

ECOCLUB.com Rating: 3.6 out of 5ECOCLUB.com Rating: 3.6 out of 5
 

ECOCLUB.com Rating Explained: The first 5 sections of this application each correspond to the 5 ECOCLUB.com Criteria for Ecological & Socially Just Tourism

The maximum rating score we can award in each section is 5, and the minimum 1. When a criterion is fully met in our view we award 5 suns, when it is nearly met 4 suns, when it is partly met 3 suns, when it is not at all met but effort is being made to meet it 2 suns and when we feel that it is not at all met and no effort is being made to meet the specific criterion, 1 sun and when we feel that the the specific criterion is being directly violated by the operation 0 suns. You may add a comment with improvement suggestions to the Lodge at the bottom of the page. For detailed information on the free ECOCLUB.com Rating System please see here.

Name of Property (Country): "Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm & Guesthouse" (Greece)

Website:

http://www.eumelia.com

Satellite Map:

Lodge Address: Near the village of Gouves, Laconia, Peloponnese, Greece

Number of Rooms:

10 Rooms (15 Beds)

Minimum & Maximum Double Room Rates:

Euros 90 to 110

Name of Applicant (Occupation & Role in relation to property):

Frangiskos Karelas (Owner,  Founder, Director)
Year of Construction  2007-2009
Date of first operation: 1 October 2009

Rated on:

16 October 2012
1. POLITICAL CRITERIA:  Rating:  4 out of 5

 

1a. Who is/are the legal owner(s) of the Lodge? (please state official name if owned by a company)

The owner of the Lodge is a company -Homeodynamic Development. S.A. - which was founded exclusively for the purpose of embracing Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm & Guesthouse. The company belongs to the family, shareholders are Frangiskos Karelas and his mother Christina.

 

1a: Map of Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm & Guesthouse1a: Map of Eumelia Organic Agrotourism Farm & Guesthouse

 

1b. Who is/are the legal manager(s) of the Lodge?

Mr Frangiskos Karelas

 

1b. Frangiskos Karelas, the founder and owner of Eumelia1b. Frangiskos Karelas, the founder and owner of Eumelia

 

1c. Since when has the facility been under the current ownership & management?

Since the beginning of its operation in 2009 when the premise was completed.

 

1d. If owned by a family, since when has the family been residing in the area, and for how many months each year?

The land belonged to my great grandfather, Michalis Gramatikakis who was doctor and Mayor of a nearby village -St. Dimitrios- and who owned the land since the 1890’s.

 

1e. How are decisions taken and by whom? (Please provide details)

Frangiskos Karelas is the primary decision maker. However there is a team of 6 young internationally educated well-travelled people of different industries and who together operate like a “think tank” helping Frangiskos make decisions by voluntarily providing ideas primarily as far as strategy, technologies and know-how as well as moral. They also offer their ideas in general as their interests are similar to Frangiskos’ and they also come from a place of genuine interest and concern for the environment, sustainable development, human rights, ethical ways of business development, organic farming. They work like a Board of Directors only on a friendly basis and as volunteers with no economic benefits what-so-ever. As far as daily decisions, the staff is also often involved.

 

1f. Who has access to the Lodge's facilities and its land and for what uses?

All the facilities are accessible to anyone who is interested to visit including local community members. So, besides the owner and the staff, the facilities have open access to anyone who wants to see the land, the facilities, the organic farm, take a walk around it, so it would be anyone from locals, friends, tourists, daily visitors, customers, etc. In fact, as far as access to the local community goes, locals are particularly encouraged to get involved. From this fall the local school system of Evrotas will be sending their schools at Eumelia for training on environmental issues and technology, recycling and sustainable living. 

 

1f. Walking tour around the farm for the 2nd Highschool of Agioi Anargyroi (Attica). The school visited Eumelia on a day trip.1f. Walking tour around the farm for the 2nd Highschool of Agioi Anargyroi (Attica). The school visited Eumelia on a day trip.

 

1g. Who took the initiative to build this Lodge?

Frangiskos Karelas took the initiative to build this Lodge. This whole idea sprang up out of Frangiskos pure interest for the environment, environmental technology, human rights, sustainable development, ethical ways to create and develop businesses, alternative organic cultivation methods, his love for Greece and his deep relationship with the Lakonia land. This is how the idea of an alternative lodging facility and multi-space created in an organic farm came.

 

1h. Which is the nearest local community (village or town) and how far is it from the lodge (in Km)?

The nearest community is the village of Gouves about 2.5 km from Eumelia. 

 

1i. Did the (nearest) local community participate in the decision-making process concerning the founding and creation of this Lodge and how?

