Water and a Forest for Every Village
Water and a Forest for Every Village This area in Southern Ecuador has one of the highest rates of biodiversity in the world, but has suffered significant damage from deforestation over the last 25 years. Without intervention, it could be a desert in the next 25 years.We have created a strong model with innovative water conservation techniques that have a track record for healing damaged eco-systems—see the video! With your help, we can scale our model, create jobs, train trainers & implement rainwater-harvesting design for this valley and beyond.
The project will help:
1. Conserve water & re-charge springs and aquifers
2. Increase production & create income for local farmers and workers
3. Support reforestation & have a stabilizing effect on the rain-water cycle and climate
Why is this project relevant to you now?
1. This area has one of the highest counts of biodiversity in Ecuador, and thus, the world. Climate warming could have a greatly increased effect on species loss here.
2. Ecuador’s continued prohibition of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) makes it an important GMO-free living seed bank, with potential to provide GMO-free seed to the rest of the world. In South, Central and North America, only Ecuador and Venezuela have maintained bans on GMOs.
3. This project, rather than being funded by governments or large NonGovernmentalOrganizations (NGOs), is being funded by direct grassroots action via crowdfunding, that is, it is funded by you and me.We need to start supporting what is breaking through via what is breaking down in the current system.
This photo is a picture of before/and after a water retention landscaping project in the Loess plateau in China. The results are miraculous.Our project is following this model of incentivized implementation.
See our video! It shows how this simple and accessible low-tech method can conserve water so reforestation can succeed. https://youtu.be/5dPOJRxEYiA
More details about how the project will work
Once the retreat place for Incan royalty, Vilcabamba is much-loved throughout Ecuador and is renown as having one of the highest rates of longevity world-wide. It is now suffering from climate change and deforestation. Because of its fame, a success here could ripple far and wide. That’s what we’re designing for.
We have a good model in place on our farm—“Finca Vida Verde“, which some refer to as a one acre wonder. From across the Vilcabamba valley, it is eye-catching because it is greener!
Applying the rain-harvesting methods to the one acre we have recently purchased below our land, will allow us to improve our model, and we will support two larger models.
We are opening the opportunity for our new acre to become a small land-based cooperative with three home-owners that collaborate in expanding our eco-school. And, we are budgeting to support two larger models in the range of 20 hectares to 500 hectares. These models, as they green up, will help inspire water-retention landscaping to become a local trend.
We will train trainers to provide basic education in water harvesting and water retention landscaping in 3-day workshops which will provide protocols and guidelines such as width and depth of the canals relative to slope. The workshops will be offered through local organizations such as water boards and farmer’s associations. The trainers will support participants through the implementation phase, which will offer incentives in this way—for every 30 meters of contour water-retention canal they dig, the project will pay for another 30 meters to be dug. Based on the training they have received, the farmers will present a design plan that must be approved by two trainers. Properties will be screened re: appropriate soil/ slope/ and the location’s potential to affect weather patterns favorably.
Vilcabamba is in the rain shadow of the Andes of Southern Ecuador. It is a crossroads of Ecuador’s three main eco-zones—the coast, the Andes mountains and the Amazonian lowlands. Accordingly, it has one of the highest counts of biodiversity in Ecuador, and thus, the world. We are dedicated to supporting the diversity of medicinal plants and food crops on our model farms.
What can one person do? Back in the ’80s, when I was new to the environmental movement, and I first learned about the rate of rain-forest destruction, my OMG !#^! response uprooted me and plopped me down in the African rain-forest for 2 years of field work as a Peace Corps volunteer. My project design was used as a model for a $2.5 million project by the European Union. I learned that sometimes…….if you strategize, dig in, do what you love, open your mind and heart, and keep building relationships at all levels……stuff can happen. The pendulum swings. Crusty old patterns that block the Common Good can disintegrate and fall away, and POSITIVE CHANGE HAPPENS.
This photo is of us celebrating in Evinayong, Equatorial Guinea when project funding arrived.
