The Center for Advancement for Sustainable Agriculture (CASA) is a non-profit organization located in Ecuador under the umbrella of the Ministry of Agriculture. The foundation was established in 2016 under the name Expats for Ecuador to help the victims of the devastating earthquake through agricultural funding and education. In the third quarter of 2020, the foundation took a turn and became formally known as La CASA with an updated board of directors.
The new board is composed of Luis Cadavid (President), Fausto Rangles (Vice-President), Catalina Ortiz (Secretary), Edy Balseca (Treasurer), Ines Ortiz (member), and Mila Grandes (Founding Member). The members come from different backgrounds and careers, making it a diverse group with a passion for sustainable agriculture.
La Casa decided to create a permaculture ecosystem as the flagship project for the foundation. This venture is located in Cochasqui, Pichincha, an hour south of the capital, and will serve as a living example of what sustainable agriculture can do. The plot of land that was made available to the foundation by one of its members is 25% barren and 75% occupied by an invasive species of artificially established trees. All the land will be transformed to contain local flora and fauna in perfect harmony economically, socially, and environmentally viable. The project will be known as the Lenin Ortiz Ecological Reserve as a tribute to an Ecuadorian archeologist who dedicated his life to promoting and developing the Cochasqui National Park.
The project will combine traditional fundraising with crowdfunding to achieve the goals. Four stages are expected for the project, the first three comprising four hectares each and the fourth which will include the social aspects such as an on-site educational facility for the public. The first stage will be purely ecological development, with the second and third adding the economic aspects of sustainability to the overall goal. The permaculture project is expected to be fully functional within five years but not mature until the ninth or tenth year after breaking ground.