Volunteer!

Want to learn about permaculture and volunteer your time to a worthy cause? 

Contact us to learn about volunteering here! We accept volunteers for 2-4 week periods. 
fruithaven.ecuador@gmail.com

If you want to stay long-term as a resident/community member, you must start by first volunteering for one month. After that you may become a resident, and after 6 months and review, a community member.

If you're interested in coming, please fill out the volunteer questionnaire here

Read more about the differences between being a volunteer, and being a community member, here.

We are a permaculture fruit forest project in southeast Ecuador! Our goal is to be a successful example for other farms in the area to trust in sustainable methods of farming. We already produce many plantains, bananas, and other fruits, and are currently planting dozens of varieties of exotic fruits from South America and all over the world.
Somos un proyecto de bosque frutal de permacultura en el sur y este de Ecuador! Nuestra meta es para estar un ejemplo exitoso para otras fincas en el área a confiar en métodos sostenables de agricultura. Ya producimos muchos platanos, guineos, y otras frutas, y ahorita estamos sembrando muchas variedades de frutas exoticas de Suramerica y de todo el mundo.

Volunteer Work-Exchange
We offer a work-exchange volunteer program where you receive accommodation in exchange for 20 hours of various farm tasks per week. This is a great opportunity to learn about tropical fruit growing and permaculture.

Volunteers will be provided with free bananas, papayas, some other fruits, and vegetables, as they are available from the farm, but any additional food they will have to purchase. We offer a convenient option to order fruit each week from a local market that is delivered to our farm. Since our farm currently does not produce sufficient quantity or variety to feed everyone here fully, volunteers should expect to spend between $10 and $30 per week on food, but that depends on their personal tastes and spending habits. Some people eat almost entirely from the farm, others purchase more of their food. 

Ofrecemos una program de intercambio de trabajo donde recibes acomodacion, en cambio para 20 horas de trabajos varios cada semana.

We only accept volunteers who are vegan, as this is a vegan community. We also only accept volunteers who have experience in / are interested in a raw food diet, and are able to mostly abstain from cooked foods, and consume primarily raw foods while they are here, as this is another important community value of ours. Usually volunteers and residents here are eating all raw foods.

Solo aceptamos voluntarios quien estan veganos, como esto es una comunidad vegana. Ademas, preferimos voluntarios quien tienen experiencia en una alimentacion cruda, y pueden consumir comidas crudas mientras viven aquí, como esto es un otro valor comunitario de nosotros. Usualmente, voluntarios y residentes aquí estan comiendo completamente cruda.

What to Bring
Rubber calf-length "wellington"-style boots are necessary. Local hardware stores sell them for around $10/pair, unless your size is 43 (European size) or higher, in which case you'll have to look in a bigger city to find that size. 

Other good things to bring:
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Quality pocketknife
  • Long-sleeve pants and shirts (good in the evening when there are gnats)
  • Work clothes and work gloves
  • Sun hat, bandannas or handkerchiefs
  • 1-2 sheets and thin blanket
  • It may be a good idea to bring a tent if you have one. Sometimes the house and cabins are full and we have some people staying in tents.
  • For the same reason it can be good to bring a sleeping pad. Sometimes we run out of mattresses.
  • Good thick socks (calf-length.)
  • Please bring your own biodegradable soap/shampoo/etc
  • Do not bring any chemical/synthetic/non-biodegradable soaps or personal hygiene products.
  • "Silky saw" for pruning fruit trees
  • "Fleco" brand pruning shears for nursery work and pruning
  • A grafting knife if you want to learn how to graft fruit trees

Bugs 
Some don't have a problem with bugs, but some newcomers to the area are bitten by gnats/no-see-ums heavily. There are not many mosquitoes. You may wish to bring a mosquito net which is sufficient for no-see-ums. The gnats like ankles and wrists, and the majority of bites can be avoided by simply wearing long sleeves and socks during the times of day that they come out (early morning, early evening, during/after a rain.) The temperature here is comfortable enough to wear long sleeves during that time with no issue. 

What We Provide
We provide mattresses but you should probably bring your own blanket/sleeping bag. Most of the time you will sleep 1 to a room but if we have a lot of folks here we may put two volunteers in a room. We may also put people in a tent. Let us know if you have a tent and would be willing to sleep in it if space requires. 

Accommodation
The house is a simple, rustic, post-and-beam construction house right on the Rio Zamora. From the porch you can watch the boats going by. There are 4 bedrooms in the house (1 large and 2 small) and also a little cabin over the pond. There is a hot shower and bathroom. We use a composting toilet, to complete the nutrient cycle. 

Do We Charge Money?
We do not charge money for the volunteering program; accommodation received is free. However, we do charge $5 for internet access if you want it. The $5 covers the duration of your stay up to a month, and if you stay longer than a month, you'll pay $5 for each additional month. This helps us with the monthly bill. It's a great deal because most internet cafes in Ecuador charge $1/hour.

Work
Work generally falls into one of these categories:
Agriculture/Permaculture - Planting trees, maintaining trees, clearing weeds with machete, various tree maintenance tasks, vegetable garden work
Nursery work - tending to baby trees/plants in the nursery
House/Facilities repair - this may include sanding, painting, digging, etc
Hospitality/Upkeep - this may include cleaning rooms before/after guest arrival, sweeping the common areas, etc.

You will be expected to work 20 hours per week. However we do not set the exact schedule, you can work at your leisure once you see the task list and understand how to complete each task. At the end of each day you will be expected to write in our "Volunteer Work Log" what you did that day. This is also to help you keep track of which days each week you worked, and which are your days off.

What Airport should I fly into?
If you fly into Cuenca, you will have a 4.5 hour bus ride to get here. If you fly into Guayaquil, you will have a 9 hour bus rides to get here (2 different buses.) If you fly into Quito, you will have 14 hours of bus rides to get here (usually 2 different buses.)
PLEASE READ: Travel Safety Tips

Do I need proof of ongoing travel?
Usually to fly into Ecuador from most western countries, you need to provide "proof of ongoing travel" to the airport that you are flying out of. This can be a return ticket. If you do not have a return ticket, you will need to go online and buy a bus ticket from Ecuador to Peru or Colombia. You can usually buy a ticket from Loja, Ecuador to Piura, Peru on Cruz del Sur for around $20 or less. If you do not have proof of ongoing travel, they may not let you fly.

Read more on the "About" page (left column menu.) 

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Peter Csere,
Jul 1, 2018, 9:25 AM
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