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Traveling has allowed me to learn about hopeful initiatives that are not so visible yet in the mainstream. Below are the projects that I have visited, and volunteered at, around the world. To see and experience the solutions that are already available to us can provide so much inspiration. Traveling is a great way to learn hands-on techniques, learn about yourself, and find your place in the global network of changemakers. And it can be done without spending a lot of money. I have also listed various networks you can get involved with, and online learning possibilities when traveling is not an option. Feel free to contact me if you want to create your own learning experience as well!

Community Networks

Global Ecovillage Network (GEN)
GEN consists of a constantly expanding network of intentional com­munities, ecovillages and national ecovillage networks, bridging all cultures and continents. GEN envisions the emergence of a diverse yet shared global pool of wisdom for sustainable living.

Project NuMundo
NuMundo is a platform that connects people to transformational travel experiences, from permaculture to natural building and community projects. The vision of Project NuMundo is to create a physical and virtual network of interlinked impact centers, events, festivals and more! Initially most projects were in Central and South America, but more are appearing in other continents.

Service Civil International
Service Civil International (SCI) is a volunteer organisation dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organising international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. The organisation consists of 42 branches and an ever growing number of partner organisations.

Transition Network
For eco projects and courses in your city you can search for a local transition network or transition town. The network is an organisation whose role is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they self-organise around the Transitionmodel, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.

Ecobasa is a great platform that lists close to 100 communities in the world, most in Europe at the moment. It includes advice on how to arrange your travel and volunteering at various communities and gives an overview of community building tools.

Eco Yoga Villages
A non-profit organization, with the goal of helping the environment, offering volunteer opportunities, vegetarian food, yoga and spiritual practice around Vedic principles. Cost to volunteer will be around 10 USD, including a bed and all meals.

European Youth Portal
The European Youth Portal, the EU’s website for young people, hosts a database of volunteering opportunities. You must be between the ages of 17 and 30 to volunteer.



GEN Europe
The European branch of the Global Ecovillage Network. It is part of GEN Global and also has a youth branch in many regions called NextGen.

Ecovillage Bergen, Netherlands
A large piece of land has been transformed from a former military airport to a starting eco village. A beautiful group of people is working hard to create a place of harmony and respect for each other, nature and the cosmos. They have regular volunteer days if you want to contribute and get to know them.

Schloss Glarisegg, Switzerland
A community in quite a magical location, on the Swiss side of Lake Constance, in the community of Steckborn. It has its own permaculture garden, but mostly focuses on social tools. Music and dance is an important thread in community life. Read the blog

Schloss Tempelhof, Germany
In this rural area a group of now 150 people has created a growing and well run community on 32 acres of land. They provide for over 80% of their needs of vegetables from their own CSA, run a ‘school for free development’ which supports natural learning in children, and are ever evolving with a multitude of projects. Read the blog

Central America

Kalu Yala, Panama
Kalu Yala is a new village being built in a Panamanian river valley to bring together entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and modern day romantics. Here, we are reimagining what’s possible from life and designing an optimized model of living to share with the world. Opportunities to visit, work, and learn.

South America

Consejo de Asentamientos Sustentables de las Américas (CASA)
CASA is the network of ecovillages and sustainable settlements in South America, promoting research and education on sustainable living.

Común Tierra
The Común Tierra Project is a journey along sustainable communities in Latin America (from Mexico to Brazil), began in May 2010. Over a six year journey, Letícia and Ryan have visited sustainable communities, eco villages and permaculture centers documenting their ideas, creative techniques and tools that can be applied around the world.

Project Taruka, Peru
This is a community and official non-profit organization located in the beautiful Sacred Valley of Peru. Currently three programs are offered; Eco-Community Apprentice, Work-Exchange and Specialty Exchange. These programs revolve mainly around living in community, leadership skills, and include gardening and bio construction.


Wongsanit ashram, Thailand
Wongsanit Ashram was founded in 1984 by social activist Sulak Sivaraksa and colleagues. It is a spiritual activist community devoted to developing and promoting an alternative lifestyle that is grounded in Buddhist Dharma, cultural diversity and environmental sustainability.

Gaia Ashram, Thailand
A learning center that encourages deep connection to nature through head, heart, hands and spirit.

The EcoMe Center, West Bank
EcoME is an intercultural living experiment, devoted to gathering and sharing peace knowledge, exploring sustainable ways of living environmentally, socially and spiritually. It is a place in which we wish to explore living in a holistic way, approaching peace work from multiple levels. We offer workshops, trainings, gatherings, desert trips and community processes that bring together Palestinians, Israelis and Internationals.

