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Guatavita
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 2
Persons: 2
Category: Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 12761
Country: Colombia

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Last Updated: October 7, 2019

We are located just outside the beautiful pueblito of Guatavita, one and a half hours north of Bogota by bus, surrounded by mountains and sacred lakes. It has a cool climate, early morning mist and clear starry nights, and at times we get rain, wind and perfect sunny weather all in the same afternoon. We are just across from Tomine Lake, and the famous Laguna de Guatavita (the volcanic lake which gave birth to the El Dorado legend) is only a two hour hike away.

We grew up in the city, but after travelling for a time, I realized that the campo is where I want to be. We want to help change the relationship between people and the land – we don’t need monocrops, pesticides and toxic fertilizers to live well. We want to encourage more traditional farming systems, based on permaculture and biodynamic principles, and drawing from the long-practiced wisdom of established farming communities like this one. I am also involved with a bunch of social projects, including University courses, TEDx, The Pollination Project, Cinetico, Th1nk and SOLE (links below), which means that I cannot spend all of my time at La Juanita with my volunteers, but also that I can explain the fascinating things that we are achieving through these organizations.

The projects here are always changing (which means you have the opportunity to learn about more things). Firstly, there is the farm – we have several different gardens growing a variety of produce, including many plants that you may not have seen before. We nurture the soil, we don’t destroy it, and if you come here you will be able to learn about enriching the soil while you use it. Volunteers will need to feed the two dogs, the cat, the four sheep and the chickens (as well as the baby chicks when we have them), and look after the gardens. This is a great opportunity to learn all there is to know about a small scale farm, like the needs of different animals, and the most effective organic techniques for growing plants.

Sometimes I will be working in Bogota and you will need to work on your own with the daily chores (like feeding the animals), and with whichever projects need to be done around the property at the time. In the past, volunteers have helped build a pizza oven, create compost systems, plant seedlings, helped me to prepare salves and natural medicinal oils, help with constructing and restoring the second house we have on the property, reconstruct a wall with natural materials, build chicken tractors, and many other things. In the future, we hope to renovate the second house, create a food forest, continue with creating an effective permaculture system that others can learn from, and make this property the best it can be.

We also functions as a guest house, and sometimes we have guests come to stay on the weekends. If you would like experience in running a BnB, or if you like to cook, you are very welcome to come and learn about this process. Having guests is also a great way for you to practice your Spanish, and my wife and I love to help volunteers to learn Spanish while they are here.

We have a loft inside the main house where volunteers sleep with warm comfortable beds. We eat delicious, healthy food, using as many ingredients from the garden as we can. The womens’ co-op down the road sells milk fresh from the cow every day. Volunteers work about five days a week, about five hours a day, depending on what projects we are working on. I have a great collection of books on permaculture and farming in Spanish and English, and I am happy to answer any questions you have about the place. We have hot water, laundry facilities and wifi. We share the cooking duties.

If you are an independent, organised and self motivated volunteer (or couple) who has an interest in learning how to maintain an organic farm (or how to run a guesthouse), and if you can work well on suggested projects, and have your own ideas for some new projects around this place, then we would love to hear from you.

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