eco-agriculture in India

course on tropical agriculture and food production in India

Sep 16-29, 2018

*Also available on demand for groups of four or more (availability of dates permitting, contact us directly at

The coastal region in western India. The course is based out of the culturally and ecologically diverse province of Karnataka.

An example of Arajuno Road Project’s school gardens work.

Participants: Adventurers of all ages and backgrounds who have a passion for food and are interested in tropical food production and ecological considerations in the Amazon. There is a minimum of two people required for a workshop to be offered and a maximum of eight people may enroll. If you represent a group of four or more, please contact us directly (

Course facilitators: The course is created and led by Laura Hepting and Maria Soler. Laura Hepting has over 15 years of professional experience, holds a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Ecology, has lived in the region since 2009, and is the Director of the Arajuno Road Project (ARP) / Proyecto Ruta del Arajuno. Maria Soler is an experienced permaculture practitioner and graduated student of permaculture icon Sepp Holzer; she has dedicated recent years to organic production, farm management, and generating permaculture resources. Local experts will also guide multiple field activities. A course aide may be assigned to assist facilitation of the course.

Maito (fish cooked in leaves), a regional dish.

Food systems are one of our most basic, daily interactions with the environment. The abundance of the Amazon, which continues to unveil a wealth of biodiverse wonders, has provided some of the world’s favorite foods. At the same time, tropical agriculture presents unique challenges and common agricultural practices represent a significant threat to the integrity of the region. Learning about the origins of our food, cultivation and the cultural and ecological contexts, helps us become better global citizens.

A minga (community service gathering) at the developing center.

After receiving a general orientation, we will look at our ties to this mega-diverse corner of the planet and the history of agriculture in the region. We will examine food culture and our relationship with the natural environment. We will look at how the rules change in tropical agriculture and methods for healthy farming. We will discover native plants and take them to the kitchen, dessert included!

You should arrive in Quito on or before Sunday. Unless your travel plans dictate otherwise, you will be picked up from the airport and transferred to a Quito hotel for the night. Monday morning, participants will be picked up from the hotel and driven by a professional transport company to the province of Pastaza. You will be welcomed Monday afternoon and be provided with a general orientation. The course will run weekdays and the Saturday between the two weeks; participants will have late afternoons, evenings and Sunday free to explore the region (local adventures include rivers, waterfalls, nature parks, extreme sports and more).

Considerations of common agricultural varieties in tropical agriculture.

Classes will be split between classroom sessions, applied field work and field trips. Applied practice sessions will provide a social benefit (service learning), primarily furthering the development of a regional eco-agriculture center. While the focus in on ecological tropical agriculture, you will be able to apply concepts and techniques at home.

Friday morning (at the end of the second week) will allow for the final session and farewells; that afternoon participants will be transported back to Quito and provided an additional night in a Quito hotel. You should plan on flying out of Quito (and will be transferred from the hotel to the airport in this case), or other onward travel, Saturday.


Cacao (chocolate) – one of many amazing Amazonian plants.


Included: Course expenses, in-country transport, food and accommodation

Participant expenses: Flights, insurance, free time activities, travel expenses unrelated to the program, and personal spending (personal care items, soda, beer or extra snacks outside of what are provided)