Finca La Fe

26 06 2010

Three tier agro-ecological system for coffee production

Finca La Fe is a 10 hectare farm owned by  Pete Shear in Pucará, Ecuador. Peter is from Vermont (USA) and has worked and lived in Ecuador since 1999. He is also the Director of CASA Interamericana, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to community economic development and sustaianble living alternatives:

Finca La Fe is named for Pete´s deceased mother, Faye Wingate. Although pronounced the same as Faye, “Fe” means Faith in Spanish. Pete explains the name like this: “My mother always had unending faith in me and my crazy projects. By putting myself (and family) in debt to pursue my dream of operating a self-sustainable permaculture farm I, in turn, am following her example and keeping the faith. Thanks Mom, for showing me the path. Finca La Fe is the monument I will build to honor your life.”

On the western flank of the Andes at 2100 meters, the farm is located in the Alto Chocó cloud forest, one of the world´s ten most  bio-diverse ecosystems. The land is comprised of approximately 20% primary cloud forest, 20% secondary cloud forest, 30% agricultural land and orchards, and 30% grazing pasture.

The farm is organized as a mixed economy venture: part private and part public. While organic produce will be sold for profit, the farm itself will also be home to a non-profit education center and demonstration permaculture project that will receive volunteers and students and host seminars.

Despite being virtually abandoned for most of a decade, Finca La Fe is already producing organic citrus, yucca, raspberries, pineapples, avocados, beans and corn at market levels. The farm is also a member of the Agro-Artesenal Coffee Association of the Intag River Valley (AACRI), a 400 member fair-trade, organic cooperative born as an economic alternative to a proposed open-pit copper mine in the region. Two thousand coffee trees will be producing beans by 2012 to add to AACRI’s export capacity to Japan, the EU, and the USA.

In July of 2009, the farm received four extraordinary volunteers from Harvard University’s School of Architecture. They spent a month on site designing an amazing multi-modal Education Center designed to receive groups of up to thirty people and utilizing local materials and ecological design principles. The Center’s main construction material will be bamboo and the entire bottom floor will be housed by walls made up of rotating bamboo screens that allow the building to naturally “adjust” to temperature, wind, and precipitation changes.

Finca La Fe is now in the process of raising $40,000 for the Education Center’s construction. We are looking for eight donors who are willing to contribute $5000
or more. Donations are tax-deductible and donors will have life-long vacation privileges in an unbelievably beautiful setting. Anyone who completely funds the building will name the Education Center after whomever they choose.

Long term plans for the Finca include construction of an interpretive trail that identifies both cloud forest and agricultural plants, the installation of solar showers andcomposting toilets, the implementation of water storage tanks and a gravity-fed irrigation system, sample agriculture plots that will be used to test different organic and biodegradable pesticide and fungicide solutions, native species reforestation studies, and the implementation of an integrated permaculture design plan.


Read Finca La Fe´s Permaculture Implementation Plan and see architectural drawings of the proposed Educational Center

Learn more about the community of Pucará

CONTACT Peter Shear for more information:
in Ecuador: 086-849-950
outside Ecuador: +593 8 684 9950



One response

4 11 2012

Hi Pete,
Greetings from Tena — what a great project!

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