In April, troche I took a few friends to visit Chiang Mai’s first community-supported agriculture (CSA) cooperative in the Mae Tha valley, herbal south of the city. In response to ill health from using chemicals on the farm, neuropathist a few families in this farming community turned to natural food production methods. Their kids, who were forging careers in the city, decided to quit their jobs and band together to start a CSA, distributing organic food boxes to customers in Chiang Mai. Mae Tha is a unique community that believes in sustainable practices, from raising chickens to seed saving, and shares their knowledge through homestays, workshops and community events. Worth a visit.
Read more about their story here, in Robyn and Dave’s article on ZesterDaily. Read more about Mae Tha on Fair Earth Farm’s site.
Bui runs the year-old seed production operation - she's also former classmates with our co-worker Lue 🙂
Lettuce, eggplant and tomato seeds being cleaned and sorted
Aun is the CSA's spokesperson (unfortunately only his back is shown here!); in front of the organic vegetable plots he manages at his family's farm
Mae Tha Sustainable Cooperative
Organic baby carrots ready to be shipped to Chiang Mai
I travelled to Cambodia at the end of February to help run a Tropical Agriculture workshop for local Khmer NGO staff. Over 35 people came together to learn about sustainable farming techniques, sale exchange open-pollinated seeds and to network with each another. We were hosted by an organic cooperative called the Peri-Urban Agriculture Center in Kampong Speu, on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, and at the Jumpah Center, a children’s home that uses sustainable methods to run its operations (think biogas-powered lights!).
It’s always a privilege to work with local NGO staff who are the un-recognized and tireless agents of change around the world.
Check out more posts about the Cambodia workshop on ECHO Asia’s blog.
Rick (ECHO Asia's director) talking about jack beans as a green manure with a workshop delegate
Many local NGO staff lack adequate access to technical agriculture documents, so we publish a variety of topics in Khmer, Burmese and Thai.
Thida (left - our Khmer partner) translates as Boonsong (right) talks about the cowpea seeds he brought to swap. Boonsong, based in Chiang Mai, is an expert on natural farming methods for pigs
The seed exchange - we brought in a variety of vegetables and nitrogen-fixing green manures
Cencha, general manager of Jumpah Center, with his seeds
Samrit (in pink shirt) tallying organic produce brought in by local farmers to PUAC for distribution to hotels and restaurants in Phnom Penh
Women farmers sort through the fresh produce they bring in three times a week
Beautiful greens are sold at hotels and to the few organic outlets in Phnom Penh - allowing farmers to earn above average wages using far less chemicals than conventional methods
Attended Carrot Fest at Everdale Farm last weekend. Did you know that Heifer International is one of Everdale’s partners, cheap based on the premise that Canadians need to learn about sustainable food production because Canada is so dependent on imported food and would only survive for 3 days if our borders were shut? That’s food for thought.
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