We are excited to present our newest program, Origins of Food - Explore Ecuador.
Experience Ecuador is a two-week immersive program that travels through the highlands of the Ecuadorian Andes and into the Amazon rainforest. Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, and this unique program explores the food, culture, and natural diversity of this fascinating country.
This trip begins in Quito, the capital of Ecuador and a Unesco World Heritage site. We will spend a day on a farm learning about bees and the importance of these pollinators and the threats that they face. We will travel to Salinas de Guaranda to visit the cooperatives of the solidarity-based economy of this fascinating community located over 3,000 meters above sea level. We will soak in hot springs fed by thermal waters heated by volcanoes before heading down into the Amazon, the origins of the cacao tree. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with cacao farmers, harvesting and processing cacao and participating in a hands-on chocolate making class.
Students will stay with an indigenous women's health organization and visit Kichwa farms to learn about medicinal plants and the importance of the natural world to the Kichwa cosmovision. We will hike in the rainforest and swim in tributaries of the Amazon river before heading back up into the Andes to explore Otavalo, the oldest continuous Artisan market in the Western Hemisphere and learn about traditional weaving. After spending time harvesting coffee and learning about the processes of bean to cup with a coffee cooperative, we will head to 0 degrees latitude and experience strange and intriguing aspects of being on the equatorial line that divides the Northern and Southern hemispheres with a visit to a pre-Colombian solar observatory.
"I have learned more than I could ever learn in a lecture hall."
- Katie F., Oregon