64/3 Moo1 Tambon Vieng nuea, Amphoe Pai, Mae Hong Son, Thailand seedlings.pai@gmail.com +66 852641331

Organic Food for the Schools

CREATING AN EDUCATIONAL PERMACULTURE FARM FOR THE SCHOOLS OF VIENG NUEA, THAILAND

The project consists in supplying the schools of the village of Vieng Nua (in northern Thaïland) with fresh, local and organic food. We will achieve this by creating an autonomous permaculture farm (natural agriculture) with educational and participative activities.

The long term mission of Seedlings’ activities is to strengthen local resilience by empowering local individuals and communities and by focusing on local productions units.

Why? Because we feel that food, accommodation, medicine and sharing are fundamental needs in life, and that every one of us on the planet should be able to provide for these basics needs within his direct community. It is a matter of caring for human dignity and solidarity that we all strive for a achieving this goal, which we feel is a requirement to a resilient future.

Practically speaking we have defined two objectives for this specific project:

  1. To set up a small permaculture farm for the schools: natural diversified agriculture of fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs.
  2. To develop a space for sharing knowledge and experience with the participation of school kids, local farmers and tourists&expats around educational workshops in which topics such as permaculture, natural agriculture, appropriate technologies, etc., will be addressed.

This is what we wish the farm will look like…

The vegetable garden has been incorporated into the design and divided into several areas.

 

There will be a vegetable garden area in the form of a Mandala in which we would like to grow the following vegetables: aubergines, peppers, peppers, salads, spinach, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potato, onion, garlic, zucchini, different types of squash, beets, radishes, watermelons, beans, beans, okra, plum incas, sweet potato, flowers and local herbs to promote diversity and protection of species between them …

 

Our land being ancient rice fields, the soil is very clayey in nature. Flooded in the rainy season and exposed to the sun and drought in winter, the soil has been compacted year after year, making it very difficult to grow vegetables. This garden will be realized in cultivation on mounds. Mound cultivation is a gardening technique that consists of accumulating soil, compost and mulch on the surface in the form of mounds to present a number of benefits such as, potentially thicker soil, good retention water, a more airy structure of the soil, a larger cultivation surface compared to a flat surface, a faster warming in winter (thanks to the angle of the surface of the slopes of the mounds by contribution to the rays of the sun, less physical effort by preserving these knees and his back, a precise delimitation of roads and areas of crops, which avoids to tamp the area of ​​culture up inadvertently.

 

Hillcrops often require significant work for their placement, to then allow greater efficiency and require only low maintenance.

 

The principles of a mound to be respected in permaculture are the following:

  • used local materials (organic kitchen waste, neighbors’ manure or surrounding farms, mowing, tree-size residues …)
  • balanced carbon and nitrogen inputs
  • cover the mound and never leave it bare with mulches depending on what is available locally – never returned the soil in a hillock. It can be ventilated thanks to a fork or a grelinette

We need to feed the mound soil with compost. The compost is the result of the degradation of organic matter (herb tonde, dead leaves, some kitchen waste …) in earthy mixture extremely rich in nutrients which will bring to the mound an essential nutrition to the life (for the worms of earth, microorganisms, bacteria, plants, vegetables …). The mulch or mulching (as mentioned above) is organic matter placed on the surface of the mounds to protect them from the sun, driving rain, wind and will allow to retain soil moisture after watering and therefore limit water consumption of the mound. The mound being covered, its compaction and erosion will be limited. The composition of the mulch is different depending on the objectives of the mound and the environment. In the case of a vegetable garden, it is important to reproduce a soil rich in nutrients that will promote the growth of annuals, and vegetables. For example, it will not necessarily be productive to reproduce a forest floor because the latter will promote more growth of shrubs and trees. In our case, we will use rice husk, soy, and straw. Finally, the mound culture creates humus, a richer soil season after season. In addition, at the mandala, we will devote an important area for growing on mounds in larger quantities of vegetables such as potatoes, onions, garlic, squash and zucchini. All these well defined areas will be covered with mulch and then filled with seedlings prepared several days or weeks in advance to keep a garden clean and organized according to our needs. We will feed them regularly with natural fertilizer, also prepared upstream to provide maximum nutrients to our plants.

 

CREATE AN AROMATIC SPIRAL

 

The second objective of this vegetable sub-project is to create several aromatic spirals. Indeed, in Thailand, the climate is hostile to the cultivation of a large number of aromatic plants. An aromatic spiral is the cultivation of specific aromatic and / or medicinal plants in the form of an elaborate spiral structure. (see photo above) The structure accumulates heat and tempers temperature variations. The slope creates a microclimate warmer than the surroundings. The raised mound is well drained, even in wet terrain and climate. In the same way as for the mounds of the vegetable garden, the well-defined aromatic spirals will be covered with mulch and then filled with seedlings prepared several days or weeks in advance. We will feed them regularly with natural fertilizer, also prepared upstream to provide maximum nutrients to our plants. We would like to start cultivating plants such as lavender, thyme, rosemary, chives, coriander, basil, mint, sage, dill, borage, chamomile, chervil, lemon balm, savory, oregano, parsley, lemongrass, verbena, rosemary, spring onions of China, Chinese coriander (Pak chi farang), kaffir lemon leaf, ginger, galangal, turmeric, …

 

MANUFACTURE NATURAL FERTILIZER:

 

There are different methods for making natural fertilizer as there are several types of natural fertilizers.

 

EM: Effective micro-organism: From fruits not consumed from the orchard, Just take plastic cans of about 200 L, add fruit, water and molasse and let macerate during About 4 weeks then use the liquid obtained and pour it on the mounds. The decomposition of fruits creates micro-organisms that promote the development of bacterial life in the soil and attracts worms. Vegetable composts resulting from the degradation of organic matter from deciduous waste, tonde, dead leaves …

 

Animal Compounds: In the neighboring farm, there are rabbits, horses, cows, ducks and chickens. We have concluded with the owners that all animal manure that they do not use is delivered to the field to allow the manure to decompose over time. For convenience, we chose to make compost quickly (for use in our mounds after degradation) from manure from the neighboring farm

 

NOW ! WE WANT TO APPLY THESES METHODS ON OUR NEW LAND !!!