Traveling can be exhausting. Sometimes you get in a rhythm and can start to take things for granted, or feel like you need to mix it up. I found the website World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming – WWOOFing – (http://www.wwoof.org/) which is an amazing organization that connects travelers, farmers, professionals, all types of people through farming.
There are hundreds of farms all over the world. In Ecuador a hundred or so, and all you have to do is sign up for $10 membership and send a personal email to the farm. I chose a farm close to the coast in Tabuga for a one week commitment. It was called The Finca Mono Verde. (http://www.fincamonoverde.com/).
Finca Mono Verde started about 3 years ago. The couple living there at the time, Monica an Ecuadorian from Quito, Arnaud a French man and their son, Myel who was one and a half years old. Working with me were my two friends I met in Canoa. the two are from Tacoma, WA.
The location was green, luscious landscape with coffee, passion fruit, banana, platanos, ginger, corn, carrots, and other herbs. There was a tiny house built out of bamboo with no windows, two bedrooms and a kitchen. There was a compost toilet that needed to be cleaned every two days and we tried to eat from the land every day but was hard as the farm was a young one.
This is why we decided our project for the week would be to build a vegetable garden for the farm. It’s an organic spiral garden and we used permaculture techniques. Permaculture is a sustainable organic way to farm. The land had grass growing on it so we used a technique where you do layers to create the beds.
1. Dig the beds 1-2 inches deep. Enough to disrupt the grass roots
2. Pile large logs in a line to create the first layer. The idea is overtime it will decompose.
3. Pile smaller sticks on top of the logs creating the second layer.
4. Lay down decomposing forest layers that include things like leaves, straw, dirt, anything that would create a great mulch.
5. Finish off the beds with manure from cows for about a 2-4 inch thickness.
In total we made 9 beds, spiral included. It’s such a beautiful garden and it is going to affect the lives of the family and farm forever as there could be enough food to sustain the family. It was hard work, but worth it!
One of my favorite things about living on the farm was the one and a half year old Myel who always made me laugh. This boy will grow up learning french, spanish and english! pretty amazing.
The farm also had 5 one month old kittens! I played with them everyday. They were so much fun to watch grow!
I had such a great experience WWOOFing that I am excited to do more while in Ecuador. I found another farm near Quito that I committed to for a month and am going to paint a mural there. Can’t wait!