* This is a preliminary itinerary. The final itinerary may change a little based on the needs of our partners and new opportunities which present themselves. This should give you a really good idea of what the program will look and feel like.
Day 1-3: Orientation in Quito
Our program starts in Ecuador's cosmopolitan capital of Quito. Following airport pickups, we'll get settled into our own little corner of the city's "centro historico" and get acclimatized to the sights, sounds, and smells of the region. We'll learn the lingo with the Yanapuma Spanish School, an incredible social enterprise that also works to promote education and community-based development in Ecuador. After class, we'll scavenge the local markets, taste sweet canelazo, chow down on delicious patacones, and maybe take a salsa lesson on La Ronda.
We'll also begin to explore the fight for food justice at its roots. So, get ready to unpack Ecuador's colonial history and see where culture, ecology and cuisine all come together!
Day 3-5: Putting the "Culture" Back in Agriculture in Tabacundo
Next, we'll take a little trip up to the town of Tabacundo where we'll meet la Fundación Brethren y Unidad or FBU for short. Here, Alfredo and his team have been a leader in community-based development and sustainable food production since the 1970s. For 2 days, we'll get to work alongside our friends on a quiet 20-hectare hacienda and get the dirt on organic farming and agro-ecology. They'll definitely have a thing or two to teach us in their large vegetable garden, blackberry plantation, tree nursery, and animal pastures. Plus, we'll get the chance to eat delicious food and learn how these projects reflect a unique form of resistance and cultural revindication for Indigenous communities in Ecuador.
Day 5-7: Food Forests in Santo Domingo
About a four-hour bus ride from Quito is the province of Santo Domingo on Ecuador's pacific slope. We'll spend our time here learning about the power of ecotourism with our friends at the Yanapuma Foundation, who work shoulder to shoulder with the community-based tourism centre Shino pi Bolon in the Bua community. This group of Indigenous Tsa'chila are working to preserve their cultural heritage through small-scale community tourism and sustainable agriculture.
We'll get back to the basics as we stay with local families or community lodges, eat hearty home-cooked meals and continue to get our hands dirty. We'll taste cacao fresh out of the pod and learn to grow a food forest - literally a forest of food! This is our opportunity to exercise our inner farmers and really immerse ourselves in Tsa'cila culture!
Day 7-9: Disorientation with the Bees at Bee Farm Shunku
To complete our journey, we'll pay a visit to a little known family farm and apiary called Shunku. This husband-wife team have dedicated themselves to saving Ecuador's bees and to preserving its once pristine highland forests. In their kind company, we'll kickback, relax, and re-acclimatize to the highlands. When we're not reading a book in our own little bunkies on the farm, we'll play in the dirt, grow some veggies, talk conservation, or even join Gabriela in the apiary to learn how to make that delicious sticky syrup called honey.
Then, after recharging our batteries and reflecting on how to bring the food revolution home, we'll head back to Quito where our adventure started and say a fond farewell!