Exploring Food Justice in Ecuador

Video and Photos

man with a backpack looking out over mountains and green pastures
man with a backpack looking out over mountains and green pastures

About

Ecuador may be the smallest country in South America but boy does it pack a punch – majestic Andean mountains, lush Amazon rainforest, picturesque towns, sun-drenched beaches, and a famous chain of volcanic islands full of wildlife! Ecuador’s history and unfolding progress continue to fascinate travelers from around the globe. At Operation Groundswell, we take a deep dive into the country’s approach to food justice. It’s the first country in the world to call for food sovereignty in its constitution, but how do these policies and the food justice movement affect the lives of people who produce food?

From the hustle and bustle of Quito to the communities of Ecuador’s highlands, our Food Revolutions program will examine the impacts of the global food system on rural and indigenous communities in Ecuador and see how they’re fighting back.

We’ll explore complex issues that will widen your perspective on the world, international development, and what it really means to usher change.

Highlights
  • Explore Ecuador’s iconic capital of Quito while sampling some sweet canelazo along La Ronda, learning the language with Yanapuma Spanish School, and giving salsa dancing a whirl!
  • Get your hands dirty with Fundación Brethren y Unida (FBU) and learn how indigenous knowledge is inspiring sustainable agriculture in Picalquí.
  • Immerse yourself in Tsa’chila culture and learn to grow a food forest near Santo Domingo on Ecuador’s Pacific slope.
  • Hike in the shadow of Volcán Corazón in the heart of the Andes and taste highland honey with our partners at Bee Farm Shunku.

Financial Grants Available!

Our financial grants program can cover 15-25% of your program fee. Simply apply for an OG program and contact our financial support team. Visit our website for more information!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

98%
based on 5 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
Default avatar
Vicki
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go on This Trip!

Visiting Ecuador and focusing our trip on food revolutions was educational, spiritual, and amazing! You are participating in community service that is requested by the partners you are working with so when you leave it is not as if you are leaving halfway completed projects that will never be finished. Your impact is that you are starting and finishing a full idea or leaving work that they will be able to complete themselves. You are traveling with two program leaders which are completely supportive, both of our were fluent in Spanish and very encouraging in every way. We also happened to have a PL that was from Ecuador so we were able to hear her insights about the country and the places we were visiting as well.
If you enjoy working and connecting with nature/Mother Earth for fun, this trip is for you! We did not visit bars or get drunk but we were able to go to bed exhausted every day from working, walking, talking, discussing, learning, and so much more. You will see things you have never seen before- such as having to go down and back up a ravine in order to get into town, but you will never worry about being able to sleep or feeling unsafe in any way.
The only downside to this trip is a TEENY bit of the value. The trip itself is worth every penny of the program fee BUT because of the way the program works, they tell you not to book your flights until your program is full with participants. For us this meant buying them two months before when my $750 flight had gone up to $1,600. Every other participant felt the same way but none of us would take the experience back.

What would you improve about this program?
Allowing us to purchase flights when we would like to but requiring flight insurance beforehand in case the trip is cancelled or we need a different time.
Ramona
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Second trip!

This was my second trip with OG and the satisfaction level remained very high! Yet again, I came out with another group of amazing friends, a unique experience and story to share, and many joyful memories that I continue to reflect on today. OG really sets up their programs to help you gain learning, insight into the actual culture, communication skills with locals, as well as "backpacking with a purpose." Highly, highly urge the adventurists to look into this program and join the fun!

What would you improve about this program?
n/a
Operation Groundswell (OG)
Holly
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My First Experience in South America

This was my second program with Operation Groundswell and it was just as amazing as my first experience. This trip was speical to me because my friend and I had met on our previous OG trip and actually planned to apply for this program together. There is something about these programs that opens up so many opportunitities for each participant. Whether that be by learning new things in the country, such as how bee farming works, gaining an understanding about indigenous cultures and an appreciation for your life back home; or by creating memories and new friendships that will continue after your step onto your plane back home. As this was my second trip I kind of knew what I was I walking into. It was nice to be able to explain and help out the other group members with what we had learned in our previous experiences - such as sharing to pack lists on the Facebook group before departure. Operation Groundswell is a very diverse company and the fact that they try to have one of their program leaders be a citizen of the country you are visiting really improves your trip. For example, I find that when one of your leaders is from the area, familiar with the customs etc. you get a much more intimate experience and take much more from the trip.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the only way this program could be improved is if there was more time! One week was not enough for me to get the most out the country. Now I just have to go back, or perhaps go on another OG trip?
Read my full story
Default avatar
Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience

The program allowed us to get to know the culture of Ecuador within the first few days. Leaving the main city to explore other communities and connect with locals on a "family like" level really made the trip. Also there is a lot of hands on work here so you are able to get even more out of the sustainable farming experience. This trip is fast paced and gives you a local experience right down to transportation. The partners that OG connects with have a solid foundation and have been working in their respected communities for a long time. So it makes the work you do while you visit more meaningful because the organizations carry the projects on after you leave.

What would you improve about this program?
If it ended in a main city so there can be even more learning about the different reigns in Ecuador
Default avatar
Meng
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Food Revolutions program

This was my first time to South America and really my first time travelling and it was the best experience I have ever had. Ecuador is beautiful and every town we visited was gorgeous and absolutely so welcoming. The food was great, local, and fresh!!! I learned so much from visiting OG's partners and helping them farm and plant. It was interesting to see the different ways people live around the world and truly realize the privileges I have living in Canada. Our program leaders were the most wonderful, knowledgeable people!!! I made so many great friends on this trip I would 100% recommend OG to all my friends!

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About Operation Groundswell

Operation Groundswell does backpacking with a purpose. With ethical travel at the crux of our philosophy, we design affordable programs that tell a story. Each trip addresses key challenges unique to each region and community we work with, told from...