No, they did not.

 

1j. Does the (nearest) local community participate in the running of the lodge and how?

Not in the running per se, however we have established relationships-friendships with local professionals and so we work with local guides in the area who do walking tours and trekking trips, local crafts people, local farmers, and sheep herders.

 

1k. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?

We are delighted that the community has been welcoming and supportive of us and our efforts. It is worth noting that anyone from the local community who has visited us including the Mayor (of Evrotas), or otherwise has come into contact with us has been positive and supportive of what we do. The Mayor, Ioannis Gripiotis, visited Eumelia and was truly enthused. We have transferred information regarding the natural waste management system (reed bed) and we will help them implement the project for a village of 400 people again with no financial transaction between us and the municipality. We also have shared our vision for a municipality, of organic farmers, alternative energy, preventive and homeopathic medicine as well as alternative methods of education. It was far beyond his expectation what we do here and since then he has been a fervent supporter. He promised he will support it and cooperate in Eumelia’s pioneering ideas. Among the things the Mayor has done and is doing since are: (a) he brought as a gift 5 sets of recycling bins for separation one set for each apartment house this way emphasizing how important he believes it is and encouraging Eumelia’s efforts. (b) he promised he will fix the already existing rural road of the last 1.5 km getting to the Lodge thus making access to Eumelia easier for schools and the transportation of students so that Eumelia undertakes the environmental education for the Municipality’s schools. By fixing we mean adding more pressed soil on top of the existing road-because now it is rather rocky. (c) the Mayor wants us to act as consultants to him and his team for environmental issues and wants to have our knowhow regarding waste management in particular, an area in which we have an expertise; (d) among the Mayor’s interests is bringing together young farmers and encouraging them towards organic farming and other natural ways of farming that are easier on not harmful to the environment and wants our Lodge to become a hub.

 

Evrotas is one of the first municipalities in Greece that will separate at the source, we have 4 different bins, 1. organic material, 2. paper 3. metal, plastic & glass, 4. All non recyclables. Then it is taken and packed in an area of the municipality and then sent to recycling companies.

 

We do not receive any funds for the training to the schools and we do not charge. We have material on the recycling program of the municipality and we share this information through an experiential manner with the younger children. The rest of the training is done by Frangiskos, who through his experience in the last 8 years of creating the farm has created a holistic program and aproach, through teaching, discussion experiential aproach and sing the farm as a live example.

 

 

 

1k. Separation bins for the recycling. They arrived last week (September 2012). They still need to be labeled for what each bin accepts. The Mayor will send us the labels too.1k. Separation bins for the recycling. They arrived last week (September 2012). They still need to be labeled for what each bin accepts. The Mayor will send us the labels too.

 

 

2. ECONOMIC CRITERIA -  Rating:  3 out of 5

2a. Number of rooms:

10 (Ten)

 

2b. Number of beds:

15 (Fifteen)

 

2c. What is the total area of the land of the property?

20 Hectares (200,000 square metres)

 

2d. What is the total covered area of the Lodge including rooms and common areas (in sq. metres)?

The total covered area of the Lodge including rooms and common areas is 540 square metres.

 

2e. What is the total building footprint (in sq. metres) – i.e. part of the land covered by buildings

600 sq. meters.

 

2f. How many employees are there (excluding yourself and members of the family)?

total: 3 (three)

of which:

full-time: 3
part-time: 0
interns: 0
volunteers: So far in the last three years of operation we had about 20 per year who come for a few days at a time depending on the project. There were volunteers from Australia.

 

2f2. Michalis another member of our staff taking care of the animals.2f2. Michalis another member of our staff taking care of the animals.

 

2g. How many employees are from the (nearest) local village?

All (3) are from the nearby village.

 

2h. If applicable, do employees or the community own any shares or share part of the revenue?

At the moment no employees own shares and we have not been making profits so far. In the future, and when we grow and are profitable, we shall see.

 

2i. What was the total turnover (total sales) in 2011? (please state in your local currency)

Euros 20,000

 

2j. What were the total profits in 2011?

We generated no profits last year. We are still setting the grounds for Eumelia to grow.

 

2k. How are profits distributed, and who decides about it?

The sole owner for now is Frangiskos Karelas and there have been no profits yet.

 

2l. Are there any national and local taxes to be paid or are you exempt?

Yes property taxes and VAT taxes are paid (both local and national).

 

2m. What was the total amount of taxes paid in 2011?

Euros 5,000

 

2n. What percentage of consumables are locally sourced, how many are nationally sourced, and how many are imported?

