Monday, September 05, 2016
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Update for farm volunteers
Community living in paradise!
Location: Valle Chirusco, Barrio Tumianuma de Vilcabamba, Loja, Ecuador
Minimum Stay: 2 weeks
Languages: Spanish, English, a little of almost all others and the unspoken languages we all share
See more photos and like our Facebook page, also at neverlandfarm.org
Neverland farm biodynamic community and farm
"Living amongst people who are sharing and loving life communally!"
This is the Deal
Neverland accepts students, interns, apprentices, volunteers and families from all over the world. Volunteering at Neverland isn't a 'number of work hours required' kind of place, nor a business that has volunteers. You will be expected to live and laugh and work and play, sharing this community as a member for the time you are visiting. We eat meals communally. We share food and kitchen privileges, and economic booms and crashes. Everyone participates in the daily activities of a small but busy rural Ecuadorian farm. The farm does much outreach to the local community, teaching and with lots of hard work in service to our local community (built a preschool classroom, participated in building new church tower, community center w free internet and agricultural resource center, multi use sports courts, going to neighboring farms to make compost and work organically, helping other abled neighbors get to medical resources...).
And there is always something to do on the farm, large orchards to care for and harvest, gardens to be weeded, pastures to be weeded, goat and cow milking, making cheeses, producing amazing meals, working with horses, burros, pigs and chickens, did i mention some weeding?! Its an experience in sustainable and shared community and life.
The farm is a unique and popular place for the backpacker, student, intern, and small non-mechanized farmer, a sort of hybrid agro-eco-café-philanthropo-voluntarism. Our housing is rustic, but comfortable, and we have wifi in one location for students to keep up and everyone to write home and stay in contact. Unless there's an urgent daytime need, I prefer Internet and wifi use to happen after 5 pm, anytime on weekends. Each day we have help in learning how to work in the cafetales and garden fields. We harvest fruits, garden produce and keep a small herd of milking goats to sustain the farm folks. We share our production with our neighbors. Those who come here learn about the old way of agriculture: no machines (oops, not completely true, we now have a weed whacker and a chain saw), we are completely 100% off grid, gravity fed water systems, solar wifi repeater, we use profound conservation practices. And lots of language practice. It’s not unusual for conversations at our lunch to table to take place in 5-6 languages. We’ve had up to 14 nationalities represented at once, so Neverland farm is also a community and shared living experience. We keep our price as low as possible and try to not charge at all for Ecuadorians, so that everyone can learn about living and sharing life, laughter, work and fun in an off grid sustainable manner. This has been happening for more than 17 years. I’ll never get rich like this, but my life is one of joy and abundance.
The farm is located in Tumianuma in the parish of Vilcabamba in the province of Loja, Ecuador. We are exactly located in the Valley of Chirusco, on either side of the quebrada (year round creek) Condorhuana (quichua for where the condors live). We have waterfalls and nice cold water natural jacuzzis in several places. We are rich in water! We also have a great outdoor hot shower.
The farm has a large community kitchen, fully stocked with stainless and cast iron pots and pans and baking pans- everything needed to prepare fabulous food for many! Our houses are mostly outdoorsy, very rustic, truly nothing to write home about, but we ONLY sleep there! The rest of the time we are outside- in the fields or the creek, at the kitchen or milking the cow or goats... Outdoor showers and bathrooms, composting and flush! We were nominated for best poo with a view for 2013!
We ask all volunteers to participate economically, currently the minimum donation is at 35 usd a week. This helps maintain the farm for all and keeps us in hot water, great food and clean linens and keeps our community service work going as well. We eat like royalty most days. Ecuadorians are especially encouraged to visit and we can often offer economic assistance for them.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Saturday, September 20, 2014
A Free Day!
I've had a rough couple of last months. Some pretty negative stuff that I wish wasn't happening and haven't been able to avoid. As it turns out though, I got a lot done that needed doing, and that I had been putting off, so the 'every cloud has a silver lining' thing applies! I really don't like spending days on end getting paperwork done in Loja. The systems here are small scale for a lager scale population, and have to handle too much work, everything is just soooo slow. Circumstances have forced me to go and get it done. I missed being home in my own bed and on the farm! But perhaps some of this time in town lately has at least been productive, although I would have appreciated a gentler prodding to get off my ass and get papers in order!
Which makes today special! I have a that rare day with no obligations elsewhere. A day off! I've had really good French toast for breakfast- home made bread with fresh ground wheat, sweet butter and goats milk and farm eggs and organic sugar cane panela. Fresh ground cafe, also with goats milk. I milked the goat early. Morty and Gladys, our piggies, have been fed and cared for, I've gotten salt to our cow and big calf, the dogs have been fed. I'm writing this blog to all of you from the comfort of my super sofa and then shutting down the internet for the day. What shall I do?!
A nice long soak in a sweet spot at the creek and dry off in the sun, washing the dogs might be a good idea. Wish I could wash the CAT! Tinks a flea bag just now, he needs to get cleaned up. Wash the cat. Maybe not the ideal day off activity...
Read a book, take a nap in our new hammock. Go stare at the micro hydro electric- this is actually a joy in my life! We need to make some fixes and changes, but it's sooooo cool!
Neverland farm is now open to visitors, we have room and plenty to do. Our veggie production is way down, we are buying off the farm, and planting. We are planting thousands of baby cafe trees on the farm and at neighbors farms these days, participating in a ministry of agriculture project. It seems the little winter rains (our planting rains) may come early this year, so we have to be cultivating and getting space ready for seed! We have plenty of fruit, probably another few weeks til avocados are ripening.
A day off paradise! Come and join us, sharing laughter, lives, work, and community! Off to the creek go I!
Saturday, May 17, 2014
ORGANIC CAFE GROWERS WE BE!
We had an extremely productive day with the ministry of Ag consultant here Tuesday demonstrating the making of an herbal foliage feed /fertilizer, made with only grown on the farm aromatic herbs. We finished with an hour long BD stir to help activate those herbs, which our Ing Luis really liked. Then everyone learned to take soil samples as a US scientist has offered us detailed analysis for all participants in our group. Really happy day- 12 Ecuadorian participants, 4 foreigners. As much as I like and need foreigners here to support this vision and community service work, I have to admit I love these numbers! The next session isJune 10 if any of you folks want to attend and learn some cafe growing skills. We will be reviewing our compost mixes and planning and demonstrating cafe planting. There will be discussion on planting areas and permaculture design aspects of creating a permaculture cafe plantation. This a monthly thing for the local people that I'm hosting, and using as a perfect opportunity to introduce Organics, Permaculture, and BD concepts to our neighborhood cafe group. Having the Engineer lecture and allow me join in discussions with my neighbors about how to avoid chemicals and be true to nature, and demonstrating organic methods that they have to do on their own land to continue to participate has been a dream come true. Attendance has been increasing monthly and I feel that we are all truly learning together. And learning much more than cafe planting! We are creating a team, we are supporting each other in word and deed. I am loving it!