This is a biodynamic farm in the Andes with the idea of living in an 'earth first' manner. We are an intentional community, albeit a highly transient one! We host people from all over the world with the intent of teaching the manera antigua, the old ways of farming in Ecuador, and offer a community living experience in a sustainable and healthy environment. Lately we have had a pretty low population, occasionally groups of workawayers and others gather and happen to be here all at the same time. But we also often have times when there are only one or two others on the farm. I say this so folks won't always be expecting a bunch of people! We do have a bunch of animals....
-----------UPCOMING PROJECTS YAY!-----------
Can you can you do the can can?- Tina (me!) is on a roll with canning everything in sight! We just finished canning delicious ginger beets and butter pickles. Learn how to can the manera antigua way with local farmers produce: cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes mamma Mia! I always enjoy teaching how to, but have to admit some weeks can go by and we fall back on eating all that yummynesss.
Hybrid permaculture/ biodynamic program- We want to create more compost boxes and worm beds around the farm. Learn how to create these essential staples with us along with bio fertilizer that you can adapt with local plants from your neck of the woods. This is ongoing, but sometimes I just need folks to get together and help do it! We must fence in our garden area in the near future and we have some irrigation canal works to get done before too long as well.
We are looking for volunteers that want to assist us with the concept & implementation of a small vehicle bridge near Hans' house.
March - July
1). Coffee picking- Come join us for a big haul of our organic high altitude arabica cafe that flourishes in our valley. You will get hands on experience on how to select the perfect bean, drying and general coffee cultivation and maintenance. As of March 1 our coffee beans are just beginning to turn red, and they can only be picked when totally red. So by the end of the March I expect we are going to have a bumper crop of beautiful coffee to harvest..
I am Tina, official chief cook and dog washer, and I will be meeting you, teaching you, and helping with all of your needs. Some neighbor or another frequently is on the farm, and if it's Carlos he will chat away with you even if you don't understand Spanish at all.
Expenses to have more local folks helping out on the farm daily have become prohibitive, so Tina, me, is the one who does most things. And I have just accepted a position in a nearby town coordinating medical services and midwifing. This means I am frequently running back and forth to town and working. It's a rewarding thing for me and a big change at our farm. It means that there's not really much of an organized program happening. I get people oriented and demonstrate things and pretty much leave each person to get into doing what they like. I try to offer guidance, I do keep a fully stocked kitchen and when I'm home we are canning and baking and cooking and gardening.... But I must admit and be honest that you as a volunteer or a workawayer have to be self motivated and able to be independent here. It's a beautiful farm, and productive! But you have to get out there and gather avocados and fruits for juices and learn to bake and produce nutrient rich meals for yourself and helping everyone here. I have given up on scheduling anything than other major lunch at 12:30 daily.
The farm has lots of newly planted cafe and the garden planting is getting restarted. Unfortunately, the garden has taken a back seat to the huge cafe planting. There are chickens and chicks (we have tame and wild chickens as part of a biological pest control program for our coffee plantations) and dogs and puppy Otis to feed and care for, plenty to keep busy. Lunch is our big daily meal, served at 12:30 every day; please let me, Tina, know if you're vegetarian or have allergies. The library has WiFi, so internet communications are good.
This is community farm, members of the local community work sometimes at the farm to support their families, other members participate in the Ministry of Agriculture supported organic cafe project; Tuminauma is our nearest small village and draws their potable water from way up our creek. It's not unusual to see many cultures mixing it up here, we've had up to 14 countries represented at lunch. But normally lunch is 3-7 people. Mostly though it's an excellent example of Ecuadorian traditional organic family farming. There's a good permaculture plan in place for more than 25 years, and biodynamic preps are made and used.
At this moment, March 1, and until May, it's rainy season, Tina is working and things are veeeerrry calm. Except when it rains, and then we have been getting flooding. Our houses are well protected, but it is possible to be at one house and have to wait a while to get to another with the heavy rains and run off. There was a wildfire on the mountain in September and this rainy season promises to bring a lot of rain run off through the farm from the mountain. It's turning green now, but the vegetation burned off. Flood mitigation has been a constant theme lately. Our area is in the valley, it didn't burn and is lush and green and full of birds and wildlife to observe and avoid!
There are several animals, I like to think ours are very well treated. There's not a schedule, sometimes spontaneous parties happen. Sometimes everyone sleeps in. And sometimes its all hands helping to bring in large purchases or get a certain planting done while the moon is in our favor. The only thing we really try to stick to is the 12:30 lunch time everyday.
