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

Organic Food for the Schools

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Objectives

The goal of the project is to develop an organic farm to provide the schools of Vieng Nua with healthy and locally produced organic food.

Education is also a main concern and we organize fun workshops at the farm for school children to raise environmental awareness.

Problematic

Our food is being poisoned by the insane use of chemicals that is also destroying the planet. It is time to make a shift and to educate ourselves. Growing food doesn’t have to be industrial and left to a few percentage of the population controlled by the chemical industry and strangled by debt.

We can all make a difference and improve resilience by growing a small vegetable garden in our backyard. It’s fun, it taste better, and if we all do it the shift can be massive.

 

THE FARM

Organic food for the school is part of Seedlings larger mission: land restoration through permaculture.

We have bought old rice paddies that have been abused by monoculture, herbicides, and lack of proper care for decades and want to turn them into a food heaven striving on diversity to create abundance and share it.

WATER

Water is the main resource, plentiful during monsoon (June-October) and scarce during dry season (November-May). To avoid floods and drought, we started by digging ponds on the lands and a network of drains that can be used to both irrigate and drain excess water.

ORCHARD

Trees and fruit trees take time to grow, but their root system eventually has the ability to break down through even clay soil and improve its ability to absorb water and bring it to underground water tables. Plus they bring shade and organic matter that will turn into top soil or can be used as composting material.

We have planting more than 50 young trees this year: pigeon peas and Jamaican cherry, mangoes, tamarind, lime and oranges, moringa, papaya, mulberries, coconuts, bananas, roselle…

VEGETABLE GARDEN

We have opted for raised vegetable beds with bamboo frame to avoid the problem of the soil being water logged in monsoon.

As for vegetable, we will focus this summer on varieties that like water and are resistant to bugs that can be plentiful. Beans, corn, squash, watermelon…

COMPOST

We are lucky to have Romance Farm in Pai as a partner, which lets us unlimited use to the manure from their cows and horses, an invaluable source of rich organic matter to compost and enrich our own soil.

 

 

THE EDUCATION WORKSHOPS

We believe in sharing the fruits of our experience. Farms are amazing places to discover, learn, and have fun. This is what we kept in mind while designing our education plan for a series of workshop that will take the children (and adults) in a wonderful journey.

For each step of the journey, we have thought about activities at the school to introduce notions, vocabulary and ideas with the teachers. Then playful and participative activities at the farm, and finally some activities back at the school where children can come back to their experience and share it.

Step 1: Discovering biodiversity.

  • What is living, what is non-living?
  • Observe the manifestations of life, their interactions.
  • Enjoy a walk through our permaculture farm, look at plants, trees, flowers, feed the chicken, observe bees…

Step 2: What is Soil?

  • Observe the difference between good soil and poor soil. Play with hands, mix with water, make balls, dig holes.
  • Show them plants that have grown in rich soil and those that have grown in poor soil: What can you tell about the difference: size? Amount of vegetables/fruits.

Step 3: preparing good soil

  • Make a vegetable bed using the technic of ‘poop lasagna’: layers of dried matters (carbon rich), green matter (nitrogen rich), and manure.
  • Let the children play with it, success guaranteed!

Step 4 : Planting Seeds

  • Introducing the concept of growing from seeds.
  • Have each children select seeds from our bank and plant them in small pots with their name, then water.

Step 5: Transplanting in vegetable beds

  • Now that seeds have grown in their pots (step 4) and vegetable beds are ready (step 3), we can transplant the seedlings.
  • Let the children observe how their plants have grown, make description. Let them observe the evolution of the soil they have prepared.
  • Each children will then take the pot(s) with his/her name and transplant it in the garden bed, letting a small sign with his/her name.

Step 6: Maintaining

  • What’s going on during growth process? Come back after a couple of weeks to observe growth of plants and evolution.
  • Get rid of unwanted weeds.
  • Feed with compost (food for plants).

Step 7: Harvest and degustation

  • It is finally time to harvest the vegetable they planted and taste them.
  • Describe taste, texture, size, color, smell, and feeling.
  • Introduce the concept of keeping some vegetable for saving seeds for next planting season.

 

 

DISCOVER NATURAL FARMING WORKSHOPS

Pai Seedlings Foundation organizes natural farming activity days every week at our farm. Come participate for a day of grounding work, discovery and fun in a most beautiful environment.

Please contact us for more details or visit the workshop page.

 

Our PARTNERS

Thank you to Léa Nature and 1% For the Planet for their support in starting this project.

Thank you to all the people that supported our crowdfunding campaign in 2017 on Ulule.fr and made it possible!