Río Muchacho Organic Farm & School
The Río Muchacho Organic Farm is located in the Río Muchacho Valley on the Ecuadorian coast 30 km north of Bahía de Caráquez. The farm is located 8 km inland. Río Muchacho now plays an important role in the conservation efforts of Ecuador by researching and teaching about alternatives to conventional agricultural techniques and practices. Some current projects include the promotion of bio-gas, solar power, composting systems, worm culture, water recycling, reforestation and forage systems, permaculture, organic farming techniques and environmental tourism. In their local environment school, the neighbouring farmer’s children, students from all over Ecuador and farmers themselves learn about sustainable agriculture and lifestyle!
About the Organic Farm
Río Muchacho is not only a farm. It is a leader of sustainable agricultural production and a forerunner in the use of alternative energies and technologies. Because of this, the influence of Rio Muchacho reaches far beyond the compounds of their farmland.
For example, Rio Muchacho successfully implemented a paper recycling process in the city of Bahía de Cáraquez. Thanks to this and other similar projects, Bahía is now Ecuador’s first “ecociudad” – eco-city. However, Ecuadorian/New Zealand couple Dario Proaño and Nicola Mears, the founders of Rio Muchacho Farm want more than instant success. That is why they also invest in environmental education – in their own Environmental School as well as one in Baíha.
Rio Muchacho teaches classes to students of all ages and from all over Ecuador: classes going on field trips, environmentally-aware tourists, children of the neighbouring farms, and even the farmers themselves. The farm invests heavily in public environmental programs and does not receive support from foundations or the government. Therefore, Rio Muchacho can only maintain its current level of operation thanks to eco-tourism.
Rio Muchacho Environmental School
In 1993 the founders of the Organic Farm together with the community of Rio Muchacho created Ecuador’s first environmental primary school. The aim of the school is provide a broad education and raise students´ awareness of environmental issues. The school fosters an understanding of how future generations can manage their natural resources sustainably. It is supported by parents, tourists, friends, family, volunteers, and the Organic Farm.
What volunteers do
Volunteers at Río Muchacho work in agriculture, education and eco-tourism, and have a schedule similar to the family’s and farm workers’ schedules. The following is an overview of some of the tasks:
- nursery work, sowing seeds, filling bags
- reforestation work, planting, weeding, mulching, staking, pruning
- creation and maintenance of vegetable gardens
- compost making
- planting, harvesting crops
- work in the environmental school: teaching English, art, sport
- help in the preparation of food ( especially if you are interested in learning about local food)
- making banana circles
- simple construction and painting
- artwork, translating, preparation of info and materials for the school
- preparation for groups of visitors (groups of farmers from different parts of the country sometimes stay over night)
- feeding and caring for the animals
- feeding worms and separating worms from the humus
- weeding and applying liquid fertilizer
- planting sugar cane