Organic Agriculture Volunteer Program
Organic agriculture at the hacienda Picalquí
This week is both a separate program and also a part of our month long volunteer program. The length of time you decide to stay at the hacienda is flexible and we offer a for those with a month or more.
We invite you to spend an educational and enjoyable stay at our hacienda in Picalquí, set in beautiful, tranquil grounds with stunning panoramic views of the Andes.
Living in our fully equipped volunteer house (3 bathrooms, 2 with hot showers, kitchen/diner, sitting room with fireplace, 6 twin rooms) you can enjoy the sights and sounds of an Ecuadorian farm, in basic but comfortable accommodation.
With the workers as your neighbours there are plenty of opportunities to become part of our community, and partake in our daily lives around the farm. The pace can be fast or slow, but always enjoyable.
During the farm stay you can learn about organic agriculture, agro-forestry,
animal management (cows, pigs, llamas, guinea pigs etc.),
and the conservation of native forests. You will learn details of each
subject through daily practical experience and conversations with
our staff. Naturally the more time you spend with us the more you can learn. Please see page to learn more about our 20 hectare farm.
*Please note, our volunteer program
caters for those with experience in these subjects, and those without
who simply enjoy life in the countryside.
Below are examples of just a few tasks you
will perform during a typical week - your knowledge of each area will develop as the week progresses:
Organic Vegetable garden:
soil management, seed beds, natural pest control, worm compost, BIOL liquid fertilizers, crop rotation, medicinal plants
Tree nursery: prepare seeds and substrate, graft plants, transplant seedlings, learn the uses of different tree species, reforestation (according to the season)
The fields: use the "azadón" to cultivate the land, water crops, harvest fruit and vegetables, crop diversity, live fences
Guinea pigs: collect feed and sex them (as a traditional
meal, the "cuy" forms an important part of local culture)
Cattle: feeding and milking, collecting manure for composting and making cheese
The working timetable is approx 7.30am until 4pm with an hour for lunch, though this isn't rigid depending on work to be done and climate. After work volunteers frequently head to town for supplies or internet, read in the hammocks, cook, do laundary or play sport ( ).
The cost for this program is $70 per week self catering, with around 70% of your food being accessed from our our organic garden and chickens, the rest can be bought locally in Tabacundo (pasta, rice, flour, meat etc costing approx $3 a week), just 30 minutes on foot, 10 mins by bus.
The program runs from Monday morning through to Saturday morning, but you can use our facilities until Sunday.
The cost includes: facilities to cook your own breakfast lunch and dinner (independence is important for many of our volunteers as well as the chance to chomp on some fresh vegetables!), comfortable accommodation, and access to our gardens to harvest your own fresh, organic vegetables. We have over 50 varieties of fruit, vegetable and herbs to choose from; there is definitely something for everyone!
For an additional $15 we can provide lunches (total $85), or if you wish to be provided with all your meals there is an additional charge of $40 (total $110).
On Saturday we recommend either a trip to Otavalo's famous (just 30 minutes on the bus), or a hike up to (approximately 14 km each way). Additional night’s accommodation
at the hacienda can be arranged if necessary.
For those wishing to take we can arrange them for you during this week at the hacienda.
To contact former volunteers and learn about their experiences please follow the link to the