Volunteer Program

Why Volunteer with PermaTree?

We are a grass root organic farm with the target, to live sustainable within the next 3 years. To grow our own food from vegetables to tropical food forests. You can be part of this thriving process! Gain valuable experience and learn about smart permaculture principles. Learn ecological awareness and more about environmental protection. Enjoy the amazing view on to the Zamora river valley from our bamboo house and help us with farming work, which is challenging in humid, tropical climate. Dive in and be part to our daily farming, living and improve your language. We speak most of the time Spanish.


Volunteer Program

Long-term Permaculture volunteering positions available at the PermaTree Project in the amazonas region of southern Ecuador. Spend 3 or 6 months to a year at the PermaTree Project, in tropical Amazonas region of Ecuador.
Current open volunteer positions are:

  • All-round motivated volunteer
  • Talented Author/Blogger volunteer (English mother tongue)
  • Talented Carpenter volunteer
  • Experienced food fermentation volunteer
  • Natural Building volunteer

Participation is experiential education; you are learning about holistic permaculture and community by living in it. The most helpful, effective, and happy participants are self-motivated, interested, responsible, and accountable.

Key Pillars of Volunteering at PermaTree

PermaTree is a place where you can experience a sustainable way of living while working on a tropical farm with many daily tasks. You will truly experience the challenges of living in rural South America. Use these values to help you adjust to our experience.

  1. Appreciation take time to appreciate the local tropical fruits, the beautiful sun showers, the stunning sunsets and night skies, learning different languages, and being part of a farming family.
  2. Commitment keeping your promises, being on time, don’t mind being out of your comfort zone, being proactive in daily tasks, enjoy challenges and being busy most of the day.
  3. Sociable willing to interact by exchanging experiences, ideas, brainstorming future solutions with us, asking questions when confused, voicing your issues clearly – during your stay.

You will be Involved in these Types of Farm Work

  • Cut pasture onto 2.5-Meter-high with machete.
  • Harvest Papaya, Banana and Plantains at the Farm, combined with a one our hike.
  • Help us construct the natural / bamboo constructions.
  • Help in the kitchen, cutting vegetables, prepare drinks, set the table, wash and dry the dishes, etc.
  • Give food to chickens, cats and dogs
  • Be interested in all kinds of work and don’t be afraid of hard, physical commitment.
  • You will work with tools like machete, shovel, spade, pickax, hammer or with your bare hands, depending on what work you are doing. If you experienced, you can handle with other machine like electric saw, driller and so on.
  • Stay communicative and involve yourself in to group conversation.
  • The main language at PermaTree is Spanish, we will also speak with you in Spanish so you need to be able to understand and speak / converse in Spanish.
  • Ask questions if you are not sure. We welcome your interest!

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.

WORK
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 farm family setup! 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 farm projects or maintenance. We use shared facilities: kitchen; bathroom; manual 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 duties (such as: watering garden beds, flipping toilet compost, feeding animals, etc). Volunteers will also participate in meetings ranging from managerial tasks to personal feelings on sunday.

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.

To give you a even better insight check out our blog post; a week with PermaTree here and a detailed volunteer testimonial from Ojeme 4 weeks

Team work towards solutions!

We strongly encourage volunteer applicants who are serious about our work and are motivated to be part of our team, working towards solutions for current environmental and social challenges. – We do not allow you to use headphones or listen to podcast, music or any other distraction while working and volunteering at PermaTree.


Questions To Ask Yourself

Are you ready and willing to adapt to our rhythm of life in the tropics on our fruit farm? Are you ready for a new different reality to what you are most likely used to? Can you adapt your habits? Are you a fast learner? Be sure to agree to all PermaTree living agreements BEFORE arriving.

You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend. – Quote: Bruce Lee

We will share our daily family farm life here in paradise with you and for most people it will be harder than what they are used to. Are you ready for the challenge?

Be like a bamboo firmly rooted and strong but be ready at any time to be flexible with the power of the winds of a great storm. – Source: Zen philosophy

Are you about eco or ego? Do you care about all and everybody(adults, kids, babies, cats, dogs, chickens, insects, plants, soil, water, air, sun, moon and stars) as much as yourself? Or do you focus more about you and yourself. How do you tend to interact with new people? Do you wait for others to ask questions or are you proactive also in conversations?

The most helpful, effective, and happy participants are self-motivated, interested, responsible, and accountable.


