While Angela is doing Thai Massage, Yoga in Nature and Reiki Therapy, Ivan is the Permaculture, Eco-Construction and Volunteering side of things. Ivan has a masters in Material Engineering from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellin but has worked as a civil engineer and ironworking in Canada. Now he teaches Civil Engineering at Universidad Technologia de Pereira, when he isn’t at the farm tinkering with Permaculture, Eco-Construction and Volunteering
Permaculture, Eco-Construction and Volunteering
Let’s talk about the benefits of permaculture for food production and the planet.
Pereira City Guide: Ivan, tell me about your place, what are you trying to do here?
Ivan: Thank you Erin, here at Anukara we are working to establish a permaculture system. We do a lot of gardening, composting, but also conservation of forested lands too. Right now we have some ongoing projects which include building some cabins for future plans to open a hostel here.
Pereira City Guide: What about the Work-Away volunteer program which you have gotten involved in? How can visitors get involved in that?
Ivan: We’ve been receiving the volunteers from around the world who want to come and help with our projects, in exchange for giving them accommodation and food. They come here and work a few hours a day and then get free time to spend in the community. There are several amenities nearby, that people can enjoy. The creek on our property, Parque de Los Nevados a snow capped mountain national park with hiking and camping opportunities. There are also many things to do around here, waterfalls, small towns, and hot springs are only a few things which are available in the area.
Pereira City Guide: What would the typical day be like for a volunteer?
Ivan: Well, they will generally wake up at whatever time they normally wake up (usually). We feed them breakfast and then they get going on some kind of garden work or eco-construction projects. This is depending on our needs at the time and the experience or skills of the volunteer too.
Pereira City Guide: Can you give our readers an example of a current project which you are working on with the current volunteers?
Ivan: Right now for example, we are working on putting a round pathway around our gazebo. So they are digging out a bit of a swale/walkway which will collect the rainwater and moving it out of the way. Before it would just flow right into the building and collect there, which over time can be quite damaging. So we are just fixing that problem by building a little mound of nice-looking garden, followed by a swale which will direct the water away from the building as well.
Pereira City Guide: Permaculture, Eco-Construction and Volunteering. How would you explain what Permaculture is, and why ground contour is so important?
Ivan: Permaculture is looking to the natural eco-systems that exist. It’s about observing the patterns, the wind, rain or weather patterns knowing what you’re up against. Not even up against, it’s actually looking to work with the nature in a way that prevents erosion and improve run-off and water usage in the best way possible. We also do a lot of composting with our own waste. We have a dry toilet system set up to compost and re-use our human waste as fertilizer along with the animal waste to create our own natural fertilizer and improve the quality of the land.
The picture you see is the scenic dry toilet at Anukara Eco-Cultura. With only forest behind and the house on this side you will enjoy the view while contributing to future compost resources. Some of the future projects which are currently planned include cabins to rent Hostel-Style, and even some eco-engineering projects/experiments. The atmosphere is very communal. There are ample common areas with seating and tables to relax and enjoy. The Guadua gazebo, guadua animal sheds and additions to the house itself were all made using cuts from the “Guadual“, or Guadua bamboo forest, a very important on-site resource.
Permaculture, Eco-Construction and Volunteering is the main theme of Ivan’s part in Anukara. For more information on how you can apply to volunteer at Ivan’s farm, check out https://www.workaway.info to learn how you can get involved.
Thanks for checking out our latest story about “Anukara Eco-Cultura Part II: Permaculture, Eco-Construction and Volunteering!” If you would like to see more content like this in the future then be sure to pick up a copy of Pereira City Guide the eBook. Available now on Amazon.com for Kindle! Each purchase you make helps to ensure that we continue to bring you the Definitive Guide to Pereira in English!