Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013-2014 Intern Program

Huerta de Vida is where we express and practice our gratitude for the Earth, the Stars, the Plants, the Animals and Each Other.  This project is the 3D manifestation of our respective and related karmas.  We welcome new friends who are ready to accompany us and take authentic strides forward as full spectrum human beings, who have learned and are learning to be motivated by love and not by fear, who are actively involved in healing themselves and becoming whole and noble beings.  We welcome those who intend to celebrate and laugh and love and live as much as possible in the process.

Huerta de Vida lies within a small valley oasis at the foot of the tallest mountains in the Western Hemisphere.  An ancient irrigation system channels snowmelt from the Andes into the Valle de Uco, converting desert into a green stretch of farms, weeping willows and fire flies.  The powerful beauty of this place masks a very ugly reality of conventional chemical monoculture, with a new Monsanto facility just outside of Mendoza.  Huerta de Vida began as degraded land that is progressively being brought back to life as an edible forest garden.   We also belong to a growing, resilient network of organic family farmers and passionate permaculturalists.  Together, we share our vision of conscious cultivation of local, sustainable, and spirited productivity of life´s essentials on our shared, precious planet though weekly organic farmers market, seed exchanges, and workshops. 

Who we are

Margot- Many years in the laboratory of my life.  In the zone pretty much all day every day. Shamanism and consciousness-expanding plants amongst my many teachers.  Lifelong hippy, feminist, social justice and environmental activist and grateful for it all.  Worked way too many years in ¨healthcare¨.  No longer limited to physical medicine. Lived in variety of communities for long time. Lots to say regarding imperialist foreign and domestic policy. Currently serve as coordinator for weekly farmer´s market in Mendoza. Love BIG ideas. Generally sassy.  Favorite quote ¨the doors of heaven open wide for those who bring laughter to their companions¨  Pretty sure it´s time to create heaven on earth...amen.

Vida- Completed my undergraduate education at a big bucks university and then decided, much to my grandparent´s horror, nothing beats a good compost!  Past work has included volunteer farming in Spain, urban farming with The Food Project (Boston), gardening at The Heifer Project (Rutland, Massachusetts), and natural building at Finca Bonafide (Ometepe, Nicaragua).   Deep ventures into the permaculture realm have included Bio-Intensive Gardening Apprenticeship at Proyecto CIESA (El Bolson, Argentina), Natural Building Apprenticeship at House Alive in Jacksonville, Oregon, Permaculture Design Course with the Bullock Brothers (Orcas Island), and Edible Food Forest Design Course with Dave Jacke (Portland, Oregon).  Will be at Huerta de Vida in  2014.

Who we are looking for:

Kitchen wizards Good food and upbeat kitchen vibe are clear project priorities.  We need 2 kitchen people who are dedicated to creative and punctual eating (the people must be fed on time), conscious food purchasing and food utilization within project budget, use of garden and local farmer´s markets produce, maintain and promote kitchen and cabin cleanliness, bake bread twice/week for Huerta de Vida consumption plus farmers market, process garden produce (drying, canning, sprouting, and fermentation).  Kitchen wizards are responsible for preparing 2-3 meals/day except on off days, which are self-service meals.   Kitchen people need to arrive 1 day before beginning of session for food orientation and pay $175/ session.  

Garden Fairies and Natural Construction Warriors These folks establish and maintain garden momentum and energy necessary for growing power soil and food, also necessary is a strong desire to learn and experiment with natural construction.  Tasks range from garden bed prep, direct seeding, seedlings,  transplanting, living and dry mulching, composting, biochar, flood irrigating, harvesting, and cover cropping, food  foresting, building walls and floors with cane, strawbale, bottle bricks, and earthen plasters. 

Session Cost:   USD $250/ session, USD $50 deposit to reserve space; $750 pesos argentinos/session for interns from Latin America, deposit $100 pesos argentinos).  Huerta de Vida meals do not include meat or alcoholic beverages.  Food is vegetarian, not vegan.  The session cost provides for a delicious food budget and the materials necessary to provide solid, educational work projects for our interns.  