A good 90 percent (a guesstimate) of what we consume comes from the local area, a 7 percent of it comes from elsewhere in the country (nationally sourced), and a 3 percent is from abroad (internationally sourced) including some special cheeses and food items and some of the natural cleaning products. 

 

2o. Do you cultivate food for the guests?

Yes, a main part of our facility is an organic farm. We have organic produce gardens, olive trees, grape vines, almond trees and more that we develop further each year. All organic. This is one of our favourite projects. We are inspired by the Greek land, its fertility, its history and its spirit. We apply homodynamic and biodynamic cultivation techniques. Homeodynamc farming is considered the development of the biodynamic farming, the specific people of homeodynamic farming believe that there are more complex issues today then there were 90 years ago when biodynamic farming begun to be practiced. Thus they created other products to address these issues. We try to have most of our fresh produce cultivated within the organic farm. And we are developing our farm further every year. Our farm produce is certified organic by the DIO (ΔΗΩ) organisation.

 

2o1: A small part of our organic grape vines surrounded by olive trees and baby almond trees2o1: A small part of our organic grape vines surrounded by olive trees and baby almond trees

 

2o2:  A small part of our olive gardens. These olives have been there since at least the late 1800s. Some of them, about a hundred, are over 200 years old.2o2: A small part of our olive gardens. These olives have been there since at least the late 1800s. Some of them, about a hundred, are over 200 years old.

 

2o3: Certified organic by the DIO Organisation2o3: Certified organic by the DIO Organisation

 

2p. Do you have any agreements with local producers?

Yes, we have agreements with a local soap maker that uses our organic olive oil to make soaps, while we also have shepherds feeding their flocks off our fields and give us yogurt and cheese in return.

 

2p: Photo of the local soap maker shop2p: Photo of the local soap maker shop

 

2q. Have ever you received any funding, state, national, private or international and for what purposes?

Yes, we received EU funding, as per our project being a Prototype/Model project for the region. It was the “Leader” where we received 245,000 Euros, an amount that allowed us to build most of our facility.

 

2r. What is the minimum (low season) double room rate (including breakfast) per room per night?

We have a standard price of 110 Euros per double room all year round which however goes down for groups whereby we do group rates (90 Euros for double room most of the time including with 2 to 3 meals depending on their needs) when there are retreats and seminars taking place such as yoga, cooking, self-work, energy healing etc. and when there are visits from schools, athletic clubs, and other groups.

 

2s. What is the maximum (high season) double room rate (including breakfast) per room per night?

The maximum price that we charge is 110 Euros.

 

2t. Are you planning to sell the property within the foreseeable future, and if so why?

 

No, there are no such plans. To the contrary, there is a dream and a long term plans behind the building and founding of this facility and farm. And part of it is that it remains in the current ownership primarily to safeguard the intentions and the purpose of it.


2u. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?

I love this land and project. The land belongs to my family for over 120 years now. I have a vision and built these facilities with a long-term plan in mind. I want to develop it further and see it flourish and grow. I envision Eumelia being a light house for all the great things such as Greek culture and spirit, fresh quality organic produce, a respect for the human being and a respect in the environment and nature. I envision Eumelia being a “model”, a “prototype” in other words an example for all the great things that humans and esp. Greeks can do. This is a place where the newest most pioneering ideas in environmental technology, In alternative energy sources, and organic farming cultivation methodologies are applied and tried. I envision Eumelia to serve as a playground for these and as a place where we can inspire, teach and train people in all of that. We bring and will bring more, scientists and pioneers from abroad who can show us new techniques and methods, or old ones that are being rediscovered and re-appreciated. We plan on being in the forefront of developments in our field.

 

3. ENVIRONMENTAL CRITERIA -  Rating:  4 out of 5

3a. Lodge Siting (how was the lodge location chosen):

The only criterion was that we wanted not to remove any olive trees. And this part of the land had no trees. And thus no trees were removed. In fact trees were planted and are being planted still.

 

3b. Policy followed during construction:

The policies followed during construction were primarily the use of Ecological building materials and human friendly materials and no use of chemical substances nor any non-ecological building materials. Also, ecological technologies were built and incorporated in the project, like geothermal heating and cooling, recycling waste water were built and are being run. About 70 per cent of the building materials was of local origin, 29 % were of national and 1 per cent was international.

