Solidarity : Organic Food in our Schools
A Permaculture and Pedagogic Farm in Vieng Nua, Thailand
OUR PROJECT IS ABOUT CREATING AN EDUCATIONAL PERMACULURE FARM TO PROVIDE (FOR FREE) VIENG NUA’S TWO SCHOOLS WITH LOCAL ORGANIC FOOD.
Where ? Vieng Nua is a small Tai Yai (Shan) village in Pai valley, in the heart of the mountainous province of Mae Hong Son, Northern Thailand.
=> for more details please read “Local Background”.
How much do we need ? We need 5500€ to set up the initial farm : we’ll use the money to buy tools, hire a part-time local farmer, and for small logistics.
=> for more details please read “What are the funds for?”.
What are our goals ? “Organic Food in our schools” has 2 practical objectives => for more details please read “Our Goals”
- To set up a small permaculture farm to provide the schools of Vieng-Nua with 700-1000kg of vegetables per year, thousands of kilos of rice, fruits and herbs.
- To use that land for sharing and creating interactions betweens children, local farmers and travellers through educative and participative workshops about resilience.
=> for more details please read “Our Goals”
Who are we ? Lyse and Damien. 10 years ago we both decided to leave our 9-5 office jobs and chasea crazy dream : changing the world, living close to nature, building our homestead and growing our own food… Since then we have met each other, travelled and met others who have committed the same transformation, we have studied and trained, and now is the time for us to start our own project to make the world a better place, starting with the small village where we live.
=> for more details please read section “About the project owner”.
Who is our local partner ? Pai Seedlings Foundation is a non for profit foundation under Thaï law with a shared vision of environmental protection and human development.
=> For more details please read section “About the project owner”.
Who are we doing this for ?For the children of today and tomorrow, for nature and life under all its forms, for traditionnal local cultures that still have so much to teach to the modern world… and also for ourselves and our family, because doing the good thing for the community just feels so good !
=> for more details please read section “Benefits and Beneficiaries”.
Great! But what is PERMACULTURE ? It’s also called natural or ecological agriculture. It’s a way of growing food that is based natural, balanced ecosystems and biodiversity, that feeds soil and natural resources, and benefits from positive interactions between plants (and humans).
=> for more details please read section “What is Permaculture?”.
And then what ?“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat everyday ” (popular wisdom). We want your donations and our efforts to have a long lasting positive impact on the community, that’s why we have thought about the long term viability of what we’ll start with the money.
=> for more details please read section “What are the funds for? – Viability”.
1. WITH 1 DONATION YOU ARE HELPING 5 CAUSES :
- The active respect for nature and biodiversity.
- The right to local and healthy food.
- The grassroot development of local community.
- A fruitfull exchange of knowledge and skills.
- Teaching children about practical environmental issues and solutions.
2. A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT : we made sure to implement some money-generating activities that will cover the operating costs after the initial investments, thus making the project sustainable and autonomous.
3. YOUR SUPPORT IS OUR CREDIBILITY : we are also asking support from financial partners (companies and foundation) to extend the scope of the farm: buying a second-hand pickup truck, getting visa and work-permits for Lyse and Damien, being able to pay a farmer full time, buying a solar pump for water filters, etc…). The more people support us through this crowdfunding campaign, the more likely these investors will take us seriously and also support us !
4. SOLIDARITY : It only takes a few clics to become part of the change, so get onboard !
5. OUR MOTIVATION KNOWS NO LIMIT, OUR DETERMINATION NO FLAW :this is a dream we have been building for 10 years, and we won’t stop before it comes to reality. We want to make the world a better place is also for our children and ourselves.
WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO ACHIEVE ?
THIS PROJECT IS ABOUT PROVIDING VIENG NUA VILLAGE’S TWO SCHOOLS (IN NORTHERN THAILAND) WITH ORGANIC AND LOCALLY PRODUCED FOOD FROM OUR EDUCATIONAL PERMACULTURE FARM AND TO SUPPORT THE LOCAL RESILIENCE EFFORT.
To work toward this objective we have defined two practical goals :
- Setting up a permaculture farm, which will deliver its harvest to the schools of Vieng-Nua. We expect to produce about 700-1000 kg of vegetables per year, thousands of kilos of rice, fruitsand herbs.
