This ground-breaking seven-day intensive course is designed especially to show you how to take the plunge into the more natural sustainable life you dream of—but don’t know how to begin. Get the whole picture of how to turn a faraway dream into reality from two regular people who did it themselves every step of the way. Juan and Kristen quit their jobs, moved from the States, found their land without a realtor, and began building their dream on a little savings, a shoestring budget, and a whole lot of tenacity. From finding land, to what and how to build, to putting the finishes touches on your home, this all-content-no-filler course combines information-packed sessions, hands-on skill-building activities, and plenty of Q&A time to give you the real deal on exactly what you need to know to create the life you want. Tuition includes sessions, instruction manual, meals, housing, use of all amenities, and an excursion to the stunning Cascada Verde waterfalls.
Course is limited to 5 participants to ensure everyone receives individual attention and instruction. We will focus on the key concepts and most practical applications of natural building, permaculture, and off-grid living. Each participant will also receive an instruction manual outlining and re-capping each daily session.
Simple sleeping rooms in our guesthouse constructed of native and natural materials such as bamboo, wood, stone, clay plaster, and palm leaves. We also use recycled and repurposed materials like grain and rice bags, wood pallets, crates, and glass bottles. All rooms are single occupancy and outfitted with a twin bed, nightstand, LED lamp, and large screened windows. Sheets, pillow, and blanket are provided.
Outdoor showers with filtered rainwater and a view of the palm trees. Soap and shampoo provided.
Cute, clean, creative bathroom constructed completely from natural and recycled materials with sink/running water and composting toilets The compost is mixed with sawdust, shredded palm leaves, and other carbon-rich organic material, allowed to age for a year, and then used to fertilize trees and plants.
Plant-filled bamboo gazebo-style yoga practice/meditation/workshop space.
Hammocks for relaxing/napping in during the day.
DAY 1. GETTING STARTED. How to:
Pick a place.
Decide the project scope. Homestead, school, eco-lodge, farm…what do you want to make?
Raise money if you don’t have it.
Look for land. Make a deal.
Navigate the paperwork.
DAY 2. MAKE YOUR SPACE. How to:
Choose your building site.
Clear land for building.
Decide your infrastructure. To grid or not to grid?
Make a natural drainage or water conservation system.
Determine your building method. Advantages and disadvantages of several natural and conventional building methods discussed.
Prepare land for cultivation.*
*Hands-on session: Grab a machete and let's clear some land, jungle style!
DAY 3. VERY BASIC NEEDS FOOD, WATER & WASTE MANAGEMENT. How to:
Direct, catch, and store rainwater.
Pump and store well, spring or river water.
Make and manage a compost pile.
Determine what crops to grow.
Choose animals (chickens, geese, goats, cows, etc).
Design a food forest.
Start a plant nursery.
Plant a tree properly *
*Hands-on session: Learn how to prepare the soil, dig a hole the right way for a tree to thrive, and how to care for different types of fruit, nut, and timber trees.
DAY 4: FIELD TRIP and FREE DAY. We’ll take an excursion to the stunning Cascada Verde forest trails, waterfalls, and swimming lagoons. Enjoy a glass of fresh-pressed sugar cane juice afterwards, and stop off in Pedro Vicente Maldonado for lunch, ice cream, and internet time.
DAY 5. MORE BASIC NEEDS: SHELTER & SIMPLE PLUMBING. How to:
Decide between a frame or no-frame structure.
Build a wall. Mortared stone, cordwood, earthbag, and light clay techniques explained and demonstrated.*
*Hands-on session: Try each technique!
Know the difference between insulation and thermal mass
Choose your roof
Install a simple gravity-fed faucet or shower
DAY 6. BEYOND THE BASICS: FINISHING TOUCHES. How to:
Decide on your wall plaster. Clay, lime, and cement-based plasters explained and demonstrated.* Appropriate uses, climate considerations, advantages and disadvantages of each.
Make inexpensive natural paints with clay and/or lime.*
Incorporate glass and plastic bottles, other “garbage.”*
Experiment with mosaics and murals.*
*Hands on session: Try each technique!
DAY 7. FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY KEEPING THE DREAM GOING. How to:
Plan and budget your project.
- If you really want to quit the hamster wheel...we did it, and we can show you how.
- private room
- communal kitchen access
- over 80% locally sourced
- restaurant on site
- None: Off the grid
We are located in the lush cloud forest of Pedro Vicente Maldonado, just 3 hours from Quito by car or bus. For detailed instructions on how to get here and options for every budget, it's all here at http://www.suenodevida.org/how-to-get-here/
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