Eco-investing in Vilcabamba Ecuador: a great way to invest in real estate


The property is a place to live and the lots that we are selling are intended for family living. Several families are establishing themselves there as we speak, building their homes, designing their orchards and involved in other such activities. Some others cannot be there right now as they are selling their homes in their countries of origin and need more time.

If you cannot live here in Ecuador right now or can never live here but your children could in 2, 5 or 10 years time, we offer another option. Why not buy the land and let us do the hard work for you?

Let's talk investment for a minute. Imagine...
... you have a portfolio of assets/investments which you obviously want to be as safe as possible and provide the best possible returns. Two questions: define "safe" - define "best return" ?

To illustrate: risk capital investment is not as "safe" as a deposit on a bank account, which is why it is called "risk" capital, but it is supposed to provide a far better "return", otherwise why bother? In the financial world, when risk grows, return grows, when risk is low, return is low. In the traditional sense, "return" is money (e.g. dividends) and money can be re-invested to earn other return and so on. This is the process of creating wealth and these are the normal rules of the game. In a game of roulette, you bet on a single color and a single number and your risk of losing everything is high but your chances of earning big are high too. You bet more conservatively on a color for example and your chances of winning big are non-existent but you can still win small. You get the idea.

Today, the rules have been shaken. Money is not safe, stock is not safe, bonds are not safe, real estate is not safe, even gold is not the answer to everything. If money is not safe because of worldwide financial instability, a return based on money, although it may look good on paper is not necessarily worth much.

The best assets are REAL assets, in other words, stuff that we always NEED no matter what. Land has usually been considered a good asset because we all need a place to live. Land and buildings, the so-called "real estate", is supposed to always increase value with time. Nevertheless, we have seen recently that this can be far from the reality when the bubble bursts and families end up with negative equity (they owe more to the bank than their property is worth).

Land and buildings are not the only "real" things that we need. We need air, water and food in that order of priority. So, a piece of land with unpolluted air, pure drinking water and abundance of food should in that regard be a better investment than a piece of land with only great views and a fantastic house. This is more so in times where these commodities (air, water, food) are under threat. We can live without 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms but we cannot live without pure air, drinking water and food.

In addition, one can only live in a finite number of places. This is particularly true if flying becomes more difficult because of terrorism and security, climate change, swine flu, and a multitude of other reasons. It is just not a good solution, at least on a global scale, for people to own a large number of houses scattered all over the world. Having money to invest, it is better to own a few properties to live on and invest the rest in a different type of project. This is where you may be interested in our proposition.

Why not invest and team up with the best possible business partner one can imagine, the most reliable, the one who has always been there for thousands of years, who has perfect credentials, one who will never cheat, never let down, never run away with the money ... I name :


To give a bit more context, let's have a read at some inspirational material from another web site:

Source: gaiaemerging.com/2009/05/ecosystem-investing-and-green-ventures.html

Yesterday, Ethan Roland of Appleseed Permaculture and I presented at the 2009 Green Ventures Conference at Farleigh Dickinson University. Our presentation sparked a lively discussion centering around the entrepreneurial imperative of regenerative business and the next steps towards re-arranging financial relationships to start investing capital projects that

    * Build Soil
    * Store and clean water
    * Capture Carbon
    * Build Community

Using the regenerative investment principles developed by Ethan and I in conjunction with our Solari group:

Invest like Ecosystems:

    * Invest Locally
    * Invest Intimately
    * Invest in Diversity

Invest In Ecosystems

    * Invest in Ecosocial entrepreneurs (People)
    * Invest in Living Equity (Plants and Animals)
    * Invest in Natural Capital (Places)

All of these design elements, plus an emphasis on carbon nuetral transportation options like sail trade, are woven together in the business model being implemented by Booyacacao, a sustainable chocolate company being launched by Greg Landua (me) and partners.

Let me describe what I see around me here in Vilcabamba Ecuador, a small village in the Andes mountains in a third world country. I am surrounded by skilled but poor people who have a lot of time but no money. They know how to grow food and herbs, how and when to plant trees, how to recognise medicinal plants, how to build houses with dirt and no power tools, how to feed themselves, how to live 100 years or more (Vilcabamba is called "the valley of longevity") and much more...  These people have no money, they can only trade their time. However they could do with a little money to buy what they cannot trade, such as tools or machinery.

These poor people, my neighbours, live on the most fertile land on earth. They are incredibly "wealthy" in the true sense of the word (*). The limitation they face is that having no money to trade anything, they can only do what their hands can do and they cannot implement long terms solutions that may require initial capital. If they had money and were to be supervised so that the money is properly channeled, they could be participant in a system of ecological enhancements and profitable investments. For example, land that does not produce anything could produce an abundance of food for many generations by building soil and water systems, by planting trees etc.. 

If a piece of that fertile land in the valley of longevity was to belong to a well meaning first world investor in the form of an eco-investment managed by us and operated by skilled third world human resources, this would achieve two synergistic goals:
  • the local people would have work and would be paid money in exchange for their work which would allow them to trade for other services that they need for their own lives and properties
  • the investor paying the money to buy land and realize an "eco-investment" on it would have a safe investment (backed by a legal deed on the land) with the best possible return, a return that is not measured just in money but in true VALUE for the generations to come. When an avocado lover like myself, stands at the feet of a mature, fruit bearing, avocado tree, the value of that investment that was made 10 years ago when the seedling was planted, becomes obvious.
These so far are general concepts. Let's now focus more closely on our project in particular. Click on the Next link below to read on.

(*) True "wealth" can be defined as the amount of time that one can support one's lifestyle without working. Many people in the civilised world, although they might have a big house and 2 cars, cannot stop working one single day without the risk of missing a critical mortgage or credit card repayment. A person who owns an established vege patch and an orchard in the valley of longevity of Ecuador may be able to sustain his lifestyle a whole year with almost no work at all until it is finally time to go back to work, so some weeding and throw some mulch on the fruit trees for the next season.

We are coming into an age where real wealth is starting to be understood as knowing that you are doing your part to create a better and more sustainable world. There is a huge, almost universal desire to make a difference, do something worthwhile, put something back. This same passion invades the workplace and the marketplace; a desire to build a better world. The combination that creates success for a sustainable corporation and eco investment - is that when you are able to connect to a persons passions, they will follow you to the ends of the earth, buy your products and services with pride and may even be willing to work with you for next to nothing.

Our project