- Using that land to share and create interactions betweens children, local farmers and travellers through educative and participative workshops on topics related to resilience : natural agriculture, natural building, appropriate technologies, community based tourism, etc….
WHO ARE WE DOING THIS FOR ? WHAT WILL THEY GET FROM THE PROJECT ?
The schools and children of Vieng Nua :
« Schools are the crucible in which is decided the fate of a generation » – Henri Rolland de Villarceaux
Children are the future of societies: only through them will our good deeds eventually echo through eternity. Moreover children are at the core of communities, which is all the more true in asian societies. And by reaching out to them, we are confident that it is also the parents that we can touch.
Vieng Nua has 2 schools:
- A government school for Thai and Tai-Yai children: 100-150 kids + the school staff.
- An alternative school under the authority of the other one that also has mixed and foreigners’ children : 25-30 kids + staff.
We will be producing between 700 and 1000 kilograms of organic vegetables and hundreds of kilos of organic rice every year to offer them a quality diet, 100% produced with the perimeter of the village.
Schools will also be able to save budget and use it for better educational material instead of low quality food.
Weekly playful workshops at the farm will ensure that the children are invested in the “Organic Food in our School” project, and learn about the stakes of natural farming versus modern agriculture.
Local Farmers :
Farmers are the most active members of communities and no transition will happen without their support and participation. It is of utmost importance that they can transmit their knowledge and that they receive ongoing training to face modern challenges.
Many of them have visited us these past years, drawn by the curiosity of what and how we do gardening. Money is a strain that keeps them in the loop of modern chemical based practices, but there are ways we think could work to get them onboard with us:
- extra income as teachers during workshops for travellers (that dynamic works good in northern thailand).
- financial support during the years of transition to organic farming.
- help in selling the organic crops at premimum price. The market already exists in Chiang Mai (3 hours away) and is becoming bigger in Pai every year, thanks to the strong wellness industry and tourism. Other local foundations have used this approach which proved the most effective to get local farmers to transition to organic practices.
Solidarity Travellers :
An increasing number of travellers want to learn something and participate in solidarity projects during their holiday, in order to have a positive impact as visitors, and because they are looking for a genuine experience. Workshops can bring them just what they are looking for, all the while using tourism as a force for keeping traditions alive. Pai Seedlings Foundation is also actively engaged in that dynamics.
- Local farmers => travellers : transmission of knowledge and skills, genuine cultural experience;
- Travellers => farmers : extra income.
The natural beauty of Pai :
Let’s do our best to preserve it !
WHY DOES OUR PROJECT MAKE SO MUCH SENSE IN PAI AND VIENG NUA TODAY ?
Climate and Population :
Pai Valley has a unique mountain-tropical weather that fits a very wide variety of crops, tropical as well as temperate: a true paradise for biodiversity and permaculture… if we can preserve it!
Cultural diversity is also very rich: thaï people live there, but also many traditionnal hill tribes (Hmong, Lisu, Lahu, Tai Yai (or shan), Karen), and more recently travellers from all over the world who have been travelling through or settling here. A real global village with an alternative and bucolic atmosphere.
Vieng Nua is located 5 km outside of Pai and is the longest inhabited village in the valley.
Fast and furious economic mutations:
Unfortunately, as often the case, the subtle balance that makes life in Pai so sweet is rapidly fading due to modernity coming so fast in people’s lives, creating many problems:
- pollution of rivers and water tables / pesticides&herbicides in food => public health issue,
- integration in thaï national economy / growth of tourism / loss of social coherence / breach in the transmission of traditionnal knowledge and skills => loss of local resilience,
- Soil erosion / synthetic pollution / loss of soil fertility / logging for agriculture / subsistence crops being replaced by industrial monoculture => loss of biodiversity,
- Modern consumerism => dependancy upon transports and fossil fuels, plastic pollution.
In a nutshell: the resilience of local communities is in great danger.
Local Permaculture : a worldwide dynamics:
Do these issues seem horrifyingly familiar ? That’s not a surprise : modern agriculture creates the same troubles eveywhere! And that’s why we should all feel concerned about spreading these solutions.
