Ecological Farming Volunteer

founded in 2004
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Coordinator | Charlie
Coordinator | Charlie
Reserve com a Flex Option! Escolha novas datas de partida ou mude para um programa de voluntariado diferente, sem custos adicionais.


Volunteer and expand your gardening knowledge
Help bringing economic investment, awareness, development as well as outreach to people in the farming community
Help establish brand new and sustainable smallholder cooperatives and partnerships
Work towards inspiring others to practice environmentally best farming practices
Relax in one of many riverside hammocks while watching the jungle life swing and sing around you
Volunteers support in the maintainance and running of an ecological farming project based here in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Food is in our family, it is in our culture, it connects us to nature. But do we know where our food is grown, how it is grown and by whom? The answer is Eco-Farming.

Our program with the EcoFarm is important because it helps bring economic investment, awareness, development and outreach to people in the farming community and the greater communities. Volunteers help farmers, by bringing outside knowledge, such as permaculture, and volunteers take away local knowledge. Volunteering with local people and projects nurtures a positive relationship between nationalities and an example of how volunteers can support and increase local economy. 

What is Eco-Farming?

Ecological Farming or more commonly known as Eco-Farming is a way of cultivating agriculture that places an emphasis on both the health of the environment and the health of its consumers. Long before conventional and modern agriculture practices had been put into place, people had farmed in an eco-friendly way. Besides producing healthy and safe-to-consume agriculture products, ecological farming also provides other benefits, such as minimized environmental pollution and contamination through agricultural activities, and maintenance of soil productivity and fertility in the long term. All of which add up to improved sustainable use of natural resources and of the environment.

Volunteers will assist with the day to day running and maintenance of a working ecological farm here in North Sumatra. The farm is owned by one of the Trusts longest standing project partners Ibu Erna. Erna's farm is a short walk away from our Hub in Gotong Royong and is in a picturesque location on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park. Erna established her Eco Farm over 10 years ago and has since been promoting environmental best practices in farming. The farm is in an exciting time of growth with a new compost house recently completed by volunteers and a range of new exciting elements coming soon. Erna aims to create a sustainable land management system to encourage economic growth and biodiversity. Erna's future plans include working with volunteers and people with knowledge of organic and permaculture farming, to develop school sessions at the farm, to open the farm to the public so thay can learn about the plants, their uses and medicinal properties. 


Volunteers stay at our Hub in gotong royong. You share dormitories with our volunteers on the other programs. Breakfast and lunch will provided. Volunteers will work on the farm for around 3 -5 hours a day, then return to the homestay for lunch with Erna and rest. The days are dynamic and work can range from general gardening, taking the animals, such as goats or sheep for a walk, picking fruit, recycling, composting and helping to bring local children to the farm and showing them around. Volunteers will work in collaboration with Erna on what projects she wants working on and work alongside Papa (Erna’s Husband) at the farm who speaks little English, but is extremely friendly and helpful. Volunteers do not have to bring anything, but gardening or growing vegetables books would be helpful. We expect this to be a fun learning experience. 

Preferable Skills

To have some gardening knowledge

To be able to work alone

To work on ones own initiative

To work within the local community

Willing to learn basic Bahasa Indonesian

We have five fixe placement dates throughout the year. Each placement is around 60 days, however some volunteers opt to join us for a second placement! 

Typical day

Volunteering at the Trust is no gap year holiday, our volunteers typically work from 08:00 to 18:00 on week days, and occasionally on weekends for training events and action days. We maintain an ethos of hard work and selfless commitment and all of our volunteers are here to serve the local community. However, that doesn’t stop us having a life changing experience whilst we are at it! A typical day starts at 07:00 with breakfast. On Mondays we have a Hub meeting where all of the staff and volunteers come together to plan the week ahead. Following this, you will begin your sessions. If you are placed on the ESL program, you may be teaching or assisting in Kindergarten, which begins at 08:30 or you may be teaching English classes in the afternoon, which start at 14:00. For conservation volunteers on the Youth Ranger, or YSE program, you will be delivering sessions in the afternoons, so the morning is your planning and preparation time, and for our amazing Eco Farmers you will be on the farm all day! Lunch is served at 13:00 each day, (our eco farmers have lunch at Erna’s Homestay). Weekends are your own, however occasionally, for example on events such as volunteer induction, phase review and volunteer debrief. You may also find that the Trust has arranged some incredible activities for your weekend (See section 6). On weekends when you are not walking with elephants trekking in the jungle or rafting down rivers you will have a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Sumatran culture and cuisine, with a range of guest houses, restaurants and even one bar Bukit Lawang has plenty to offer! 

Free-time activities

Literally meaning "door to the hills", Bukit Lawang is a small village situated 90 kilometers northwest of Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra, Indonesia.

