Rio Muchacho Farm in Canoa, Ecuador is offering two 4-week Permaculture Courses in English this 2019!!
The first course will run from July 22nd – August 16th; the second will run from November 4th – 29th. Course is $1200 ($1000 if booking and payment is made 3 months before the starting date) Discounts for couples or groups of friends. Some scholarships are available.
If interested in the course, please visit our website at Riomuchacho.com or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is the course for?
Anyone that eats! If you are looking for ways to improve your food, but you feel helpless, trapped in the system and uninformed to be able to make changes; if you want to live a more sustainable, meaningful life closer to nature; or if you want to live a simpler life growing your own food, even if you have no land! The course is suitable for people who have no experience in agriculture, but is also challenging for those who have some prior experience. It is an opportunity to learn and practice new skills, experience a new culture and learn some Spanish!
Our instructors are permaculture educators and our courses contain most of the information you would obtain on a PDC, but have the advantage of being more practical, longer and cover a wider range of topics than a PDC.
Do I need prior Agriculture/Permaculture experience?
No, but if you have done a PDC, it will have given you a good theoretical base. This is an excellent opportunity for you to put in practice what you have learned. Here you can experience sustainable living whether you are a student, volunteer or tourist. We have rotational forage systems, swales and food forests, vegetable production, apiculture, alternative energy and more!
Can I get University Credit for the program?
The course is accepted in most universities as credit for your studies. We are happy to fill out any evaluation forms that you might need, just let us know!
A typical day
Course Hours: Monday through Friday, 6.30 am to 4 pm.
The day begins with practical work, feeding the animals before breakfast, then classes are from 8.30 to 4pm, with lunch breaks from 12-1:30 pm. Videos are watched in the evenings around 7.30pm. Students are welcome to stay on weekends at the farm, but are also free to travel, or go to the beach town of Canoa where you can access internet, take surf classes, go horseback-riding on the beach, or just enjoy cocktails from a hammock beneath the coconut palms!
Do you need to know Spanish?
Some Spanish is useful, but it is not a requirement. The course will be in English; However, some of the practical work may be done with Spanish speakers. The farm can organize Spanish classes a week prior to the course, for you to get a bit more accustomed. If English is not your first language this is also an opportunity to improve!
Before or after the course…
Some people come to the farm before the course, from a week or even up to a month early. With this extra time, they get a better feel for the farm and sometimes take Spanish classes to reach a better level prior to the course commencing. You are welcome (and we highly recommend) to stay at the farm after the course for more practical experience. We can also help with travel information and reservations for Galapagos, the Amazon, etc. if you are interested to travel more before returning home.
Isla Corazon Archeological Museum Whale-watching (During the season)
Other cultural activities while on the farm:
Chocolate and coffee making
Carving Mate (gourd) to make cups and spoons Making jewelry out of palm seeds and Vegetable Ivory
Shrimp fishing in the river
Making fresh Baño Negro (a local clay face mask)
Horse-riding to the forest to see howler monkeys
Who will be teaching the course?
Río Muchacho is run by a very lovely couple, Darío and Nicola, who also have twins. Darío is of Catalan/French/Ecuadorian descent. He spent the first 18 years of his life living in the Andes, where he was a passionate mountaineer. Eventually he made his way to Bahía where he was involved in both local and provincial tourism projects. For many years he was the Director of Tourism for Manabí, and later he was the Director of the Coastal Resource Management Program where he played a key role in defending the mangrove forest through the creation of protection agreements recognizing the cultural and environmental heritage of local communities. Nicola is a New Zealander who arrived in Ecuador in 1989. She studied horticulture, management of protected areas and non-polluting agriculture. Before coming to Ecuador, she taught non-polluting agriculture at Christchurch Polytechnic. She originally travelled to South America to attend the first Latin American conference in organic farming, which was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Her first two years in Ecuador were spent developing Alandaluz, an ecological hotel in the southern reaches of Manabí, and working for different foundations teaching organic agriculture. Nicola is an inspector of organic farms and has trained leaders in community-based verification schemes. Regarding the staff, it obviously depends on how many volunteers are working at the farm at the moment. The owners are really open-minded people and you will learn a lot from them, but also from the other volunteers!
“This place is a paradise for many. Despite being considered a “rustic” alternative to tourism, there is a certain feeling of bliss in unplugging for your entire length of stay. Visitors are able to come for days or months. – I personally spent two months there, dividing my time between volunteering, and attending the month-long permaculture course. My experience living there has definitely changed me for the better. — And the course itself could not have gone better. It was so full of information and ideas, I am fully motivated returning home equipped to take charge of long-awaited projects in my home fields. — From my experience working in the field, to my nights of tranquility, I learned a new way of existence. I realized how splendidly simple it is to live sustainably; and Rio Muchacho provides the perfect community in which to learn.
I met many visitors during my length of stay, and even those who stayed for a few days were all departing with previously unobtained knowledge. There is so much going on at the farm in terms of particular projects or methods of sustainable living, that one can become acquainted with much in a very little amount of time. There is plenty of work to be done, and the owners are very happy to help facilitate newcomers into the routines. Cheers to Nicola and Dario for their glowing energy that shines bright from Ecuador.
If one wishes to see excellent examples of eco-tourism, organic agriculture and agroecology, this is the place to visit. They sewed in me, many seeds of wisdom that I am taking to scatter the earth. I hope you get a chance to stop in and let them rub off on you. Cheers.”