We recently had the opportunity to travel to the Young Living farm in Ecuador! The entire trip was an amazing experience, so come along with me for the ride!
Young Living pampers its members! We stayed at the Hilton in Guayaquil, ate delicious catered meals, and enjoyed this YL swag bag! (The phone chargers caught the attention of airport security on the way home, but they let me keep it lol). The sunglasses are made of wood, so I can add oils to them and have diffuser sunglasses!
We took a tour of the city, including a market to purchase souvenirs and this local city park. Instead of ducks to feed, they have iguanas! They were friendly, and most of them were happy to pose for pictures. There were at least 100 in this little city park!
A shot of some of the houses on a hill in Guayaquil.
This is the original school in the town where our farm is located. It housed 40 students and had no electricity, bathroom, or running water. Temperatures year round rival Houston’s in the summer. It is HOT there. The teacher was a volunteer and came when her schedule allowed. The high school graduation rate was about 20%, and only boys. Girls had to drop out when they entered puberty because of a lack of facilities. 🙁 All in all, a sad state of affairs.
Gary Young, the founder of Young Living, has a huge heart for people, and so he decided to start a school for local kids. Admissions requirements are strict – the kids have to live in the town, be unable to afford private school, and have a desire to work hard and excel in school. These girls are two of the seniors I met. The Young Living Academy has a 100% graduation rate, and ALL of their seniors are already accepted to a university! I met a future doctor, engineer, and horticulturalist.
I love the spirit about these kids too. They are sweet, genuine, and truly thankful for what they have received. There aren’t any drug, theft, or gang issues here.
We spent an afternoon working on their school. I helped paint the mural, and Chris helped design and build these benches for the seniors to hang out on.
Finally, it was time to go to the farm!!!!
The farm consists of 1,161 total acres:
• 75 acres of ylang ylang
• 45 acres of mastrante
• 130 acres of oregano
• 15 acres of cacao
• 12 acres of lemongrass
• 1.20 acres of eucalyptus blue
• 0.80 acres of ocotea
• 50 acres of palo santo
– We are currently working on
a project to purchase 250 acres
in the rainforest to optimize the
harvest of ocotea.
– The farm started with 3 employees in
2006 but now has more than 120!
This is a panoramic view! The distillery is to the right.
Ylang Ylang! Have you ever smelled it?? It smells AMAZING and is a popular ingredient in perfumes.
• The flowers of the Ylang Ylang tree are the part of the
plant that is distilled.
• Ylang Ylang is harvested year-round.
• On average, 1 worker harvests 9–10 kilos of flowers per day.
I made a little video for you, so you can see when Ylang Ylang is ready for harvest:
This is lemongrass!
Young Living has goats to provide milk and cheese for the school, AND compost for the soil! I managed to catch a goat!
These are the worm beds! It takes 6 months for the worms to process the compost. Each box has 10,000 worms!!
The greenhouse is full of baby mastrante plants!
• Mastrante is harvested every 4–5 months.
• Irrigation is stopped 3–4 weeks prior to the harvest,
which causes the plants to produce more oil.
• Mastrante can be harvested again and again without
the need to replant.
This is the Palo Santo forest! Palo Santo means “holy stick”.
PALO SANTO FOREST
• There are almost 50 acres of Palo Santo on the farm.
• Only trees that have fallen and died naturally are harvested.
• The fallen trees will stay on the ground for 2–4 years
before being distilled.
• Most of the oil is found in the trunk and roots.
What would a farm in Ecuador be without cocoa beans??
We also had fun playing on jet skis & ATV’s, riding horses, and riding a zipline from the fanciest tree house I’ve ever seen. We also spent a day at the NovaVita Health Clinic, receiving all sorts of immune boosting treatments.
With all this fun though, the most impactful thing for me was listening to stories about how Gary carved this farm out of essentially nothing. He took raw jungle and scrubland, fought off banditos, and even saved a man in a flood to see this farm come to life. Sound larger than life? Gary IS larger than life. His life and story is so inspiring to all of us to keep pursuing our goals and dreams, and don’t give up no matter the obstacles!!