 

3b: This is a picture of the inside of one of our apartment houses where all materials are natural, wooden roof construction, natural colorings, natural beddings and sofas (from Cocomat), all cotton and wool linens and carpets, wooden furniture, etc3b: This is a picture of the inside of one of our apartment houses where all materials are natural, wooden roof construction, natural colorings, natural beddings and sofas (from Cocomat), all cotton and wool linens and carpets, wooden furniture, etc

 

3c. Policy followed during renovation and/or maintenance:

We have not had any renovations yet as the buildings are new. As far as maintenance goes, no chemical are used. All detergents used (Planet which is made in Greece, and Ecover which is imported from Belgium) are eco-friendly.

 

3d. Lighting:

We use LED technology lights (3-5 watt lights) and low consumption bulbs (7-9 watt, lead free)

 

3d1: LED spotlights in the common area.3d1: LED spotlights in the common area.

 

3d2: Low consumption bulbs in the rooms3d2: Low consumption bulbs in the rooms

 

3e. Heating:

We use geothermal energy. The geothermal heating and cooling system works with a pipe system in the floor of the houses as well as the internal side of the outside walls of the buildings connected to a geothermal heat pump (yellow machine in the picture) sourced from a water well. The heat pump is connected to electricity and uses 75% less electricity or petroleum to cool and heat our buildings.

 

3e & 3f: This is the Geothermal energy set up system whereby it uses underground waters from a natural well3e & 3f: This is the Geothermal energy set up system whereby it uses underground waters from a natural well

 

3f. Cooling:

As above, we use geothermal energy.

 

3g. Cleaning:

All the cleaning products that are used in Eumelia are eco-friendly and organic products.

 

3h. Water Management:

 

we have (a) special eco-faucets which create pressure that increase airflow in the water thus decreasing the amount of water spent;

(b) we have installedtoilet flusher that have two buttons for more or less water usage per flush;

(c) within the year, we plan to create a natural swimming pond where we will collect rainwater (this will create a natural wet land and a home for birds). We have a lot more in our plans. (please, see below in 3j. regarding water reuse-recycling)

 

3i. Cooking:

We cook foods out of the local Greek cuisine, using organic products from the farm and the area.

 

3i: Our organic vegetable garden3i: Our organic vegetable garden

 

3j. Waste management (in detail please):

We use a natural waste management - roots system (the canes method - with canes and sand) to recycle both our ‘grey’and ‘black’waters. The liquids go through the sand and canes that cleanses them, are used to water the trees.

 

Recycling, the local government picks up our recycling and we separate at the source between plastic-glass, aluminium, organic waste and paper. Actually the municipality here is one of the very few in Greece that does separation at the source. (Please refer to picture 1k in section 1)

 

Composting- We use the composting method for all our organic waste. No food is wasted as any cooked food that we can spare goes to feed our chicken. 

 

3j1:  (a) back left: our own nursery we do seed planting and seedling creation, (b) back right: raised beds/ raised gardens (c) middle: our compost3j1: (a) back left: our own nursery we do seed planting and seedling creation, (b) back right: raised beds/ raised gardens (c) middle: our compost

 

3j2: These are the constructed underground barrels that collect all grey and black waters and filter the waters to the roots and sand location right nearby while they keep the solids. When a barrel fills up stays for two years to dry up and then the solids are used to fertilize trees.3j2: These are the constructed underground barrels that collect all grey and black waters and filter the waters to the roots and sand location right nearby while they keep the solids. When a barrel fills up stays for two years to dry up and then the solids are used to fertilize trees.

 

3j3: This is the sand and roots system where the grey waters are taken through and this is where they are naturally filtered before they are used for watering trees. From here they go automatically to water trees.3j3: This is the sand and roots system where the grey waters are taken through and this is where they are naturally filtered before they are used for watering trees. From here they go automatically to water trees.

 

3k. Insect, pest control:

We do not use any chemicals. We have cats that do pest control. We try not to invade into nature. We do not control the cat population by neutering. Animals have been next to humans for thousands of years, it is in our philosophy not to intervene in nature as much as possible we are in a rural land and nature takes care of things just like it would without human interference.

 

3k: Two of our five cats. Our natural pest control!3k: Two of our five cats. Our natural pest control!

 

3l. Energy Sources, Use & Saving Measures:

 

The houses are built in an eco-friendly way where they have:

(a) thick insulation (thus keeping cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter),

(b) bio-climatic design (natural ventilation with many small windows up high that we open for the hot air that rises to go out and fresh to come in),

(c) inclination of shade shutters that keeps heat out,

(d) the North-South direction of the houses that lets the winds naturally cool the houses. Additionally,

(e) all our lights are LED technology or/and low Watt consumption lighting, (photo LED)

(f) geothermal energy reduces the consumption of energy for heating and cooling by 75%. In the near future we plan on having solar energy, too.

