My name is Keith and originally come from England. I have been living here in Ecuador for the past 6 years having spent the previous 16 in the Rocky mountains of New Mexico in the US. I live here on the farm with my daughter Yakina who will be 8 this July and Yakinas Ecuadorian mother to whom I am now divorced also has a house here on the farm.
Just over 5 years ago we bought a Farm to the west of Otavalo, a famous artisan town in the highlands of Ecuador north of Quito.
With a lot of volunteer help we have created an Organic/Biodynamic Farm(now certified) based around the cash crops of sugar cane, coffee, citrus fruits and honey.
I largely handle the building work and general maintenance along with the sugar cane production and orchards. And Yakinas mother is responsible for managing the food gardens, beekeeping and other fruit crops. We manage the coffee production together. Im now solely working with the workaway volunteers so volunteering opportunites are mainly focused upon the work I am doing on the farm.
Apart from the 2 houses in which we live separately there is a garage with a loft space(see photos)constructed of wood and adobe, which is available for volunteers working with me.....there is also lots of space for camping all over the property and around the houses.
Despite being in a very rural location we do have good internet connection in all the buildings. I also have plans to build a stand alone bathroom with composting toilets.
I am currently working on the renovation of the last building we inherited from the previous owners, as well as a bunch of smaller projects....many that can be completed start to finish in 2-4 works. And there is always ongoing work on the lemon orchards and sugar cane production as well as general maintenance work. I usually work with 1 or 2 volunteers at a time, but Im very interested in families with children around Yakinas age too.
We homeschool Yakina here on the farm. So I am always on the lookout for travelers with children of a similar age to help with Yakinas socialization and exposure to other cultures. There is a small playground I built with some previous volunteers and offer a very child friendly environment.
The Farm covers 380acres starting at 5900 ft around the farmhouses which are surrounded by a river and 2 creeks, all the way up the mountain passing several waterfalls on the way. The beauty of the location cannot be overstated!
We are discovering new aspects of the Farm all the time, developing new trails all over the property. The most recent to a waterfall about a 20 min walk from the Farmhouse. Working on the trails is always an option too.
The Farm sits in an area of cloud forest which is home to one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, and attracts a lot of birdwatching enthusiasts.
Although the Farm is quite remote, it is only a 1 1/2hr direct bus ride from Otavalo and we have vehicular access all the way to the Farm via a rough but passable road(the last 2km) that dead ends at the Farm.
We are also about 30mins from a hotsprings resort which we usually take all those on the farm to at least once every 2 weeks.
We have some permanent local helpers for the farmwork and have had a lot of great 'workaway' help over the first 5 years for which we are very grateful, and are looking forward to have another year of great visitors this year.
If any of this sounds of interest please contact us and I can give you more up to the minute information about the projects currently underway.
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Help around the house
The finca is located in a small rural community consisting largely of subsistence farmers. There is a very strong sense of community amongst the 30 or so families and we play a very active part. We attend regular community work days, and all the community festivities. We encourage all our volunteers to do the same and most take an active interest and the opportunity to gain this unique experience of 'real' life in a small andean farming community.
We employ locals on the farm to help us with the running of the farm......all of whom are always very willing to communicate with and be open to the volunteer help we receive.
In truth it is largely in the hands of the volunteer as to how far she or he takes advantage of the cultural exchange........but the possibilities here are almost limitless, and many of our past volunteers have taken full advantage of this.
Come and experience farming the way it has been practiced here for generations, see first hand how this sector of Ecuador live, whilst also gaining a view of how we are trying to bring to bear some of our own experience in hopefully a positive way to the community we now call home.
There are a number of different farming projects to help with, ranging from pruning existing citrus orchards to helping with the sugar cane and coffee, to planting new crops. I am also always on the lookout for people with weedwacking/strimming experience, as there is always something that needs cutting!
There are a number of construction projects but the most significant is the continued renovation of one of the smaller houses. I am a natural builder and will be trying to incorporate as many natural building techniques as possible. I am also always open to starting new projects depending on the interest and skill set of the volunteers that come.
For volunteers with one or more children Im open to talking about a different type of exchange, if this is more what you are looking for contact me and we can talk more.
There is a sleeping loft over the newly built garage, its basic but comfortable and private.....there is also camping available everywhere on the farm!
All volunteers will be provided with food and the necessary ingredients, and are expected to cook for themselves.
The finca is located in the beautiful community of Santa Rosa, an area of extensively protected forest and one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet. Birdwatchers from all over the world come to visit this unique area.
There are many surrounding towns. Apuela is only 12kms to the west with its bustling Sunday market attracting people from far and wide. Only another 4kms west are the Nangulvi hot Springs with a resort of well maintained baths.
The area is a nature lovers paradise and although remote is easily accessed from Otovalo by bus on a main road that has recently been paved all the way to Apuela. Otavalo is one of the most visited places in Ecuador.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
5 hrs/day 5 days a week.