The Vastivity Experiment

 
Deborah discusses with her foreman and local guide Alonzo how to deal with pests organically. Since inception of the finca, they have become dear friends.

Deborah discusses with her foreman and local guide Alonzo how to deal with pests organically. Since inception of the finca, they have become dear friends.


The Vastivity Experiment started out as a documentary project that we have decided to write as a script based on true events about a small village in Ecuador of a group of diverse people working together through cultural, economic & philosophical differences in order to create a self sustaining, organic community where every person and family thrives.

Our story begins with Deborah, a remarkable North American woman, who at the age of 43 attempted suicide.  Soon after this she accepted an invitation from her father to flee to Ecuador where he had recently retired to take over a dead piece of land he had purchased.  Feeling she had nothing left to live for, she set off to Ecuador abandoning all of the modern conveniences of American living. Fearlessly, she sought to start over in an impoverished foreign land with a native language she didn’t speak and immerse herself in an unfamiliar culture where women are still greatly suppressed.  She went to Ecuador to reinvent herself and rekindle her relationship with her father. She had no idea what she was getting into and how deeply involved with saving a way of life she would entangle herself.

After arriving in La Calera (a suburb of Cotacachi), Ecuador, she set to work transforming the finca (farm) that her father had purchased. He wanted her to share in his dream of turning it into a thriving sustainable community farm.

Now 3 years later, she is fluent in spanish and she has become a beloved member of her community. However, her father passed away last year without fully realizing his dream to completion.  Now she is even more determined to make her father’s dream a reality.

As Deborah immerses further into the project and the people of the village, her story quickly becomes an inspiring story of an entire community, not one woman alone. For example, the story of Carmen Cumba – an Ecuadorian midwife, who is the focus for the documentary short we are filming this winter in 2018/19 called “You are Me & I am You” - was discovered during Melissa’s 1st trip to Ecuador to research Deborah’s story.

There is something really special happening around La Calera Ecuador.

There seems to be a unique atmosphere of true collaboration between fundamentally varying cultures and philosophies.  Does it always work? No. Is there any resistance? Yes. It is messy and beautiful to be in this giant petri dish of sorts where the overall approach from everyone involved seems to mostly be, “Let’s figure this out together.”

Deborah and her Father Ron Ellis on the finca in Ecuador

Deborah and her Father Ron Ellis on the finca in Ecuador

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We believe the world can benefit from learning about this movement in Ecuador from people like Deborah and her collaborators. It is possible to be a diverse community and work together for the better of everyone, not just the chosen few.

If you are interested in learning more about this project as we develop it, please reach out to us via the link below.