 

3l: Many small windows for ventilation up top3l: Many small windows for ventilation up top

 

3l2: Wooden shutters with natural inclination, keeping the sun and heat out3l2: Wooden shutters with natural inclination, keeping the sun and heat out

 

3m. Noise Protection:

The area is serene and quiet and the farm does not produce any noise except the two dogs that bark!

 

3m: The only noise you hear around the farm: our crazy dogs! Here you see sweet Marinela, one of our staff Members.3m: The only noise you hear around the farm: our crazy dogs! Here you see sweet Marinela, one of our staff Members.

 

3n. Name, population and distance of nearest settlement (in km or miles)?

The nearest community is the village of Gouves, Laconia, which is about 2.5km far and the population is 400 people.

 

3o. Is the Lodge accessible by public transport (such as bus, train, boat)? If yes, please provide instructions from nearest settlement:

 

Yes, the nearest bus station is about 6 km at the Vlahioti village and it is accessible by bus (ΚΤΕΛ).

 

3p. Is the nearest settlement accessible by public transport (such as bus, train, boat)? If yes, please provide instructions from nearest International airport, or nearest major city.

Nearest international airport is Kalamata city airport, which is 2 hours away by bus. Please note that a part of a new highway is expected to finish within the next 6 months which will reduce the time of travel to our location from Athens (the capital) and increase the quality of travel, and reduce the cost.

 

3q. Distance from nearby village / city:

Distance from Gouves (400 people) is 2.5km, distance from Skala (4000 people) is 12 km.

 

3r. Architectural Features:

Aesthetically, our architecture is a modernized version of traditional Greek and Ancient Greek features: (a) We have the ceramic rooftop ("keramidi") in all our buildings that is a traditional Greek architectural feature but we made it more modern by changing the colour from red to yellow thus making it lighter in colour and thus less absorbent of heat. The ceramic material in reality is baked soil/earth, and thus very ecological.  (b) Buildings are healthy with natural ventilation and breathing via the materials that they are made of. (c) The wood is Swedish which as you know it means it is sustainable;  (d) The color of the buildings in deep earthy red ("koniama") is from all natural materials and essential oils, inspired by Ancient Greece.

 

3r: You can see the rooftops at the light yellow colours of ceramic materials, a traditional rooftop only more ecological as it does not absorb as much heat as the dark red.3r: You can see the rooftops at the light yellow colours of ceramic materials, a traditional rooftop only more ecological as it does not absorb as much heat as the dark red.

 

3r2: You can see the red colour and the wood3r2: You can see the red colour and the wood

 

3s. Construction Materials:

Bricks, natural colour plaster

 

3t. Landscape Management:

 

When we began with Eumelia there were mainly olive trees (some of which are over 200 years old) and a few wild pear trees, while there were also herbs among which were oregano, thyme, mint, lavender, St. John’s Wart ("valsamohorto") and even some calendula. What we have been doing has always been by two criteria: we want a) plants that the wider area already grows; b) plants that need less water. And so we plant accordingly. Also, having knowledge of the medical approach of homeopathy, I felt it was necessary to create a farm that was a complex organism just as the human body is and to view the needs of the farm from a holistic point of view. We planted almond trees along with olives trees in order to create a communication that was beneficial to both of them, and we strengthened this dialogue by introducing pine and cypress trees as well as grape vines.Each type brings a positive element that alleviates the stress on a monoculture by introducing organisms beneficial to each other as well as minimizing the risk on a single type from an attack. The herb fields where also designed in a similar way by including plant walls with mixed herbs that brought positive forces as well as introduced the necessary pluralism. In order to support our plants and trees we use homeopathic products created for the use in homeodynamic agriculture a method based on the principals of biodynamic agriculture.

We also planted a few fruit trees (orange, lemon and βερυκοκιες) around the houses.

 

3u: Do you organise or promote tours involving hunting or sport-fishing?

Off course not. We are against hunting and we made a point to express it by putting up signs of Hunting is forbidden around the area on the road that leads to the facility. We are in a constant dialogue with hunters; things have improved dramatically the last 3 years with our presence there full time at Eumelia. Things take time and patience, but people do change and the situation is much better than initially.

 

3u: No Hunting Signpost3u: No Hunting Signpost

 

3v: Do you measure consumption per guest at your lodge? If yes, please explain how, and provide data

We do not calculate consumption per se, but it is our goal to keep consumption per person low. We are referring for example to energy and water. Energy consumption for cooking is also done with alertness to energy consumption. In addition, we do not change guest sheets and towels without their permission and we always ask and share information about our effort to be sustainable and to minimize water consumption and detergents. There are central cards at the houses that when people leave the light turn off on the whole house. Of course we use low watt lighting, special faucets that minimize water consumption.

