Welcome to a sustainable biodynamic farm community in Tumianuma, Vilcabamba



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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    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.

    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, Tina is working and things are veeeerrry calm. 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!

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Charity Work
    Art Projects
    Language practice
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Farmstay help
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainablity goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    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!

  • Help


    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, the dominant language is Spanish and this is an immersion experience. To learn and speak even more Spanish you can also go to nearby town and visit, get to know the local folks and go and work with them in the garden or field or on the mountain to learn!

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Spanish: Fluent

    This host offers a language exchange
    Many local people work for our neighbors. So we run a community kitchen where the local filks come for big daily lunch. It basically amounts to a true immersion experience, loads of Spanish and as my partner is indigenous theres quite a bit of quechua as well.

  • Accommodation


    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!

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    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.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    We have fiber optic internet, its pretty fast. Wifi all over the farm. Our neighbor is a computer genius something or another so he makes sure we always have really good service.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    But no electrical or water hook ups and not available during rainy season!

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    No more than 5 hours per day, 5 days per week

  • ...

    This host charges a fee

    read more
    US$5 per day

Host ref number: 929562949334