renewable energy

The full story

The full story 559 397 vidacycle

About ten years ago, we heard about a opportunity to become part of the farming community in the Loncomilla Valley, Chile. Friends of ours informed us that their neighbours, the owners of a small farm tucked away in the coastal hills near San Javier, were moving away. Our family had fallen in love with Chile on a recent trip. It seemed as if the stars had aligned and that small farm, Fundo Meza, became our home. At first, our dad (and to-be farm manager) Tom spent some time camping out on the land to get a feel for the fields, before the entire family joined and the hard work began.

And so began our journey into regenerative farming.

We planted our first baby trees in 2008. Since then, we’ve worked with the land to slowly and steadily grow over 8,000 olive trees, from which we produce our delicious extra virgin olive oil. Each olive is harvested by hand on our farm as part of our simple philosophy: we do not add anything synthetic and work with the life of each tree. It takes time, but we learn more from each tree year upon year. Sadly the farm suffered a devastating fire earlier this year, destroying almost all of our olive trees and making our produce minimal. However, our energies are focused on healing the land and subsequent regrowth. You can read more about the effects of the fire here .

Olive trees are only part of the story. We began making natural wine and agraz from the old pais vines that remained on the land. We also work with the bees to produce a small amount of honey and care for our vegetable gardens. Today, we distribute our raw, homegrown products in the UK and Chile.

As we learn more about the web of life and organisms everyday, we also learn more about the vital elements of creating a flourishing farm. We aim to work with all parts of the ecosystem to increase biodiversity on the land. While we initially drew influence from ‘conventional’ organic farming, we have expanded our thinking toward permaculture practices, natural agriculture, solar energy and more.

Without access to irrigation canals, our nearby natural springs and two shallow wells are our only source of water. We’ve embraced this by nourishing our olive trees with little water to eventually become dry-farmed. Over the last decade, we’ve experienced earthquakes and forest fires that have dramatically changed the landscape. Still, we do what we can to work with the land in its natural state, which helps us stay aware and have respect for the lifecycles around us. In doing so, we’ve gone far beyond our farm’s organic origin.

We’re committed to building a holistic ecosystem.

Inspired by certain challenges we met along the way, as well as the observation of the archaic ways in which many farmers record vital information about their farms – we set out to create more modern solutions. Abby, the coder and physicist of the family, developed mobile apps designed as smart and simple farming solutions: Sectormentor, to help us keep track of our fields, and Workmentor, to help us keep track of everyone working in the fields. Through building these tools, Vidacycle Tech emerged as a way for us to empower other smaller scale farmers around the world to be more resilient in the digital age.

Along with these apps, we’ve also built a combination of solar pumps and windmills on the farm that keep our water running. From our windmill pump and our solar hot water, to our organic vegetable and fruit gardens that feed us year around, there are many exciting and forward-thinking things happening here.

We’re keen to nurture our growing community, both locally and globally, as we share our journey. Whether visiting us on the farm or following us on social media – instagram, twitter, facebook – we want to share with you as we carry on learning by doing. Together, we can inspire a better future for people and earth.

Parque Educativo Solar Energy

Parque Educativo Solar Energy 150 150 vidacycle

Based nearby in Linares is Parque Educativo Solar, established by Jorge. What started as a backyard project has morphed into a full on Sustainability Education Centre, providing solar energy workshops and products for both local people and international visitors.


The Centre showcases a variety of low-tech uses of the endless sun’s rays, as well as simple installations using PhotoVoltaic (PV) solar panels to generate electricity. Wandering through the Park there are an array of indigenous trees like the Quillay, Peumo, and  Araucana, plus a circle of tree stumps surrounded by lavender for a moment of calm. See below for more info on the dehydrator, on-grid and off-grid solar systems and eco-toilet.


On-grid: This double solar panel installation is connected to an inverter (in the red box) that converts the DC electricity produced by the PV cells into AC for use in the house. Jorge generates all the electricity he needs in this way, and most days has surplus which he supplies back to the grid. This means he has no electricity bill and, after the law changes in the next year, the energy companies will be paying him for the electricity he puts into the grid.


Off-grid: There is a PV solar panel connected to a Dankoff slow pump which pumps the water up from his well into the storage tank above.

Dehydrator & Solar Oven: Jorge has made many of these dehydrators for people in the Maule Region, they effectively retain heat and provide ample ventilation for optimal dehydration.

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The organic seedbank is an invaluable store of seeds from organic plants grown locally.


The eco-toilets use Vetiver grasses to clean the water from the toilet after the solids have been removed.


and of course there are plenty of hammocks for relaxing…


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