Organic Farming Summer Program
We are increasingly disconnected from nature, and in particular, from the sources of our food. Today, many of the foods that characterize a typical Western diet come from a global supply chain, which has produced devastating effects on our economy, our health, and the environment.
In this Sustainable Summer program…
- You’ll learn fascinating facts, like why many of the foods we eat are really just processed corn and why the earthworm may be the most important organism on the planet.
- You’ll learn practical skills like, how to plant and maintain a garden and how to compost your food waste at home.
- You’ll consider political challenges to agricultural sustainability in a global context, like how government subsidies and biofuel programs have put 1.5 million farmers in Latin America out of work, many of whom are now working illegally in meat packing plants in the US.
- You’ll examine the ecological impacts of our global food system, which accounts for substantial greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy usage, land degradation, pollution, and public health issues.
Your Sustainable Summer experience will span from the shimmering Pacific to the majestic Andes. This program begins in the Pacific Coast village of Puerto Lopez, the gateway to Machalilla National Park and Isla de la Plata (the ‘mini-Galapagos) where we’ll get acquainted to Ecuador, and to each other, during a two-day orientation.
Next, we’ll travel up the coast to Bahia and participate in a two-day reforestation initiative before continuing on to the Rio Muchacho Organic Farm, for a multi-day organic farming course. This region was heavily impacted by a major earthquake in April 2016, but the community is resilient and committed to sound environmental practices. Sustainable Summer has been working with Rio Muchacho to build a Parque Ecologico (eco-park) aimed at making sustainability and environmental education accessible to people throughout the community with the goal of continuing the region’s place as an environmental leader within Ecuador.
Our study of sustainable agriculture production will continue at our next destination in the western slope cloud forest community of Mashpi where we will be learning from local artisans and food producers who are pioneering new models of sustainable production and consumption, and meeting with leaders of a grassroots effort to reform agricultural production in the Andean nations.
Finally, we will venture into the backroads of the Andean highlands, where we’ll spend a few days at the Black Sheep Inn, a world renowned eco-lodge focused on ‘permaculture’ and community-owned tourism.
Our Ecuador: Seeds of Change program has a special emphasis on agriculture and is a great option for students that have an interest in organic farming, gardening, food justice, and related areas. We will visit commercial-scale agriculture operations that are exporting products such as cacao and bananas to US markets. We will learn how government policies and business interests influence local production at all scales. We will actively investigate alternative models of food production at a number of locations throughout the program. We will also learn about the connections of agriculture production to other sectors, and learn about a wide range of local-scale renewable energy sources from biodigesters to micro-hydro to passive solar that are being implemented in “closed loop” systems.
We’ll make sure there’s ample time for fun and adventure in between and alongside the educational components. A few examples include epic snorkeling and whale watching at Isla de la Plata, hiking around the iconic Laguna Quilatoa, and much more.
Not sure if this is the right option for you? Use our Compare Programs page to help you assess which Sustainable Summer is the best fit for your interests and comfort zone.