 

3w. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?

(No).

 

4. SOCIAL CRITERIA -  Rating:  3 out of 5

4a. Do you provide health insurance and pension to your employees?

The wages paid to the staff include the cost for health insurance and pension. The Greek law is such that the staff for jobs of field work- i.e. in agriculture- is that the employees pay themselves their health and pension.

 

4b. Are your employees entitled to paid leave? If so, how many days each year?

Yes, they are entitled to 1 month of paid leave per year.

 

4c. Are your employees entitled to maternity leave? How many months? Is it paid?

Yes, our employees are entitled to 1 year of paid maternity leave.

 

4d. Do you pay your employees above the minimum wage? (Please state minimum wage, and explain)

Minimum wage has been reduced in the last year two or three times. I think it is at 525 euro per month now (Ed. 586 Euros for those above 25, Euros 511 for those under 25). The wages we pay our employees are above the minimum and today they should be 18% above the minimum wage.

 

4e. What is the total you paid for wages last year? (excluding wages paid to yourself and members of your family)

Euros 16,000 (an employee was recently added thus this number will be higher this year)

 

4f. What is the average wage (per annum), the highest wage, and the lowest wage?

8,000 Euros is the average wage. All wages are the same for all the people, they have all started to work almost at the same time so there is no seniority.

 

4g. Average and maximum working day, and work hours per week: 

All three employees work 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week.

 

4h. Do you employ your staff all year round? (If not, please explain arrangement)

Yes, the staff is employed full time 40 hours per week all year round.

 

4h: Michalis, one of our staff members, working with the sheep4h: Michalis, one of our staff members, working with the sheep

 

4i. Do you employ immigrants? Are they offered the same remuneration & benefits?

Yes, we employ immigrants - all our permanent staff are foreigner nationals, permanently living in Greece. They are offered the same remuneration package benefits as all.

 

4j. Do you employ trainees? Please explain what type of tasks they perform, how much they are paid, how many hours do they work and how do you source them?

We have not had any trainees so far but we are open to having trainees in the future and we plan to get in touch with universities for this purpose so we can set up practical training programs.

 

4k. Do you use volunteers? Please explain what tasks they are given?

Yes, we have used volunteers for gardening work, building structures, office work, cooking.

 

4k1: The last volunteers visited in July where a group of Australian women volunteered to do some gardening work4k1: The last volunteers visited in July where a group of Australian women volunteered to do some gardening work

 

4k2: Volunteers picking pears off our organic wild pear trees.4k2: Volunteers picking pears off our organic wild pear trees.

 

4i3: Video Tour of Eumelia prepared by volunteers.

 

 

4l. Do you offer concessions to elderly visitors, students, young visitors, or nationals?

Yes, we have concessions for children and students, whether on their own or in group i.e. schools.

 

4m. Is there infrastructure for people with special needs at your Lodge?

Yes, all our facilities are constructed to facilitate people with movement disabilities.

 

4m: Facilities that accommodate people with movement disabilities - bathroom4m: Facilities that accommodate people with movement disabilities - bathroom

 

4m2: Bathroom sink4m2: Bathroom sink

 

4m3: Wooden board walk facilitates movement around main areas of the Lodge4m3: Wooden board walk facilitates movement around main areas of the Lodge

 

4m4: Ramp4m4: Ramp

 

 

4n. What measures are in place to protect the local (or the indigenous) population from some adverse impacts of tourism?

Does not apply. Our whole effort is created with this in mind to have minimal impact, the structures, the recycling, organic farming no use of pesticides, energy efficient, the farm is isolated away from the village in a farmland. The local population complains that there is not enough tourism and want to come into contact with people. However the model that we want to share with them is the model we use a low impact model of tourism.

 

4o. Do you undertake any poverty reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to poverty reduction?

(a) The construction/building crew were local from the nearby villages, (b) I hire local people for various projects that come up from time to time as well as (c) the permanent staff are from the local population, (d) we buy local products, such as groceries, and consumables. (e) At the same time, I have initiated an effort to create a network of local professionals of all different specialties – a total of 10. We are in the process of creating a pamphlet and among other marketing methods via which we will all promote one another and refer each other to those interested in local professionals and activities. 

 

4p. Do you undertake any inequality reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to inequality reduction?

We make a point to give women and immigrants work opportunities and career options as well as volunteer work options, this way giving these groups the chance to participate in our effort as employees or /and as volunteers.

 

4q. Do you undertake any injustice reduction initiatives or does your operation contribute to injustice reduction?