Permaculture & Sustainable Agriculture

You can take an introductory Permaculture Design Course anywhere in the world. Read my article on Permaculture for more info and resources.

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)
Linking volunteers with organic farms and growers.

Workaway promotes fair exchange between budget travellers, language learners or culture seekers and families, individuals or organizations who are looking for help with a range of varied and interesting activities. This includes opportunities on organic farms and eco projects.


Ecosystem Restoration Camps
Ecosystem Restoration Camps is a non-profit organisation founded by a movement of people who wanted an action-based solution to address accelerating climate change. The camps are a practical, hands on way to restore land degraded by humans. Its mission is to work with local communities and build camps that transform bare, deserted landscapes into lush, abundant, life-giving ecosystems. We have grown from the first camp in the Altiplano in Spain, to a total of 37 member camps in 2021! Read about my visit to the Altiplano camp.

Sunseed Desert Technology, Spain 
A community-led educational centre for the transition towards sustainability in Andalusia, Spain. In the beautiful off-grid ecovillage of Los Molinos del Río Aguas, they develop, demonstrate, research and communicate accessible ways to reduce environmental impact.

Mazi Farm, Greece
Mazi farm believes in Regenerative Agriculture: highly productive farming that restore degraded land, build soil, provide habitat for biodiversity and restore ecosystem services.

Central and South America

Via Organica, Mexico
Via Organica AC is a Mexican non-profit organization whose mission is to promote healthy eating and sustainable future through the promotion of knowledge and practice of organic regenerative agriculture, fair trade, social justice, sustainable living and protecting the planet.

Aluna, Colombia

Learn about permaculture, bio construction and ancestral cosmology in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta of Colombia.

Rio Muchacho Farm, Ecuador
An organic farm in the coastal region of Ecuador, with opportunities to visit, volunteer, or take an intensive permaculture course. The owners Nicola and Dario are very knowledgeable, and you can learn anything from seed preservation to chocolate making.

Rhiannon, Ecuador
Learn organic agriculture and sustainable living in this farm north of Quito, Ecuador. Courses in yoga and permaculture are also offered.

Third Millenium Alliance (TMA), Ecuador
Third Millennium Alliance’s mission is to preserve the last remnants of Ecuador’s coastal Pacific Forest and to empower local communities to restore what has been lost. Internship programs with optional Permaculture Design Course available.

An inspirational non-profit in Huaraz, in the Peruvian Andes, Ka’Way Monti (KM) offers a volunteer program, permaculture courses, natural building workshops and internship, the Living Change summer leadership program, and much more!

Paititi Institute for the Preservation of the Environment and Indigenous Culture
Through the awakened spirit of the individual comes the greatest potential for the transformation of the planet. The Paititi Institute for the Preservation of the Environment and Indigenous Culture is committed to embodying this paradigm shift and demonstrating what is possible through ordinary human efforts, in service to Mother Nature and the infinite human potential.


Eco-Israel, Israel
Eco-Israel offers Jewish young adults the opportunity to embrace permaculture and sustainable living through intensive hands-on experience and coursework on an organic farm. Located in Modi’in, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Sustainable Architecture

Many projects are happening in South-America, you will come across them when traveling. One way of finding these projects may be to search on facebook for bioconstruction or ‘bioconstruccion’ or permaculture groups in the country of your choice. It’s also worthwhile to research the GEN and CASA websites mentioned above.

Earthships are beautiful 100% sustainable off grid buildings, developed by American architect Michael Reynolds. They offer both internships and Eartship Academy learning, the Academy being the more intense and costly option. Most are in the Americas, but Eartships are being built all over the world. For more insight into Earthships you can watch the documentary Garbage Warrior.

One Community Global
A non-profit organization creating transformational global change through designing, modeling, and open sourcing sustainably holistic, solutions, including housing and clean energy.

South America

Annual festival for bio constuction, permaculture, organic agriculture, art and spirituality. In 2015 a festival took place in Patagonia, and the next will be in Villa de Leyva, Colombia, from 22 to 27 August.

Proyecto Gaia, Colombia
Proyecto Gaia 3 hours north of Bogota started in 2012 and aims to develop a sustainable settlement. In the volunteer apprentice program you can learn many skills on bio construction and sustainable living.