Multiple Sessions Each session is packed to the brim with different learning opportunities.  For those who have the opportunity to continue their time at Huerta de Vida, we suggest that you sign up for multiple sessions.  We ask that interns plan trips elsewhere during the time in between sessions so that we have a chance to rest and prepare for the next wave of interns.  It´s cool that a variety of folks, foreign and local, have chosen to be here more than just once.  We can suggest many beautiful adventures around Argentina and Chile that deserve your time. 

Living in Community People live, learn and work best together and get more done when they understand not just what and how to do something but what the overall objective is.   We will provide leadership, teaching/coaching, friendship, empowerment, encouragement, and reality checks/feedback.  We guide our interns through the work projects.  Our priority is to share our knowledge with interns as well as accomplish project goals on time and with a strong sense of pride in the quality of our work.  Direct and honest communication is our sincere intention.  Each session starts with a full day orientation for all participants.  Community meetings happen once a week. 

Work Schedule On average our schedule reflects 6-7 hours of physical activity/day and 3-5 hours of siesta (rest and personal time) after lunch.  Individual chores are done everyevery day, including days off, to KEEP EVERYBODY HAPPY.  Each day starts punctually with individual chores/tea or coffee/brief organizing meeting. A strong start in the morning is key to our objectives.  We call it the hour of power (actually it´s more like 90 minutes of power but that doesn´t rhyme).  Don´t worry, a delicious breakfast greets our return from the field.  Our schedule is designed to minimize working in the strong sun.  We do garden tasks first thing in the morning and after the sun mellows in the late afternoon.  When the sun is intense we will work in the shade, frequently in natural construction.  As much as possible we will stick to the schedule, yet at other times we stick to the task at hand until it´s done, rather than worry about the time. Folks who are doing particularly strenuous work are to receive plenty of love.  We leave no worker behind.  REAL IMPORTANT:  A big part of being here is learning how to be productive.  However, interning at Huerta de Vida is not a J-O-B.  We do our best to offer wise leadership and comradeship.  We consciously choose not to work with folks who need an external authority figure to boss them around.  Work, life and joy are not separate here. We take pride in our individual and collective endeavors, whether we are ¨working¨ or ¨playing¨.   And we are really good at having fun…

Field TripsLocal wineries; worker-controlled tomato sauce cooperative; bolivian flea market; social justice mobilizations; cultural/music events, seed exchanges, farmers´ markets, marches, celebrations, speakers, films, occasional bonfires right here at home…

Session 1: Setting the Stage
(Arrive September 10 – Depart October 6)

What To Expect:  Plant seedlings for summer crops and direct seed spring garden; prep of planting beds; tune-up of irrigation system; compost utilization and renewal; fertilization and dormant oil spraying of all trees and perennials; plant and harvest of cover crop; animal care-construct corrals for rotational grazing; redesign garden beds on contour; inoculate garden beds with biochar; build drying racks; organize tree and plant nursery.

Work Schedule:  Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00 am - 8 pm.    Breakfast 9 am, lunch/siesta 1-5, dinner 8 pm.  Group meeting Thursdays after siesta, followed by optional yoga/visualization or documentary. 

Session 2:  Making it Happen
(Arrive October 15 – Depart November 10)

What To Expect:  We will keep the garden evolving; dig contour garden beds, garden bed prep; make and apply biochar for fruit trees, compost tea and foliar spraying to the max;  establish rainwater harvesting system; fruit canning and drying ie apricots, plums, cherries.

Work Schedule:  Tuesday-Saturday, 8 am - 8 pm.  Breakfast 9 am, lunch/siesta 1-5, dinner 8 pm.  Group meeting Thursdays after siesta, followed by optional yoga/visualization or documentary. 

Session 3:
(Arrive  November 19 – Depart December 15

What To ExpectKeep the garden wheel turning; transplant and foster seedlings; contour garden beds; plenty of watering; weeding; vigilence for bug predators; regular foliar feeding; tend bees; walk the talk of ecological food production.

Work Schedule:  Tuesday-Saturday, 7 am - 8 pm.  Breakfast 8:00 am, lunch/siesta 1-6, dinner 8.  Group meeting Thursdays after siesta, followed by optional yoga/visualization or documentary. 