Protecting the environment and protection against hunting.

 

4r. What is the minimum, maximum and average age of your current employees (excluding yourself and members of the family)?

Minimum age is 25 and the maximum is 38 years of age.

 

4s. How many employees do you have (excluding yourself and members of the family)?

There are currently 3 employees.

 

4t. Is everyone accepted as guests or are there any restrictions?

Everyone is accepted and welcome.

 

4u. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?

Our staff is happy to work here.

 

5. CULTURAL CRITERIA-  Rating: 4 out of 5

5a. Are you located within a village or city, or is there a village or city nearby? (please state name and distance in km or miles)

2.5 km from the village of Gouves, prefecture of Laconia, region of Peloponnese, Greece 23055 (postal code)

 

5b. Do guests interact with the local community and how:

Yes, they do as we encourage them to take horse-back riding lessons, walking and trekking tours given by local guides, visit local shops. We also encourage them to take seminars from local bread makers and local soap makers as well as yoga classes, all of which we can host at our Lodge too. We have a list of taverns and places to visit in the wider area that we tried, we like and we recommend.

 

5b: Visiting bicyclists taking a soap making seminar with our friend Zoe from the nearby village.5b: Visiting bicyclists taking a soap making seminar with our friend Zoe from the nearby village.

 

5b2: Soap-making seminar with Zoe from nearby village during the Agromusic festival in July 20125b2: Soap-making seminar with Zoe from nearby village during the Agromusic festival in July 2012

 

5c. What type of information is available to guests at the property:

There are environmental guidelines, there is a walking tour of our eco facilities and recycling info, eco-friendly building materials, water recycling info and we soon plan to have a leaflet in the future for what we do at the farm. Information on restaurants, shops, great views, beautiful beaches of the area and the wider local area.

 

5d. What type of activities are available to guests at the property:

A variety of activities are available to our visitors and guests, some of them are arranged by appointment upon request. Our guests can have: Environmental & Sustainability Trainings, Olive Oil Tasting, Wine Tasting, Hiking Tours, Corporate Meetings & Company Retreats, Organic & Eco Weddings, Team Building activities.

 

A visitor can take a walk around our organic farm (farming activities) and pick fruits directly from our fruit trees, plant trees, feed animals, work with us in picking olives, almonds, grapes and herbs. (as they can help plant, taking care of animals). Or hop on a mountain bike and visit the surrounding hills and farms. In addition, we can have meditation and yoga by appointment, as well as walking tours, horseback riding, surfing, kayak at nearby locations around the area.

 

Yoga, deep breathing, meditation & intuitive games.

Workshops among the trees to remember what nature gave you. You will play with the concept that every minute of the day your body and breath are reacting to everything you are thinking and feeling. What techniques are available to help you rejoice in those healthy feelings and thoughts and keep them alive? How can your breath and body clear the thoughts and feelings and impressions that are not healthy or useful to you?

 

Photography Workouts.

In cooperation with Photothema.com we organize photography workouts for our guests upon request. We offer 4-hour photo workouts for 1-6 participants. A photo workout is an intensive outdoor photography workshop, with emphasis on improving your photography skills in practice. You can choose between 4 different workouts: Shooting digital, Creative photography, Sightseeing photography, Wildlife photography. Workouts are held from 9.30 – 13.30 and can be booked on any available date. The workouts are given in English.

 

Mountain Biking.

There are mountain bikes available at the farm that you can use to visit the nearby areas.


Sea Kayak

Sea kayaking adventures in Laconia, explore cliffs, beaches and caves with a professional and accredited guide in cooperation with Kayak Greece.
Horseback riding. If you enjoy horseback riding we can arrange for you to tour the farm and the surrounding areas with expert teachers by your side.

 

5d: The Yoga teacher who comes in and gives Yoga classes by appointment at Eumelia5d: The Yoga teacher who comes in and gives Yoga classes by appointment at Eumelia

 

5d2: One of the deep breathing and yoga workshop sessions offered at Eumelia by appointment. 5d2: One of the deep breathing and yoga workshop sessions offered at Eumelia by appointment.

 

5e. Local guided tours for guests organised by you: 

Yes, we organize tours of the local area for our guests.

 

5f. Events / presentations held at the facility so far:

CD recording, you and meditation, cooking courses, agromusic festival. [give specifics] (PHOTO of CD recording,
We had a CD recorded in our premises in October 2009.

 

We held an agro-music festival for the first time this year on the 2-4 June 2012 that was very appealing to the attendants with DJs and bands and some agricultural activities. People stayed in out apartments and in tents. We offered them food and tours and environmental trainings.

