Costa Rica

Agro-Ecological Farm Project

Organic Farming, Forest Conservation, Environmental Education


Placement fee: $975

Volunteers may apply to work with at a "agro-ecological" farm located in the area of Cartago, Costa Rica (about 1 hour southeast of San José). The farm consists of 13 hectares (approx. 32 acres) of land, some deforested and some containing tropical forest.

The project consists of 6 main areas:

1.) Organic farming/gardening and composting.

2.) Working with farm animals. The farm has chickens, ducks, goats, cows and horses.

3.) Forest conservation. The farm has a "vivero" (tree nursery) for reforestation. Seeds of native trees are collected and planted in to grow saplings, which are later replanted in desired areas.

4.) Environmental education. Local children come to the farm to participate in environmental education classes, activities and games. Classes and activities are sometimes offered at the schools. Local teachers also come to the farm for training in teaching environmental education.

5.) Agro-forestry workshops for local farmers. The Cartago area has been heavily deforested for agricultural purposes and chemical fertilizers and pesticides are widely used. The farm offers workshops to interested farmers to introduce environmentally friendly agricultural alternatives.

6.) Language School. Volunteers may improve their skills in Spanish language by taking classes at the farm with local, native-speaking instructors.

Volunteers may be involved in any or all projects. The farm is also working cooperatively with the surrounding communities to develop a recycling program.

Room & board: Volunteers pay $7 per day for meals and lodging. Lodging is provided in a comfortable but basic bunkhouse/dormitory. There is running water, indoor plumbing and electricity. The main meal (lunch) is prepared for volunteers. Volunteers prepare their own breakfasts and dinners (no additional food costs for breakfasts and dinners).

Family stay option: The project can arrange for a volunteer to live with a local host family. The cost is $15 per day, which includes lodging and 3 meals per day.

Requirements:

- Volunteers should be prepared for physical labor, and interested in integrating into the daily life of a small rural community.

- A background in Spanish language is helpful, but not necessary. Most volunteers participate with the goal of improving their Spanish skills during their stay. As mentioned above, volunteers may take Spanish classes at the farm and there are many opportunities to interact and make friends with Costa Ricans who live in the immediate area.

- Volunteers should feel comfortable living in a rural area, with basic accommodations.

- A minimum time commitment of 2 weeks is appropriate. Longer stays are preferred.

Contact us with any questions regarding this placement.

 

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