Spend 3 or 6 months to a year at the PermaTree Project, in Ecuador. Current open volunteer positions are:
- All-round volunteer
- Talented Paint/Artist volunteer
- Talented Author/Blogger volunteer
- Experienced Compost volunteer
- Talented Carpenter volunteer
- Talented Video & Photography volunteer
- Experienced natural swimming pool volunteer
Participation is experiential education; you are learning about permaculture and community by living in it. The most helpful, effective, and happy participants are self-motivated, interested, responsible, and accountable.
If you are interested in experiencing permaculture in action, living in community, and engaging with DIY projects in a hands-on and dynamic environment, review this page and fill out the application now!
We (open minded Swiss & French couple) started in March 2016 created PermaTree a Non-Profit Organization with the philosophy of permaculture which we live by and apply. We are a holistic farm focusing on a sustainable lifestyle by growing and cooking our own organic foods. We build a bamboo house, compost toilets and a river nearby from where we get our water. Half of the land here is a natural jungle reserve so we don’t touch it. Before, the land was occupied with cow farming and so now we are recovering the soil. On sundays, we go to the fresh market in Yantzaza to buy all the food until all grows within the farm.
As a community, we wake up together, eat meals together, take turns cooking for each other, and share in the responsibilities of keeping daily operations running smoothly.
Each community member may have different responsibilities, but we do our best to work together as a cohesive group. Inevitably there are challenges, both physical and interpersonal, but even in these, we try our best to learn and grow from them.
The PermaTree Project is an 1-year old permaculture site in the edge of the amazonas region of Ecuador in South America. The farm is approximately 76 hectares or 180 acres and located about 3 hours north of Loja, in Southern Ecuador. The lowest part is 800 to 1300 meters over the sea level. Which means we have a high variation of micro climates within PermaTree. It was not so long ago a dense tropical jungle with huge trees and later in the 60s half of the property was made pasture land for cows. Lucky us the fruit orchard is very diverse: papayas, bananas, plantains, cacao, mangoes, bananas, lemons, white zapotes, lulo, guayabas, ice cream bean, passion fruit, sugar cane, and tons of other edibles.
COLLABORATION & KNOWLEDGE
PermaTree is a place where people come together and create mutual enrichment. Participate as a volunteer and teach/learn from people who share their knowledge. On the other hand, we are always looking for mentors to teach the respective topics which match the specific sub-project. Or visit the farm to get a taste of permaculture in the green. Here we stress collaboration. We are about mutual enrichment and working together. There is no room for people who think they know everything.
MISSION & VISION
Living a more meaningful and resilient life in harmony with nature as self-sufficient as possible planting our own food and eating healthy.
A community where you can come, share, learn and be inspired for becoming ambassadors of healthy & resilient lifestyle change.
Each volunteer is asked to be a solid contributor both to the physical work of the site as well as to the social and emotional well-being of the community. Remember you will be living and working in a community! You are given the freedom to make a genuine contribution to the future of the PermaTree farm systems.
Work requirements are a minimum of 5 hours per day (6 days a week) on projects or maintenance. We use shared facilities: kitchen; bathroom; laundry area, and we take turns with daily chores like cleaning. All volunteers will also participate in community chores such as cooking, cleaning communal areas, and maintaining the site. Some occasional weekend duties (such as: wateringgarden beds, flipping compost, feeding animals, etc). Volunteers will also participate in community meetings ranging from managerial tasks to personal feelings.
Volunteers should consider their position at PermaTree as a job. We like to have fun, but we have serious work to do. The place cannot function without the hard work and energy of all the members. If you care deeply about the work you are doing, you are sure to get most you can out of your time.
WORK ACTIVITIES SHIFT
Daily / Weekly / Monthly Tasks (maintenance):
There are several different daily chores such as cleaning which needs to be done at different times.
All the directly farm-related projects such as planting more fruit trees, bamboo, making stairs,digging holes, harvesting other fruits, cutting grass, etc. Farm Projects are in the morning before lunch.
Self Initiated Projects:
Volunteers come up with their own ideas which can be implemented within finca PermaTree. Example: Food recipes, Daily hacks / improvements, Organization, Woodworks, Planting crops and trees, Extracting and drying seeds, Blog post about specific topic. Each project needs a time duration estimation at the start: for example 3 hours or 4 days until finalized. The goal is to finalize the Self Initiated Project during the stay of the Volunteer. Ideally, one should write a DIY blog post with photos about your SIP.
Learn first hand what sustainability looks like. A minimal ecological footprint is our goal. Our water is directly from the waterfall. 90% of our house in built from fast growing bamboo instead of wood or cement. We have no glass windows just bamboo windows and most doors are recycled or made from bamboo too. We have recycled many beer bottles for the shower and toilet facility. We have also recycled used tires for stairs and erosion control projects. All our light bulbs are LED so they use a very small amount of power. One of our showers is heated by black pipes with the sun's rays. All of our grey waste water goes into a banana circle and then a pond. We have composting toilets and use the compost in the garden. We try to be an education center where many people can learn about all these ideas/techniques and how they can apply them in their own homes. We also have a natural swimming pool which is fueled by the overrun of the main water tank.