Session 4:  Summer Intensive
(Arrive January 5 – Depart February 2)

What To Expect:   Full spectrum of  growing and harvesting food plus natural construction; keep garden going strong, plenty o´ weeding; start fall seedlings; contour garden beds; harvest and preserve peaches and nectarines; lots of tomato drying and canning; make herbal and flower wine; window and door framing; build Walipini underground greenhouse; build bat houses.

Work Schedule:  Tuesday-Saturday, 7 am – 7 pm.  Breakfast 8:30 am, lunch/siesta 1-5 pm, dinner 7 pm.   Group meeting Thursdays after siesta, followed by optional yoga/visualization or documentary. 

Session 5:  Growth Spurt
(Arrive February 11 - Depart March 9)

What To Expect:  Put in fall garden, cover crop, continue summer harvest & contour garden beds; seed saving; lots of drying and canning, complete Walipini underground greenhouse; frame and install doors and windows; complete bat houses.

Work Schedule:  Tuesday-Saturday, 8 am – 7:00 pm.  Breakfast 9 am, lunch/siesta 1-5 pm, dinner 7:00 pm.  Group meeting Thursdays after siesta, followed by optional yoga/visualization or documentary. 

Session 6:  Abundance
(Arrive March 18 – Depart April 13)

What To Expect: Full time harvesting;  transplant/direct seed fall garden; contour garden beds; continue harvest; seed saving; garden map and next year´s rotation map; cover cropping; animal care; organize tree and plant nursery; start winterizing; nonstop food preservation.

Work Schedule:  Tuesday-Saturday, 8 am – 6:30 pm.  Breakfast 9 am, lunch/siesta 1-4, dinner 6:30 pm.  Group meeting Thursdays after siesta, followed by optional yoga/visualization or documentary. 

Recommended Reading and Films: We have most of the following mind please bring a copy of your favorite mindblowing-lifechanging book or film with you!  Areas of particular interest that we don´t have include:  Neuroplasticity; more Carlos Casteñeda; Fidel´s new books:  Guerrillero de tiempo

Books:  Deep Economy (Bill Mckibben); The Four Agreements (Don Miguel Ruiz) ; Shaman, Healer, Sage (Alberto Villoldo); Sacred Mirrors/Alex Grey; Medicine for the Earth (Sandra Ingerman); Confessions of an Economic Hitman (John Perkins) The Humanure Handbook (John Jenkins; Fields of Plenty (Michael Ableman), The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic (Martin Prechtel). 

Films: The Take (Naomi Klein); Il Postino; Fidel; The Future of Food; The World According to Monsanto; The Mission; Healing the Luminous Body;  The Revolution Will Not Be Televised; Life and Debt; ¡SALUD!; Orgasmic Birth


  1. Hola, que tal? Me encuentro de viaje por Mendoza con mi compañero y dos chicos mas con los que estamos viajando. Somos malabaristas, acrobatas y payasos y estabamos buscando un lugar donde acampar y poder pasar la noche. Un chico de Turuyan, no me acuerdo bien su nombre pero es artesano, malabarista, tiene tres hijas, rastas, vive a la vuelta del anfiteatro y es muy amable y conocido por todos en el barrio nos comento que aquí hay una comunidad que hace permacultura y nos intereso muchisimo el hecho de poder participar en algo asi. Queriamos saber si podemos pasar por alli a conocer e intercambiar experiencias. Mi nombre es Camila Lihue Diringuer soy de Buenos Aires y mi compañero es Jorge (en facebook Jorgitoo Show) de Neuquen. Los chicos que viajan con nosotros son Marcelino Gonzales de Colombia y Royer de Brasil. Este muchacho nos comento que iban a andar con mucha gente en estos dias y que nos comuniquemos por internet para ver como podemos resolver pero quizas estaba la posibilidad de acampar cerca. Mi numero es 011 15 61 61 03 41. Espero que se puedan comunicar, desde ya muchas gracias!

  2. Hello! I am planning a trip to Argentina for February through May and I am really interested in helping out! Do you happen to know if you have room for two people to do garden work/kitchen duties in exchange for lodging? Please let me know, what you all do is amazing. Thanks, Nolan