Our farm will be part of a network that actively works to develop and spread solutions both local and replicable. Here are some of the places we have visited that have profoundly inspired us: Pierre Rabhi’s Colibris (France), the permaculture farm and school of Bec Hellouin, Isabella’s Graine et Ficelle, PunPun Center for Self-Reliance (Thailand), Panya Project , Raktamatchat , Ban Rai Kong Khing, Ban Hua Tung, the Thai Royal Projects…
Late King Rama IX of Thailand supported his whole life rural communities because he believed their capacity for resilience was a strength for the whole kingdom. It’s a garanty for us that our efforts will fit with the local and national approach to sustainability.
La Permaculture, a worldwide network :
Caring for humans and nature, and creating abundance to share it fairly.
“Agriculture is only sustainable when it provides nature with more than it takes from her.” – Bhaskar Save
The word Permaculture comes from PERMANENT AGRICULTURE. Its goal is to creat a sustainable way of growing food that cares for soil and resources regeneration. But it is also a holistic vision that emcompasses gardening as well as diet, health, habitat, social relation, etc… Permaculture focuses on the respect of natural processes, networks and interactions, both within nature and with our own actions.
What are the funds for?
In order to set up the farm and have it produce crops we need a minimum of 5500€.
- Tools and material for the farm : 2000€
- Local farmer’s salary (3 days/week during one year) : 2500€ (from the 2nd year on, his salary will come form workshops and and the sale of a part of the rice production and by organizing participative workshops).
- Operating costs (transport, fixed costs) : 500€
- Logistics : 500€
… and there’s more to it!we are also asking companies and other foundations for financial support to extend the scope of this initial farm: buying a pickup truck, getting visa and work-permits for Lyse and Damien, being able to pay a farmer full time, buying a solar pump for water filters, etc…). The more people support us through this crowdfunding campaign, the more likely these investors will take us seriously and also support us ! Wouldn’t you trust a project that already had thousands of supporters
“Give me a fish and I’ll eat today. Give me a fishing rod and I’ll eat everyday” (popular wisdom)
We are asking you to help us invest on a project that will go on for many many years. We have programs to ensure its viability through time and more ideas to make it grow past this first step…
… FOLLOW OUR CAMPAIGN TO LEARN MORE ! THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING !
About the project owner
Pai Seedlings Foundation is a foundation created in Thailand and recognized by the Thai government. Seedlings is also an non for profit association created in France in order to raise funds for the foundation’s projects. Our Mission is to promote practices that take care of Humans and Nature, that create abundance and share it, and local solutions to meet the fundamental needs of life, in particular food, accomodation and health.
Follow-us on Facebook :PAI SEEDLINGS FOUNDATION
Email us : firstname.lastname@example.org
« Our personal experiences have led us to believe in a world of resilience (ability to absorb and adapt to change) in which the fundamental needs of life (eating, having a home, access to health and sharing) would be met locally, in which food production would partake in the collective effort for environmental enrichment, and in which the great ecologic and energetic transition would bring forth the best of abundance and joyful simplicity. Our paths have led us to men and women that embody this ideal, and therefore we know that it is up to us individuals to initiate the change we want to see happen in societies. At the very heart of this sustainable development stands the Individual in his relationship to his environment and his community. These are the objectives we have assigned to ourselves, and the dream that we took to pursue for ourselves 10 years ago, and that we now wish to carry on with and for the community. »
– Damien & Lyse
Special thanks to all those who have inspired and helped us so far: Setthawan Khetwang / Supranee Kampongsun / Kritsada Niamjan of Pai Seedlings Foundation, Peggy / Jo / Krit / Sheena and the whole PunPun Team for your inspiration and teachings, Yao, the best cook in Chiang Mai and queen of organics who inroduced me to Northern Thailand, Kris and Jo for believing in our project before everyone, Su / Renate and the team behing Little Mountain School, Stéphane from Millennium Foundation whose help was crucial in establishing Pai Seedlings Foundation, and Mia / Thérèse / Chloé / Thibaud / Mathilde / Matthew / Moo / Seb / Raul / Tina, Seedlings’ first volunteers who have helped us on the land.
And Thanks to all those whose names are not there but who have been supportive through their friendship and trust is us.