Energizar, Argentina
Energizar offers courses in clean energy (wind, solar, biodiesel, bio digestion) and sustainable architecture.

Cooperativa Caminantes, Argentina
This cooperative is a multi disciplinary group of people in Mar del Plata, on the Argentinian coast. There are opportunities to learn about bio construction, such as earth building, and permaculture.


Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT). Wales, UK
CAT in Wales has been around for decades, and is an education and visitor centre demonstrating practical solutions for sustainability, from environmental building, eco-sanitation, woodland management, renewable energy, energy efficiency to organic growing. From short courses to Master degrees.

Spirituality & Wellbeing

Retreat Guru
Over 10.000 retreat possibilities for ranging from meditation to yoga and sacred plant medicine. “Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.”

Esalen Institute
An inspiring retreat centre and intentional community on 27 acres of land in Big Sur, California, which focuses upon humanistic alternative education. Offering workshops and courses on the mind, heart, body, spirit, and community.


Many eco villages and retreat centres, such as Findhorn and Damanhur and Esalen, will offer courses and workshops around community living, permaculture, alternative economy and so on.

Gaia Education
Gaia Education offers the fantastic Ecovillage Design Education (EDE), in all parts of the world, and online. The 4 week course covers the 4 primary dimensions; worldview, ecological, social and economic. For more insight into what an EDE can be like, you can read my article on my experience at Findhorn.

Ecosystem Restoration Design

Learn from the pioneers in ecosystem restoration. topics range from restoring Natural, Agricultural to Urban Ecosystems. An applied eLearning Course presented by Gaia Education and Ecosystem Restoration Camps.

Pachamama Alliance
Pachamama Alliance is a global community that offers people the chance to learn, connect, engage, travel and cherish life for the purpose of creating a sustainable future that works for all.

One Community Global
A non-profit organization creating transformational global change through designing, modeling, and open sourcing sustainably holistic, solutions, including housing and clean energy.


Gaia Education
Gaia Education offers various programs online, from Design for Sustainability, to Ecovillage Design Education and the most recent addition, Ecosystem Restoration Design. You will study with like-minded students from all over the world, in topics that matter.

Gaia University, Transition by Design
Gaia U is an online university training leadership for ecosocial regeneration. They have some free offerings, paid certificate courses, and even self-directed Bachelor and Master degrees.

Coursera, University of the People, and many websites offer free university level courses on any topic you can imagine. So if you want to learn more on sustainability to green energy,  ecology and food security, this can be a great start.


Schumacher College, UK
A fantastic place. Schumacher College is an international centre for nature-based education, personal transformation and collective action. Come here for short courses and postgraduate study with the leading thinkers, practitioners and activists of our time. Join us for education, co-creation and participation in a more resilient, equal and sustainable world.

Embercombe, UK
Embercombe inspires people to take courageous action for a just, peaceful and sustainable world.Asha Centre
Asha Centre aims to create an environment of outstanding natural beauty and educational value, in which everyone who visits experiences a deep sense of inspiration, connection and purpose. So far, they have hosted over 3,000 young adults in a variety of national, European, and international projects.

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), Wales
CAT in Wales has been around for decades, and is an education and visitor centre demonstrating practical solutions for sustainability, from environmental building, eco-sanitation, woodland management, renewable energy, energy efficiency to organic growing. From shourt courses to Master degrees.

A life changing one year curriculum for those between18 and 28 year old. Learn about global challenges and how to create a better world from international teachers. Based on social entrepeurship and anthroposophical principles.

AwakenedLifeProject, Portugal
A non-profit Association that offers retreats, courses and volunteer programs to support the evolution of consciousness and culture in communion with the ecological web of life.

Eco Dharma
The Eco-Dharma Centre is situated in a beautiful and wild part of the Catalan Pyrenees. They offer courses, events and retreats which support the realisation of our human potential and the development of an ecological consciousness honouring our mutual belonging within the web of life – drawing on the Buddhist Dharma and the emerging ecological paradigms of our time.

AVALON Sustainability School, Spain, Pyrenees
Avalon Sustainability School aims to help young people develop the skills, freedom and creativity to take part in the journey towards a more resilient and peaceful society. We believe young people can change the world and our experiential, intercultural and nature-based programs help prepare them to do so. Programs for 11-19 year olds.


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    • 5
      Inge Kuijper

      Thanks Juliana, that’s a good tip. I have mostly looked there for permaculture and garden work, but not yet for ecovillages!

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