Next course in Organic Farming and Permaculture starts May 20th!

See the course description on the Rio Muchacho web site.


Ministry of Agriculture Visits Farm

Staff from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture visited the farm for a few days in September.  To help combat nutrition problems in children under five years old, the government in Ecuador is promoting and installing family vegetable gardens in private homes.  At Rio Muchacho, the participants learned about growing vegetables in the unique area of coastal area of Manabí.   Manabí–while very close to the Equator–is cloudy much of the year, resulting in a cooler climate than expected for such an area.  The farm was glad to share its expertise with the Ministry of Agriculture to support such a great cause!


Dario talks to Ministry of Agriculture participants in regards to humus and compost.

Next course in Organic Farming and Permaculture starts November 5!

See the course description on the Rio Muchacho web site.

August Course in Permaculture and Organic Farming

In August, the farm held another successful month-long course in organic agriculture and permaculture.  The course—held three times per year—covers a variety of topics such as the history ofindustrial agriculture, principles of organic agriculture, techniques and practices of organic agriculture, and permacultural principles and design. It is taught by Nicola Mears  and Dario Proaño, Farm Co-Managers, and included two days of lecture from permaculturalist Javier Carrera, of Red Semillas, and an impromptu lecture from Japanese environmental activisit Keibo Oiwa who was in town for a visit.

The next month-long permaculture course beings November 6!  Click here for more info.

Students preparing a bed in the garden for planting.

Making chocolate from scratch in the kitchen with cacao beans and panela (unrefined whole cane sugar).

Harvesting carrots in the garden.

Checking up on the worms making humus for planting.

Probio Meets at the Farm

At the end of August, Probio, an association of producers, consumers, organic markets and food box systems around Ecuador visited Rio Muchacho for a workshop on community-based verification of quality of organic production.  The workshop focused on discussion of ethics of performing the inspection, the inspector´s role in the process, and the standards for organic farming certification.

The participants even performed a mock inspection at Rio Muchacho in order to practice how to perform inspections during their daily duties. Some of the students commented that they were “unlearning” what they had learned as agricultural students at university.

The group enjoyed their last day of the training through an excursion to the big Matapalo tree and sharing organic meals together.

Keibo Oiwa Visits Rio Muchacho

On August 11 – 13 Rio Muchacho hosted Keibo Oiwa (Tsuji Shin’ichi), anthroplologist, environmental activist and president of the Sloth Club. Oiwa first visited Manabi soon after the destructive El Nino event in 1998.  At that time he was involved in initial discussions regarding the Bahia de Caraquez Ecocity. Oiwa was excited to be back as this was his first visit to the area in 10 years.

During his visit to the farm, Oiwa discussed the Sloth Slub and the “Slow Movement” with organic agriculture students.  The Sloth Club works to protect sloth habitat, and promotes the philosophy of people living like the sloth:  “doing less, living simply, minimizing our destructive impact and finding joy in our life without consuming an endless chain of meaningless things.”  Just like the sloth lives slow, so can people.  We can become the sloth.

Oiwa discussed how the current societal ideology of rushing as much as possible to create outputs that are “bigger, faster and better” is a mindset that can be changed.  Just as the sloth lives an appropriate pace for its well being, so can people live such lives in a sustainable culture.  To Oiwa, a sustainable culture has three basic aspects: 1) A local culture where people live at their own appropriate pace, 2) a communal culture where people respect the pace of others, and 3) an ecological culture where people live in harmony with the pace of plants and animals.

Oiwa´s philosophy fits well within the ideology of organic and local agriculture.  All at Rio Muchacho, humans and animals, were pleased to have him back at the farm.

Dario, Keibo and Nicola (with twins Florence and Raphael!)

A Conocer Puerto Lopez

Dario and Kelsey took a group of students on a field trip down the coast to Puerto Lopez. Four boys and four girls from the oldest class at Rio Muchacho Environmental School spent the day learning about the ecosystems of Ecuador, different types of wildlife and plants common in other areas.

It was a special experience for the children to travel to another city and visit another part of their country. They loved sampling coco helado and making “tortas de arena” on the beach!

Click through the photos to view in larger versions.


Seeking intern to help with baby care. There will be 2 three month old babies on the farm from mid-January. The intern can be involved in farm or school activities half the day and helping with babies the other half of the day.
Experience is useful and English as a first language preferred. Minimum commitment 4 months. Food and accommodation included, also cultural afternoons.
Please write to

Our vivero recently became a little more PEACEful…

Snapshots: Salsa lessons on the farm

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A little salsa, cumbia, bachata, merengue and reggaeton to pass the time…