Note: Yes, we are currently accepting volunteers.
Want to learn about permaculture and volunteer your time to a worthy cause?
If you're interested in coming, please fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire here.
The important question, as a visitor, do you have to work, how much, and in which areas?
Nope, you don't have to. We welcome people who intend to be an observer/guest.
Some people find it to be a great idea to take a long fast in a supportive, nature-based environment, in the warm weather, but do not want to throw money on a costly retreat.
Or, you have an extensive work schedule online and cannot commit to volunteer hours but you are considering to join the community as a co-owner in the future and want to observe the dynamics.
In this case we offer a Guest option - staying with us in a basic shelter and participate in community luasure activities.
Financial Contribution - 250$ a month. The money is allocated to improving living conditions of our volunteers.
If you are coming to Volunteer your time, co-create, and ideally also considering to join the community as a co-owner in the future or stay with us as a long-term volunteer.
We need help in all areas of the community life.
We allow you to take the time, observe, try different things, and find out for yourself what area calls you - usually this is where you can clearly see an opportunity to improve, and have ideas how to be beneficial. That's where inspiration and giving from the heart are born! Of course, it's possible to share your time in between a few different projects.
Typically we ask for 20 hours of work a week, which leaves plenty of time for beach days, exploring the town nearby, participating in leasure activities like ectatic dance, yoga, sharing circles, singing/poetry nights, etc... within the community or outside, it's up to you! There are many events in the town nearby, and it's up to the PuraFruta group what we want to have in the community.
Often we work more than 20 hours a week on the community projects, especially the members, as there is so much that needed to be done! In this case we write down our extra hours and save them for a time we would like to take time off the community, or use those hours to get help from the community on our private lots with big projects like building, or even receive a monetary equivalent in the future.
If you need some time off, likewise there is an option to take a break and add your hours on a later occasion.
If you want to stay long-term as a resident/community member, you must start by first volunteering for three months. After that you may become a resident, and after 4 months as a resident, you may become a community member. Note that at any point during this process, you have the opportunity to buy land in the community and start your own homestead.
If you would rather volunteer remotely, read more here.
We only accept volunteers who are vegan (not only plant based), as this is a vegan community. We may sound dogmatic but we really are fed up with having to explain why it's wrong to torture and kill other beings... We also only accept volunteers who have experience in / are interested in a raw food diet, and are able to mostly abstain from cooked foods, and consume primarily raw foods while they are here, as this is another important community value of ours. Usually volunteers and residents here are eating all raw foods. The main idea is to have a SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT.
- Receive instruction and workshops and participate in group activities based around the following topics: Care of fruit trees, mulching and soil health, soil amendments, biochar, compost systems, ground covers and other companion plants, planning tree placement, tropical fruit varieties and requirements of specific trees, basic banana care, basic papaya care, vegetable gardening in the wet tropics and more.
- Can eat food produced from the farm for free, but anything beyond that must be purchased from local markets or neighboring farm. We usually do a weekly community produce order to make it easy. Volunteers should expect to spend between $20 and $80 per week on food, but that depends on their personal tastes and spending habits.
- Work in a group on most days, though you will have the opportunity for solitary tasks if you desire.
- Receive a set list of tasks, feel free to clear them off the list, (on the Trello task management app) including instruction on how to do them. We regularly have group activities and encourage people to work together.
- Receive a curated list of training videos regarding the permaculture techniques we use here. In addition to the videos, you receive hands-on instructions.
- Pay $100/month which includes a raised platform with roof for a tent and the usage of facilities and kitchen, , and all instruction/workshops
- Pay $50/month if you choose to live under a tarp *no raided platform
- Generally stay up to 3 months as a volunteer. After that, volunteers can either leave, or ask to become a longer-term community resident.
- Pay a $100 security deposit, which is returned after your stay. Note that if you stay for less than a month, $50 of that will be kept as a donation to the community (it is difficult for us to accommodate short-term volunteers due to the training required for various farm tasks.)
What to Bring
- Rubber calf-length "wellington"-style boots are necessary. Local hardware stores sell them for around $10/pair, unless your size is 44 (European size) or higher, in which case you'll have to look in a bigger city to find that size.
- Flashlight or headlamp (something like this)
- Long-sleeve pants and shirts (good in the evening when there are gnats)
- Work clothes and work gloves
- Sun hat, bandannas or handkerchiefs
- 1-2 sheets and 2 thin blankets (nights can get to 15C in wet season, usually are 17-19C.)
- If you are volunteering you might need to bring your own bed sheets and sleeping matt, please arrange with us beforehand to use some of ours if we will have some available.
- Good socks (calf-length, to prevent the rubber boots from rubbing on your bare ankles)
- Natural fiber clothing performs better here than synthetics. Sometimes, light-colored synthetics get mildew really easily whereas cotton, linen, or hemp don't.
- Please bring your own biodegradable soap/shampoo/etc. Do not bring any chemical/synthetic/non-biodegradable soaps or personal hygiene products.
- A quality daypack/small rucksack for going on long hikes/buying fruit from town/etc
- Basic personal first aid kit (including this for certain insect bites or illnesses.
- If you like going off in the jungle, a water-resistant walkie-talkie with standard CB frequencies
- Quality pocketknife (something like this)
- Feel free to bring a book to donate to the Pura Fruta library! We have a start of a collection, but we could really use the following titles:
- Fruitarianism: The Path to Paradise by Anne Osborne
- Any raw gourmet recipe books (i.e. 101 Frickin' Rawsome Recipes)
- Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner
- The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle
- Any field guide or nature book (wildlife, birds, insects, etc) related to Ecuador or Southeast Ecuador.
- Any survival or wildcraft books (rope-making, metalworking, basket weaving, emergency first aid, etc.)
- Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna
- This Is Your Brain On Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe
Some don't have a problem with bugs, but some newcomers to the area are bitten by gnats/no-see-ums heavily. There are not many mosquitoes. You may wish to bring a mosquito net which is sufficient for no-see-ums. The gnats like ankles and wrists, and the majority of bites can be avoided by simply wearing long sleeves and socks during the times of day that they come out (early morning, early evening, during/after a rain). Natural essential oils are effective (such as citronella, lemongrass, etc) The temperature here is comfortable enough to wear long sleeves during that time with no issue.
What We Provide
We have a limited number of foam mattresses, but you should bring your own blanket/sleeping bag + sleeping pad. Most of the time people will stay in tents. You may rent a tent and foam camping pad from us for $1/night during your volunteer stay, but you really must check with us first for availability.
While we like to hope that everyone is responsible, on rare occasions, people break things and do not offer to replace them, or steal things when they leave. To prevent community loss, we charge a $100 security deposit to any newcomer. You receive this deposit back when you leave. If you stay less than one month, you will get $50 back when you leave, and the remaining $50 will be considered a donation.
Work generally falls into one of these categories:
Agriculture/Permaculture - Planting trees, maintaining trees, clearing weeds by hand and with machete, mulching, planting, pruning, vegetable garden work.
Social Media - Help us make more videos and photos for our different social platforms.
Construction of eco-buildings - Outhouses, cabins, et cetera.
Above-listed group activities with instruction and guidance.
Permaculture technique tour - Walk around and see our techniques in action.
Biochar Workshop - Make your own biochar and learn about its magic.
Curated instructional videos - We've selected (and made) some videos on permaculture topics that will give you the foundation of knowledge you need to get started.
Community Living - Learn the secrets of living a communal life, including shared environments, communla child education, conflict resolution methods, stewardship of resources, et cetera.