What to expect

Our day begins at 6:00 a.m. (making breakfast) in the morning, so be prepared to get up early! After tropical fruit breakfast and feeding the animals (chickens, cat and dogs) we start with the daily Farm-Projects around 7:30 a.m. – until lunch. If there is time you will be asked to help in the kitchen. Or else take a quick shower before lunch. Lunch is about at 12 to 13 where we eat the biggest meal of the day and have time together for social interactions. Afternoon is mostly time for Farm-Projects OR if there are any then Self-Initiated-Projects which is a project out of your own ideas which can be implemented within Finca PermaTree. Dinner is mostly around 06:00 p.m. You will have no wifi-internet access at the farm. Sleep / rest time is usually from 09:00 p.m to 05:45.

Read our Volunteer Information Pack for more details
And the weekly task at PermaTree (PDF)


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. There is no such thing as waste only unused resources …
  • Health Diet – No Junk food, no sugar diet, no TV etc.
  • Eat tropical fruits you may have never heard or seen in your life
  • 24/7 ecuadorian Spanish Language practice
  • Family / Community living experience
  • Learn to work in a true humid tropical climate
  • Hands-on Tropical Permaculture experience
  • Develop communication 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.

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

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.

Food

We eat healthy, seasonal, local and partially organic and harvest as much of our food from the finca as we can. Very little meat/fish if ever (local). No Sugar. We all eat together and everybody is expected to help prepare and to share their food if they have something unique. Healthy Tasty Food.

As you know we have a holistic approach on everything we do. Also nutrition. So Vegetarian or Vegan or “frutarian” does not work. The holistic approach is labeled “flexitarianism“.


Where – Location

PermaTree is located, 68km northwest of the city of Zamora and 124km from the city of Loja on the “Troncal Amazonica (E45)” in Ecuador, South America.

We are in the tropical Amazon region. The climate is hot (30°C) and humid (85%). We have short rains from 1 to 3 times a day (precipitation is 2000mm annually). Rainy season is February- August and Dry season is September to January – normally … more details about the farm you can read here.

Arrive only during the DAY TIME!

(1) Let us know in advance when you arrive.
(2) Plan your trip well to us!
(3) We do NOT open the gate after 05:00 p.m., we live on a hill!

Please read the Information Pack how to get to us AND contact us before if you are not sure.


YOUR STAY – 3 day trial period

Keep in mind to let us know in ADVANCE when and for how long you would like to volunteer. For a better integration and learning, we require you to stay a minimum of one month. The first 3 nights sleeping outside of PermaTree. Only the lunch will be provided by us during the first 3 days. It’s in your interest to use the trial period to ask all questions which are not clear to you. After the 3 days TRIAL PERIOD we shall all know each other better and we and you – will decide if you stay at PermaTree with us. First day arrival at farm is at 07:00 sharp, in the morning. If you arrive later there will be no one to open the gate. KEEP IN MIND: You can only enter the farm during day time 07:00 to 17:45 with previous appointment. Its absolutely NOT possible during night!  

CONTRIBUTION

We currently do not receive any income from the farm, so we ask volunteers to cover some of the cost of buying and transporting food which is 10$ (USD) per day, per person, so that we can continue to offer opportunities to volunteers. We are not a hostal/hotel we keep the contribution to the minimum, so it stays affordable for most volunteers.

SELF INITIATED PROJECTS (SIP)

Volunteers come up with their own ideas which can be implemented within finca PermaTree. Example: Food recipes, Daily hacks / improvements, Planting crops and trees, Extracting and drying seeds, Blog post about specific topic. Each project needs a  duration estimation at the start: for example 3h or 4 days until finalized. The goal is to finalize the SIP during the stay. Ideally, one should write a DIY blog post with photos about your experience and motivation with your SIP. Self Initiated Projects are done in the afternoon.

ACCREDITATION 

For students looking to get academic credit for our internship program, please discuss the options available with your advisor or internship office. PermaTree does not currently have the ability to independently provide academic credit, but we are happy to work with your university to ensure all requirements are met by our program. We are happy to provide an evaluation of performance and complete any paperwork required by the university.

Minimum stay are 4 weeks. Apply only if you are 100% sure this place could be in your interesting! Read first testimonials of other Volunteers here and the FAQ.

For application, please fill out the contact form.


Contact

PermaTree
Yago and Bettina Veith
KM 741.5 Troncal Amazónico (E45)
Los Naranjos, Los Encuentros
Yantzaza, Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador

web: www.permatree.org
Contact Form
Instagram: permatree
Twitter: ThePermaTree
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnHkBjRZelc_FSQ-8Rooc9g

Volunteer photos

Volunteers at PermaTree in Ecuador

more photos here