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 priority; we organize fun workshops at the farm for school children to raise environmental awareness.
Our food is being poisoned by a ridiculous amount of chemicals that is also destroying the planet. It’s time to make a shift and educate ourselves. Growing food doesn’t have to be industrial and left to a small percentage of the population controlled by the chemical industry and strangled by debt.
We can all make a difference and improve resilience by growing small vegetable gardens in our backyard. It’s fun, it tastes better, and if we all do it the shift can be massive.
Organic food for local schools 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 it into a food heaven rich in diversity and abundance. We want to share it.
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 were used to both irrigate and drain excess water.
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. They also bring shade and organic matter that can be turned into top soil or can be used as composting material.
We have planted more than 50 young trees this year: pigeon peas and Jamaican cherry, mangoes, tamarind, lime and oranges, moringa, papaya, mulberries, coconuts, bananas, and roselle.
We have opted for raised vegetable beds with bamboo frames to avoid the problem of the soil being water logged during monsoons.
For vegetables, we focused on varieties that like water and are resistant to bugs such as beans, corn, squash and watermelon.
We are lucky to have Romance Farm in Pai as a partner. They graciously provide an unlimited amount of manure from their cows and horses, an invaluable source of rich organic matter to compost and enrich our own soil.
We believe in sharing the fruit of our experience. Farms are an amazing places to discover, learn, and have fun. This is what we kept in mind while designing our education plan for a series of workshops that will take children (and adults alike) through a wonderful journey.
For each step of the journey, we have created playful, hands-on activities at both the schools and the farm to introduce concepts, vocabulary and practical applications with teachers. We encourage interactive learning and encourage students and teachers to learn from each other and share their experience.
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.
- Compare plants that have grown in rich soil and those that have grown in poor soil. What can you tell about the difference size? What about the amount of vegetables/fruits the soil yields?
Step 3: Preparing Good Soil.
- Prepare soil beds using the “poop lasagna technique” – layers of dried matter (carbon rich), green matter (nitrogen rich), and manure.
- Let the children play with it — success guaranteed!
Step 4 : Planting Seeds.
- Introduce the concept of growing from seeds.
- Have children select seeds from our bank and plant them in small pots, then water.
Step 5: Transplanting into 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 children observe how their plants have grown and allow them to describe and observe the evolution of the soil they have prepared.
- Children take the pot(s) with his/her name and transplant it into the garden bed with a small sign with their name.
Step 6: Maintenance.
What’s going on during the 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’s finally time to harvest the vegetables!
- Describe taste, texture, size, color, smell and feeling.
- Introduce the concept of saving some vegetable 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.
Thank you to all the people that supported our crowdfunding campaign in 2017 on Ulule to help make this possible.