SURROUNDED BY NATURE
At PermaTree you are literally surrounded by nature. We are located at the edge of the Amazonas region in the south of Ecuador with a breathtaking landscape view of the Rio Zamora. The twilight is spectacular on cloudy days. At night you can enjoy listening to the frogs, bats and owls. During the day, if you are lucky enough, you can see eagles very near our bamboo house. Snakes, spiders and mosquitoes are a part of the ecosystem here. You can walk around the farm which is about +75 hectares or 180 acres. There are several creeks and waterfalls within the different micro climates of the property.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES AT PERMATREE
Depending on the season you can find: papayas, bananas, plantain, cacao, ice cream bean, sugar cane, pineapple, guava, lemons, guayusa, hierba luisa (lemon grass type), cassava (yuca), wild cherry tomatoes, corn, rosemary, basil, thine, aloe vera, vetiver, neem, noni, naranjilla, zapote and we have been planting guanábanas, mango, avocados, oranges, grapefruits, chirimoya, coconuts, strawberry, maracuya, breadfruit, bamboo (bamboo shoots), macadamia, peach palm (contact), soursop, jackfruit, star fruit and dragon fruit.
WHAT DO YOU GET?
- Excellent quality of life in a natural setting, surrounded by nature in tropical climate
- Sustainable Lifestyle (minimal ecological footprint. Eating only fresh organic produce, cooked by ourselves, planting food trees, eating the fruits, all water is from the nearby creek, hot shower during day heated by black pipes from the sun rays, etc.) Minimal waste production, future goal zero waste. No Junk food, no sugar diet, no TV etc. There is no such thing as waste only unused resources …
- Eat tropical fruits you may have never heard or seen in your life
- 24/7 ecuadorian Spanish Language practice
- Community living experience
- Learn to work in a true tropical climate
- Hands-on Permaculture experience
- Develop communication, leadership and teamwork skills
- Develop permaculture skills through hands-on experience in natural building, water management, gardening, plant propagation, food forest establishment, community development, waste management / recycling and more.
We have no rules, only agreements. Everyone is equal. We are self-organizing.
Lose or break = replace
Simple. If you lose a tool or break a dish/glas for example we expect you to replace it.
Please use your own towel, organic soap and shampoo. After the use of the shower, check the facilities to ensure that they are clean for the next user. During the day, only use the natural shower on the left side, which is naturally heated by the sun. All water from the shower / kitchen will go to the banana circle.
Sleep / Rest Time
Between 21:00 and 06:00 is the general “rest time” - please respect. Avoid unnecessary noise and lights. Lights should be turned off at the latest from 22:00 until 05:00.
During following hours the use of the WIFI-Internet is open for Volunteers: From 13:00 until 17:00 o’clock. Else you can buy a personal CNT-chip for $5 =300MB data) In case of emergency, we have 24/7 internet access.
Volunteers can wash their clothes by hand or have their clothes washed at a “lavanderia” in Yantzaza for $1.50 per kilo. If you wash your clothes by hand, use the “lavanderia” / sink. Use your own washing soap and let your clothes dry in the plant nursery on the strings. First, firmly squeeze out the remaining water before hanging the washed clothes up on the strings in the plant nursery. Use the wooden clothespins to attach the clothes to the string. Remove the clothes after 4-5 hours, before nightfall.
Sit, use, sawdust after business, close the tap, check if there is enough sawdust in the orange bucket and toilet paper around, otherwise, refill. Close the door after leaving the compost toilet. Check if the light is turned off upon exiting.
WHAT TO BRING
The most important thing is a smile and an open mind. Sleeping bag, Sun protector like long sleeves, hat, sunglasses. If you bring Sunscreen please bring an organic one with you. Bring working pants with you. Waterproof shoes, a light raincoat. Towel. Mosquito net. Mosquito repellent, torch/flashlight, flip flops or slippers (for indoors). And all you need to be comfortable. You can buy boots in the town unless you have very big feet. Bring your own gloves for the farm work. In Quito/Cuenca you can buy almost anything in case you don’t have it.
A weekly shopping trip will be made to the fresh market in Yantzaza (on Sunday) where any additional personal items can be ordered.
Most of the team at the finca is multilingual here: Spanish, English, French, German, Swiss-german
27°- 30° during the day, at night it can be fresh around 17°, 65% and 85% humidity!!!
Sunrise around 6AM Sunset around 6PM.
APPLY FOR VOLUNTEER SPOT
1. Send message with your gmail email address and introduction about yourself and your motivation (email@example.com)
2. Read the full PermaTree Volunteer Information Pack here: https://goo.gl/kxjUKq 3. Answer the micro questionnaire here: https://goo.gl/WxGcH9 4. Skype interview