Organic Farming in the Andes

Fundación Brethren y Unida - Andes

"This was just what I was looking for - the chance to get my hands dirty and work alongside local people in the Andes. The kids were wonderful, and I would love to come back in a couple of years and see how things are developing!"

This is a 60 year old organization with environmental education and the conservation of natural resources at the heart of its development policies, with it’s main roll as a facilitator of reforestation and sustainable agriculture projects within various communities. The head quarters are at a 20 hectare hacienda where organic and agro-ecological practices are applied to a large vegetable garden, blackberry plantation, a tree nursery producing thousands of native trees for reforestation, as well as grazing fields for cattle.The foundation has a historic place in Ecuador’s development history, having managed projects all over Ecuador and being a leader in development work back in the 70’s. Times are tougher in the development world now and recognizing this reality the FBU has worked hard in the last 10 years to position itself as a self financing institution, with long term funding of its own development activities.

Range of tasks:
Through FBU, there are a variety of specific programs for volunteers
  • Organic Agriculture Program: minimum one week – a few months, you live in a volunteer house (with shower, cooking facilities, dining/sitting room) and learn about organic agriculture, agro-forestry, animal management of cows, pigs, llamas, guinea pigs, and the conservation of native forests. You will work closely with your supervisor and working in the vegetable garden, tree nursery, cultivation fields, and with animals.
  • Cultural Exchange Program: This program starts with one week of the organic agriculture program on the FBU farm with activities listed above. The next three weeks are spent living with an Ecuadorian family in a rural Andes community. The emphasis for the homestay is the exchange of culture and customs, so volunteers follow the daily routine of the family and learn about the traditions and daily lives of these campesino families.  Some activities could include working on the land, harvesting fruits and vegetables, managing farm animals, doing community work, working in reforestation, helping teaching in the school or in construction.
  • Rural Teaching Program: This month program starts with a few days or less, depending on the volunteers interests, learning about the FBU,agricultural farming and some background to the teaching programme. Thenthree weeks or more in a local school living with a local family. Theschools have normally 20-55 students in one or two classrooms between theages 4-11.  As a volunteer you will work with the teacher in all subjects,as well as in teaching English and computer tutoring.
  • Long term volunteering: This includes a minimum of 2 months living on the hacienda and working in the organic farm. Here you will learn more in-depth about organic farming and work in projects in reforestation.
Time commitment:
One week for organic agriculture, one month for cultural exchange or teaching
spanish level:
Beginner for organic agriculture, Intermediate or cultural exchange and high intermediate for teaching.
Work schedule:
To be determined with FBU
Prices vary, depending on type of accommodation and time of stay.
Skills required:
Interest in agriculture and conservation, commitment, and ability to do physical labor. Specific skills needed depending on project of interest.
Accepted donations:
Check with Yanapuma staff for current needs