Tinku: Permaculture Center
José Valentín N27 y Martín de Utreras , Quito

Tinku is a place of learning agricultural productive systems, ecological sustainable constructions, and social interactions between the local community. It is located in the middle of the city, next to a little park and the old forest of the Italian embassy in Quito.

“Tinku es un lugar de aprendizaje de sistemas productivos agrícolas, construcciones sustentables, ecológicas y de interacciones sociales entre la comunidad local. Se encuentra en el centro de la ciudad, junto a un pequeño parque y el viejo bosque de la Embajada Italiana en Quito.”

Part of the neighbor where Tinku is located was once a ravine, which was filled with debris by the authorities, and they constructed 15 basketball fields. Nobody used them and eventually it became a place for garbage. Tinku and the Metropolitan Public Company of Water and Sanitation of Quito (EMMAP) covered the place with soil, and started to give the land other use. It formally started in 2009, becoming part of Runakawsay Fundation, but people were working there around 8 years before that.  

There are workshops open to everybody (for example the woodwork and art with recycled materials), workshops on sustainable constructions and bio-construction techniques with local materials which are used to make Tinku´s classrooms and other structures. Some fairs and parties have been done in the green open space. You can find here some tables and benches for resting beneath the tree’s leaves or meet  with friends. Here is also the communal outside oven where you can prepare artisanal bread or pizza in a few minutes. There is a little cafeteria, which offers catering services, concerts and movies. For older people Tinku offers a place for meetings and painting workshops.

 

Tinku tries to retake some of the almost extinct endemic fruit trees as guaba, chamburo and chiguacan, and make experiments about synergistic crops:

“The crops look messy and disordered, but we want to demonstrate this is the best way of cultivating and the most productive, because it manages natural patterns of biodiversity and plant associations” Markos Toscano, one of Tinku´s administrators.

There are also medicinal plants, flowers, fruits as blackberries, taxos, granadillas, babaco and some fruit trees like avocado and guaba. Among the crops we can find potatoes, corn, lettuce, zuquini, red cabbage and some others depending of the season.

Tinku works in auto sustainability with some techniques, for example the management of organic residues brought by the community and transforming them into compost by worms, and using it as fertilizer for crops or fruit trees. They also recycle grey water, which is filtered by sedimentation and then used to water the trees.

Considering the visits of students of different parts of Quito, and having a high school and a school in the neighbourhood; Markos is planning to build an extra class and open a little school for after-class activities inside Tinku, to teach children more about agriculture, local products and sustainability.

In Tinku you can evoke memories of rural places, as if you were sharing with neighbours or eating beneath the fruit tree’s leaves. You can stay quiet and peaceful, it is like an urban oasis, just to forget about everything and enjoy the natural environment.

Tinku collaborators: Markos Toscano, Monica Ortiz, Pilar Burbano, Francisco Toscano, Fabian Ledesma and volunteers.

 

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