The village is on the edge of the magnificent Gunung Leuser National Park, which is one of the richest tropical-rainforest ecosystems in the word, and home to the rare Sumatran orang-utans, as well as the Sumatran tiger, rhino and elephant, although sightings of these are very rare. The people here live basically and the river is still the focal point of village life here, running through the heart of it, where the people wash clothes, fish and the children play all day. 

It's very easy to while away a few days lounging in the many riverside hammocks, splashing about in the river, tubing and watching the jungle life swing and sing around you. The forests surrounding Bukit Lawang are part of the vast Gunung Leuser National Park which is an area of dense rainforest. The park as a whole is home to eight species of primate plus tigers, rhinos, elephants and leopards. However, aside from orangutans and various other primates, you are very unlikely to see any other large mammals here.

At the weekend there are innumerable places located nearby that are must see!


Batu Katak - A lovely village on the river and near waterfalls.


Tangkahan - Has an elephant camp where visitors can bathe elephants in the river. We support bathing them, and the projects but we do not support riding the elephants and hope you will share that belief with us.


Batu Rongring - A village off the beaten path where trekking awaits!


Berestagi - For long weekends or traveling before or after volunteers can visit this lovely town in the mountains and go trekking. It is a bit colder here and that makes it a popular place among locals and tourists!

Lake Toba - A beautiful island (Samosir) in the middle of the lake is home to waterfalls, hot springs, beaches, and more.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Interest in agriculture and sustainable farming solutions, environmentally conscious, use social media, website design,
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 18:00

Serviços incluídos

Services by Bukit Lawang Trust

We encourage all applicants to fundraise their volunteer fees to help raise awareness of the Trusts important conservation and education work. 

These fees cover the costs of accommodation food and transport throughout the placement, as well as bespoke training and support from our staff team. It also allows us to continue providing our volunteers with life changing cultural experiences such as Jungle Trekking, Walking with Elephants, Indonesian cooking lessons and a range of cultural workshops, all of which are built in to our placements!

We also cover the cost of your 60 day visa while you are working with the trust. 

Additionally your fundraising allows us to continue the vital conservation and education work we do here in North Sumatra! 

Airport Pickup at Kuala Namu International Airport

We provide pick up from Kuala Namu International Airport in Medan to our Hub in Gotong Royong where you will be staying. This is approximately a four hour drive in good weather, from the City Centre to the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park where we work! Our Volunteer recruitment team also provide support in arranging your flights and making sure you are in the right place at the right time to meet our pick up! 


Our volunteers on the Ecological Farming Program stay in one of our four dorm rooms within the Trust however there are hammocks on the roof and many volunteers enjoy their weekends in one of the outstanding guesthouses here in Bukit Lawang. The rooms are three beds to a room, spacious with WIFI and lockable doors. Each volunteer is given a key to their dorm, and the front door to the Trust. 

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Breakfast and Lunch is included in your volunteer fees, and in the evenings, on weekdays we have a cooking rota where we each cook for the whole team and eat together! this usually includes some excellent "extra curricular activities!!" after dinner. On weekends most volunteers prefer to eat in the village or along the river at one of the guesthouses for dinner. 

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Kuala Namu International Airport (KNO) in Kuala Namu. We assist you to find cheap flights to Indonésia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Indonésia provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Indonésia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Indonésia.

Datas & Custos


Details on arrival

The available dates for 2022 are; 

Orangutan Cycle: Friday 7th of January - Sunday 6th of March

Tiger Cycle: Friday 6th May - Sunday 3rd of July

Elephant Cycle: Friday 8th of July - Sunday 4th September

Leopard Cycle: Friday 9th of September - Sunday 6th of November

Rhino Cycle: Friday 11 November - Sunday 18th December

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
8 - 8 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
8 weeks (min. stay)
8 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$158 /week

A organização cobra as suas taxas em GBP. A tabela de preços em USD está sujeita a flutuação cambial. Bukit Lawang Trust informará o candidato sobre o preço final durante o processo de candidatura.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Bukit Lawang Trust during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Porquê reservar com Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World é a plataforma de comparação líder mundial para oportunidades de voluntariado internacional. Nós guiamos você através de um processo seguro e fácil de inscrição - incluindo todos os pagamentos necessários. Planejar sua próxima viagem significativa com o Volunteer World lhe dá acesso gratuito ao nosso:
Garantia de Qualidade
Elevados padrões éticos & impacto social transparente
Opção Flex
Altere a sua reserva sem custos adicionais
Garantia de Reembolso
Reembolsamos suas despesas caso Bukit Lawang Trust cancele sua viagem
Apoio & Mediação
Nós cobrimos suas costas, não importa o que aconteça.
Os nossos serviços são gratuitos!
Todas as despesas do programa são cobradas diretamente por Bukit Lawang Trust.

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Ecological Farming Volunteer

Volunteers support in the maintainance and running of an ecological farming project based here in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra!


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