I came to Fruit Haven in December of 2018 to volunteer. I have been on a fruit-based diet since 2016 and a traveler since late 2015. I loved traveling on this diet because there’s fruit sold almost everywhere, and it’s the easiest way to stay healthy while on the road. I have visited many countries with people who are known to have low hygiene and with travelers getting sick from the food, such as India and Nepal. But, it wasn’t a concern for me because fruit has a natural protective barrier around it—the peel—and it can be taken off before eating.
As much as I loved the many countries I traveled through, the amazing places and experiences, the people, and the unique fruits each country had to offer, I was still feeling that I wanted to be closer to like-minded people like me that wanted to follow a fruit-based diet. As much as I loved explaining my lifestyle, diet, and its benefits to the people I was meeting, I was getting bored of it and wanted to be with people that already knew why fruit is amazing and that growing it is the best thing we can do. That’s what led me to search the internet for a fruit-loving, raw vegan community. And while there were a number of them, Fruit Haven stuck out the most and resonated with me the best. I think it was a combination of Peter’s videos explaining why he chose this part of Ecuador and the fascinating idea of a group land buy.
Volunteering was fun. I learned a lot about permaculture, food forests, growing fruit in an orchard style, managing farming, and I learned many things from Peter and Kevin. We had an abundance of community bananas and papayas, seasonal fruit like peanut butter fruit, citrus, iniaku, and more. There weren’t so many volunteers at first, but they started to trickle in after my arrival and over the next several months. We grew quickly to around 17 people at the peak of the season back then.
We shared work and fruit meals, went on trips to the markets, and foraged local fruit, which was a lot of fun. Activities ranged from hiking to waterfalls, to planting and weeding and learning, to growing both fruit and ourselves as people. We were very excited about the approach of the first annual Amazon Fruit Festival in January of 2019 at our sister community Terra Frutis, which is about an hour away. Working together at Fruit Haven was fun, and we learned from each other. I met people from many corners of the world, so I didn’t feel the need to travel anymore because they came to us. We enjoy learning about each other’s cultures.
After some months, around February 2019, I had decided to buy land, and the opportunity came up to buy a five percent share of Fruit Haven 1 (FH1), so I started the process. First I filled out the trustee questionnaire, then I went to the notary, then I did the paperwork, and finally, I transferred the money. A few weeks to a month later, my name was on the title, and I started planting my first trees on my private lot, using the same techniques that I learned from my time volunteering. I was borrowing community tools at first, which made it much easier to get started before I could buy my own tools.
This year I have built a cabin and planted many more fruit trees. Enjoying my own home-grown fruit and the community lifestyle is a great balance!
Come check us out!