If you read some of our stories and our bios, you’ll see we have a track record, and I hope you will be moved to send some cash our way! We have a very strong team, backed by decades of relevant experience. Even more, we hope you will see our story as YOUR story. Water is life. Changing the way we relate to water, to one of respect and understanding, starts here and now. This is about bringing renewed life to Earth.
Zia Parker, M.A., C.M.T. is a Permaculture teacher, designer and consultant, a health coach and movement therapist, and a community organizer. She spent the 70s homesteading in British Columbia. In ’88-90 she directed the Finca Permanente Agroforestry Project in W. Africa, which was used as a model for a $2.5 million project by the EU. She has taught or designed PC systems in six different climate zones. In 2012, she left her herb farm in Boulder for a new life in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. Since, she has been deeply involved in the organic movement there, working with groups to help start the organic market, maintain the prohibition on GMOs, and providing Permaculture consultation and design. She is the organizer and main teacher for the Vilcabamba Permaculture Design Certificate Course located at Finca Vida Verde in Vilcabamba. She is the initiator and director of our project “Water and a Forest for every village”. www.vidaverde.info
Victor Macas is a respected member of the Saraguru indigenous people. He owns a 140 hectare farm near Vilcabamba and is a vendor with the Randi Nama Organic Market in Vilcabamba. He and his wife and five children own and operate an organic food store in Vilcabamba. The methods we are working with in this project are similar to ancient techniques used by his people, and Victor is very interested in this project as a form of support for their traditional knowledge.
Enma Cordero is a local campesina woman with deep knowledge of the traditional farming techniques of the local people. Her particular expertise is knowledge of local medicinal plants and remedies. She will focus on the project goal of supporting biodiversity of medicinal plants.
Robert David McEldowney “Roshni’s” love of farming and the organic lifestyle began in the early 70s when he was a market-farmer on the Big Island of Hawaii for several years. In 1983, he did a 1.5 year internship at Rudolf Steiner college, and has been working with Biodynamic methods on his farms, and others, ever since. He and his wife, Zia Parker, started Finca Vida Verde from raw land four years ago in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. For decades, he has been engaged in activism dedicated to preserving biodiversity and public health. He is also a Waldorf-method teacher of young children specializing in movement education.
Walter Moora Walter was born in the jungles of Borneo in 1949 of Dutch parents. As a youth, his family lived in Malaysia, England and in New Zealand. Since 1972, he has been practicing biodynamic farming, which works intimately with nature. In 2007, he and his wife began living and farming near Vilcabamba, Ecuador. He has been teaching workshops about living in balance with nature for decades. To learn more about Walter you can read his book, “A Farmer’s Love” http://www.amazon.com/Farmers-Love-Biodynamics-Meaning-Community/dp/0983198411
Annie Eagleton Annie has 30 years of experience in environmental activism and education in the USA, Czech Republic, UK, Vietnam, Kenya and Ecuador. With diverse cultural groups she has used English language teaching, the written word and the visual arts (see www.anniemalia.wordpress.com) to share her passion for protection of the natural world. Her focus has been very much on wildlife, habitat loss and sustainable living. Throughout, she has been an advocate for organic gardening and forest preservation. Her knowledge was much enhanced by participation in Zia’s Permaculture Certificate course the last two years.
Zia and Finca Vida Verde are active members of these organizations:
Permacultura Ecuador (national association of Permaculture consultants, teachers and practitioners)
RED Guardianas de las Semillas (national seed saving network of Ecuador)
Agroecologico Cooperativa de Provincia de Loja (Provincial organic growers association)
Randi Nama Feria Agroecologico, Vilcabamba, Loja Province, Ecuador (Vilcabamba organic market)
OEPEV: Organización de Emprededores y Productores de Vilcabamba, (Vilcabamba organic growers association)
Junta de Agua Cooperativa, San Jose, Vilcabamba (Vilcabamba water board serving 5 neighborhoods and 400 people with a system that is supported by “mingas”, which are voluntary working parties)