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 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.
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 Ecuador.
Current open volunteer positions are:
- All-round motivated volunteer
- Talented Paint/Artist volunteer
- Talented Author/Blogger volunteer
- Experienced Compost volunteer
- Talented Carpenter volunteer
- Talented Video & Photo 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Platains 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.
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.
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 bend 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?
Please think well about your answers and don’t fool yourself. At the end we want happy and committed volunteers and you want to have the experience of your lifetime.
The most helpful, effective, and happy participants are self-motivated, interested, responsible, and accountable.
If you are looking for a place to chill or to party or plan the next steps of your trip or listen podcasts all day or take long hot showers or eat vegan or eat diary, then PermaTree is definitively the wrong place. For us all of the daily meals are literally highlights of the day with many tasty and healthy fresh local dishes where we share and exchange our thoughts together.
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 rare internet access from 19:00 to 20:00. Sleep / rest time is usually at 09:00 p.m.
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.
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 Finca 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.
Where – Location
PermaTree is located in the “Los Naranjos” neighborhood, “Los Encuentros” village, canton Yantzaza, province of Zamora Chinchpe, 68km northwest of the city of Zamora and 124km from the city of Loja on the “Troncal Amazonica (E45)” nacional road heading to “El Pangui” / “Gualaquiza”.
We are 3 hours from Loja or 6 to 8 hours from Cuenca, Ecuador (Busdrive). 2 Min. from the little town “Los Encuentros” KM 741.5 Troncal Amazónico (E45), in the neighborhood «Los Naranjos» on the other side of the “Chiringuito” Hosteria. We are in the 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 …
Arrive only during the DAY TIME.
Let us know in advance when you arrive. Plan your trip well to us! 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 or 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! The entry gate says in big letters “FINCA YANTZA” above a blue metallic roof.
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.
Before you apply, read carefully our Information Pack and be aware that farming can be challenging work. 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 here or email.
Yago and Bettina Veith
KM 741.5 Troncal Amazónico (E45)
Los Naranjos, Los Encuentros
Yantzaza, Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador
phone: Please ask us
more photos here