We do ask a maximum donation of 35$ a week at the farm. This helps us continue to pay for food, service projects, and farm projects.
While it's basic food only, theres an amazing kitchen set up, chefs and cooks will be happy here. And I try to keep the kitchen stocked nicely, you can always make bread, and we have tons of cookbooks and even an awesome recipe book filled with volunteer favourites. We supply dormitory style rooms with bed, clean sheets, towels, blankets, hot showers, an awesome kitchen, cafe, snack stuff, FRUIT, meals, pretty much all you need for a reasonably comfortable life.
I recently traded our wonderful grass powered horse for a gas powered 4x4 Arctic Cat 2 seater. Ingreido our horse has retired, is very close by to go and visit and is fat and happy. I am thrilled with the vehicle after 20 years of hauling everything by horse. I often give people a ride in and out of the farm so they dont have to carry heavier loads on the hike. Our only other powered tools are a weed wackier and a chain saw. I am pretty profound on protecting my environment, I do feel guiltyish about owning a vehicle (but it is sooooo much fun) and beg each of you all to bring rechargeable batteries for your flashlights. We do have solar recharging for tablets and phones.
If you will let us know your travel plans your room will be ready and someone will come to town to help you to get to the farm!
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help with Eco Projects
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Our farm is in an isolated valley, with a very small town about 3 km hike away. This town is used to meeting volunteers and workawayers, but it is not a ' tourist' place. Our volunteers have done and helped with many projects in town and we have a good reputation, you will be welcomed. Many visitors have helped families in Tumianuma and students w lessons, I try to help set folks up but the best friendships have happened with no assist from me whatsoever!
This whole farm is about learning to live sustainably and comfortably in a very natural setting. It's not so much about what I can offer you as much as it is finding what you can do and enjoy while still treading lightly and fitting into our small community.
We are 100% off grid, all solar. Gravity feed water systems. I'm often creating things with our 12 volt systems and fixing and always happy to talk about solar!
We accept students, interns, apprentices, volunteers and families from all over the world. It isn't a 'number of work hours required' kind of place, nor a business that has volunteers. You will be expected to live and laugh and work and play, sharing this community as a member for the time you are visiting. We eat meals communally. We share food and kitchen privileges, and economic booms and crashes. Everyone participates in the daily activities of a small but busy rural Ecuadorian farm. The farm does outreach to the local community, but it's mostly in the form of me delivering babies these days.
And there is always something to do on the farm, large orchards to care for and harvest, gardens to be weeded, pastures to be weeded, producing amazing meals, did i mention some weeding?!
We have planted a lot of cafe too! Its an experience in sustainability and shared community living. Join us for a while.
Whether we are harvesting cafe, gardening, weeding, or preparing meals we are having fun, not exhausting ourselves too much and treading lightly on the earth. Our gardens are providing some but not nearly all of our produce at this time.
Some Ecuadorian men and women and families work with us, and while I speak Spanish, the dominant language often becomes that of volunteers here. To learn and speak more Spanish you do have to go to nearby town and visit, and even get to know the local folks or go and work with them in the garden or field or on the mountain to learn!
The farm is located in Tumianuma in the parish of Vilcabamba in the province of Loja, Ecuador. We are exactly located in the Valley of Chirusco, on either side of the quebrada (year round creek) and Condorhuana (quichua for where the condors live). We have waterfalls and nice cold water natural jacuzzis in several places. We are rich in water! We also have a great outdoor hot shower and a flush toilet.
The farm has a large community kitchen, fully stocked with stainless and cast iron pots and pans and baking pans - everything needed to prepare fabulous food for many! We make everything from the most basic ingredients here.
Our houses are mostly outdoorsy, very rustic, truly nothing to write home about, but we ONLY sleep there! The rest of the time we are outside - in the fields or the creek, at the kitchen. Outdoor showers and bathrooms, composting and flush! We were nominated for best poo with a view for 2013!
Vilcabamba is the closest town of any size and that's an hour bus ride from Tumianuma (population 300 +/-). It has telephones, internet cafe', an ATM, and some of the comforts of civilization. Loja, another hour ride from Vilcabamba, is a larger city and is where you'd need to go to find harder to find items.
I ask that you bring only enough money to make your contribution here and maybe buy some beers. I have a safe locked place for storing cash, and valuables. I hate to admit but we have had a recent theft from a room. I have no idea how, but with travelers and moving about things can happen. We also thought an iPod had been stolen last year, but many months later I found it on a high shelf in the tool room. This is a safe place. And people of all walks of life, colors, orientation, religion... are welcome and respected here.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
No more than 5 hours per day, 5 days per week
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.