Learn organic gardening & permaculture for free by volunteering on an organic farm near Vilcabamba, Ecuador.




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 Min stay requested: 1 month or more

  • Description


    My farm workers, volunteers, and I, are striving to be a self-sustaining, non-commercial organic farm outside Vilcabamba, Ecuador. Our goal is to create a small community that can live sustainably through organic farming and permaculture. Being good stewards to the land is paramount. We want to make this farm completely sustainable, such that, most everything we, or the animals eat comes from the farm. Using organic, permaculture, biodynamic, and sustainable techniques will do this.

    With 65 years of experiences, I may have something to offer you.
    Most of my experiences before I got into organic growing were in medicine. I grew up assisting my father, a veterinarian, in caring for animals. During Viet Nam I worked on an infected orthopedic ward as a hospital corpsman in the Navy. After receiving my second degree, a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, I worked for the largest non-profit hospice in the world. We cared for over 1,000 people per day. Having a 3 part specialty in wounds, ostomies, and continance, I provided consults for doctors and nurses concerning those areas. When my late wife became disabled with chronic pain, I dedicated my life to being knowledgeable and competent in alternative healing. Teaching was a large part of nursing.

    The skills I developed in teaching and communicating with a diverse population are happily used on the farm. For my first degree, I studied, Animal Husbandry, Dairy, Forestery, Fisheries, and Wild Life Management. I ended up getting a degree in Business.

    For 5 years I had an organic garden in Southern Florida. This is my 8th year (2017) as an organic farmer in a cloud forest in the Southern Andes of Ecuador.

    We consider the Finca to be a permaculture learning center.
    We offer permaculture courses to people who want to learn more about sustainable gardening and numerous in depth classes on topics such as healing and outdoor skills. Internships are available for graduates of any permaculture course. Furthermore WE OFFER FREE CLASSES and lots of hands-on experiences for volunteers. We have over 8 years farming experience, 45 acres/20 ha, and 4000 square feet of organic gardens.

    Our orientation manual provides a list of over 10 trips/activities that are within an easy commute. For example, the oldest site where cocoa was first in use is a 5 min. bus ride. One could easily spend more than a week fully purusing these sites.

    Our 33 page "walking tour" insures that you will become familiar with permaculture and organic gardening/farming techniques.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Cooking / shopping
    Help with Eco project
    Animal care
    Language practice
    Art project
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Volunteers often enjoy working side by side with the Ecuadorian farm hands.

    Volunteers may have the opportunity to help with, and learn about; conservation, permaculture, biodynamics, organic farming, worm farming/vermiculture, sustainability, gardening, building, and bush craft. You may also have the opportunity to learn how to pick your teeth with a machete. You can also learn out door skills, and learn about the processing of coffee and sugar cane.

  • Help


    Volunteers and interns are welcome on our farm. We provide food and shelter in exchange for your energy. Donations are not required, but they sure are needed and appreciated. The proceeds help educate local Ecuadorians.

    Projects include: The building of housing: cabanas, shelters,
    huts, underground and ferocement housing. Green houses/aquaponics. A wood-burning oven, sauna, swimming hole. Upgrade the beauty of existing structures. Fencing, digging trenches & general maintenance. Working with livestock; chickens, frogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, tilapia, a horse, donkey, and mules. Preparing, planting, weeding, maintaining & harvesting large and small areas. Composting, making and using non-chemical pesticides, creating new terraces, creating medicinal herb gardens.

    Minimum Stay: One week stay.
    Number of Days Per Week: 5 days per Week.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, a little Spanish

  • Accommodation


    Accommodation/Lodging: We provide food and shelter in exchange for your energy. The shelter is a newly renovated bunkhouse with 8 beds inside and 2 beds outside on the terrace with incredible views. There are also 2 more beds in the guest bedroom. Bed linens and mosquito netting are included. A covered camping area is available for those who have their own sleeping bags.

    Requirements: An interest in learning about or practicing "surthrival skills". We especially welcome volunteers with any special talents such as Yoga, Meditation, Dancing, Painting, …or any life experience that can be taught in a free class to other volunteers. Computers, websites, construction skills, artistry, permaculture, sustainable agriculture, organic gardening, growing medicinal and other herbs. This knowledge will be welcome, and specific projects may be initiated around them. We are looking for volunteers with experience in any of these or other areas mentioned, and the maturity to do this type of work without supervision.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Fall to sleep listening to the waterfalls, the lowing of the cows and the whip o wills. During the day, enjoy the humming birds, butterflies, waterfalls, and birds of all descriptions. Do yoga or meditate on the newly built, outside community/dining center with its incredible views. ENJOY FREE CLASSES IN CHI GONG AND MEDITATION. Hang up a hammock and enjoy your coffee and cane sugar both processed on the farm.
    Local tours are easily arranged. Lots of hiking, some ruins.

    In depth, affordable classes are available.

    We have composting toilets, solar showers, and you can charge your electrical devices at the farmhouse.

    If you are looking for beauty, serenity, and about learning opportunities, contact us.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours per day / 5 days a week

Pardo at the waterfalls
Worm class
Your host, Nurse Mike. Doing what he does best!
Panela oven and bunkhouse entrance
too dark to see
View from the bunkhouse
Supervised cooking
Nice views
Interesting views
Happy volunteers
Nice views

Host ref number: 215712195778