 

5f1: Snapshot from the days of the CD recording at Eumelia's premises in October 20095f1: Snapshot from the days of the CD recording at Eumelia's premises in October 2009

 

5f2: Photo from the Agromusic Festival - first weekend of June 2012.5f2: Photo from the Agromusic Festival - first weekend of June 2012.

 

5f3: Our guests and friends had a blast and are looking forward to next year's festival5f3: Our guests and friends had a blast and are looking forward to next year's festival

 

5g. Specific programme for children:

We welcome schools from Greece and around the world throughout the year to our sustainable organic farm. Our aim is to introduce children of all ages to the ecological practices taking place at Eumelia. Our organic farming methods and techniques open a gateway to nature, learning how to work with her and provide the ground for her to develop with the minimal intrusion. At the farm, children are exposed to different environmental technologies as well as the human friendly material used at our eco hotel facilities. The co-existence of nature, humans and animals at Eumelia is an integral part of our philosophy and our aim and wish is to share this with all the children of the world. We do a variety of programmes for children among which is environmental training educating them about the environment, a project management game for young children, and more. The 2nd highschool of Aghion Anargyrwn of Attiki took a day trip and visited Eumelia this year. Also, the Byron College (a highschool of Athens) visited Eumelia in May for three days and we shared some wonderful moments there with the children. The feedback from the students, the teachers and the principle was that they were enthused and want to bring all classes to do educational weekends. We are very passionate about educating children and young adults. We believe that the future is in their hands. And we had a fabulous time with them all. We will do more as the school year begins.

 

5g: Snapshot from the Yoga class offered to highschool children during their 3-day educational weekend at Eumelia in May 2012.5g: Snapshot from the Yoga class offered to highschool children during their 3-day educational weekend at Eumelia in May 2012.

 

5g2: Photo of the highshool student walking trip in the area outside the farm5g2: Photo of the highshool student walking trip in the area outside the farm

 

5h. Academic Research and Academic Publications produced or assisted by the property so far:

No.

 

5i. Is the local community at all involved in the operation of the Lodge and how?

Yes, local people teach seminars to our guests, soap making seminars, bread-making, local mountain herbs.

 

5i: Bicyclists gathered at Eumelia for a long weekend, during their tour of Southeast Peloponnese5i: Bicyclists gathered at Eumelia for a long weekend, during their tour of Southeast Peloponnese

 

5i2: Among other things they took a cookies making seminar with a local professional from the area5i2: Among other things they took a cookies making seminar with a local professional from the area

 

5j. Anything else you would like to mention in this section?

We had a three day visit of a junior high school (12-13 years olds) of the Byron College (Ed. a British international school in Athens) that attended a variety of trainings. We started with a tour around the farm educating them about the environment. They watched a movie regarding diet and the food industry, they had a hands-on cooking seminar by a local professional and they had a yoga session (which was their first time and it as a great experience judging from the feedback and their reactions during the session). They went to feed the farm animals, we took a walking tour making a point to have them notice specific plants, herbs, trees, insects and thus allowing them to get in touch with nature, there was discussion on envirnomental technologies, there was a soap-making seminar where they all got to make their own soap with the farm’s olive oil and herbs- which at the end they took back home. We had a Mind mapping session on envisioning the farm’s future and then they gave presentations in groups on their vision, finally they had a guided walk through a part of the mountain of Parnonas where they picked herbs.

 

5j: High School kids from Byron College give their presentations after mind-mapping their versions of the possible future scenarios of Eumelia5j: High School kids from Byron College give their presentations after mind-mapping their versions of the possible future scenarios of Eumelia

 

 

Please sign to indicate your agreement with the following:

 

I hereby declare that all my answers are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and understand that I and/or my company will not have the right to veto or 'hide' our ECOCLUB.com Rating, which will be decided in the manner specified at http://ecoclub.com/ecotourism/rating if we find it unfavourable. I also understand that this rating application is valid for a maximum of 3 Years and a minimum of 1 Year. I may request a new rating application only after 1 Year from the day that my previous rating application was published online. By submitting this questionnaire I indicate acceptance of all ECOCLUB.com Rating terms, conditions and procedures as stated at http://ecoclub.com/ecotourism/rating, and understand that these may be modified at any time without notice.

(Please enter (paste) your signature below or type your initials to indicate acceptance )

 

Your Name: Frangiskos Karelas
 

Date: 25 September 2012

ECOCLUB.com Rating:  3.6 out of 5 / Rating Date: 16 October 2012
sun41x41sun41x41sun41x4106-sun
Samhitakasha