Our personal experience and endeavors 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 responsible 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 the community.
— Damien & Lyse
We are Damien and Lyse, a couple who fell in love with Thai culture and their people about 10 years ago and moved to a peaceful place in Thailand’s Pai Valley, a few kilometers from the Burmese border.
We are a young organization created in 2017 (supported by Millenium Foundation and Léa Nature). We bought old rice fields that we wanted to rehabilitate by creating a resilient cultivated ecosystem through permaculture: vegetable garden, orchard, aromatic and medicinal plants, grains.
Our goal is to produce enough food, in quantity and diversity, to provide schools and use the farm as an educational and experimental structure.
A plot of 2500m² was donated to Pai Seedlings Foundation when it was created by Khun Kritanai Chungyampin. This land was an old rice field farmed in non-intensive monoculture (one harvest per year) and chemical (use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers twice per harvest). We want to rehabilitate part of this land in a community kitchen garden by using permaculture. In addition to the 2500m² offered to the foundation, Khun Kritanai Chungyampin owns the adjacent land of more than 4000m² on which Thai jasmine rice was grown in 2017 without fertilizer.
For 5 years we have grown a 800 m² large vegetable garden following the principles of permaculture, observing and enriching ourselves with the local experience of Lung Son (Uncle Son), the 65 year old owner of our house and garden. Two years ago, we found the land of our dreams, an ancient rice fields located in Pai and surrounded by beautiful and majestic mountains. Thanks to this land, we are fulfilling our dream of neo-farmers, whose vision is to achieve food and energy self-sufficiency for our family and community and to create a site dedicated to education and sharing of knowledge. In Winter 2016-2017 we were able to create our own NGO : Pai Seedlings Foundation was born.
Our primary objective is the rehabilitation of this land by creating a resilient cultivated ecosystem using the founding principles of permaculture.
Damien has been living in Thailand since 2009 and is one of the co-founders, directors and project managers of Pai Seedlings Foundation.
After graduating from business and management school (Reims, France, 2007) he traveled in Asia for a year to find inspiration and meaning, which he found in Thailand. His determination, enthusiasm and entrepreneur mindset have led him to different positions (manager of a restaurant, chef, teacher, farmer, project manager…) which enriched the diversity of his holistic approach to resilience and Transition.
He is passionate about his host country and has always been inspired by its living tradition and its unique art de vivre. Cooking and the philosophy of the Dao have led him to permaculture which he studied for 7 months as a volunteer in PunpunFarm, a center for resilience, near Chiang Mai.
His dream for Pai Seedlings Foundation is now to give the adventure a collective dimension, generating development projects that foster social, economical and environmental resilience, as well as popular participation. In this he is very inspired by the regenerative development approached of the Regenesis Group.
Lyse has a background in Chemistry but gave up this field 10 years ago when she consciously brought herself into a new life connected with Mother-Earth. She is a nature lover and mother of two beautiful children. After living in multiple farms, she took her permaculture course PDC in Thailand in 2013 and has been working on land restoration through permaculture since 2011.
She facilitates permaculture workshops for children and small groups on how to bring awareness and mindfulness to their daily life.
As co-founder of Pai Seedlings Foundation, she makes a point to embody this into her every day practice as well.
Lung Son lived his entire life as a farmer in Vieng Nuea until he decided 8 years ago to buy a plot of land, restore its fertility through natural practices, and turn his back on conventional agriculture to grow organic subsistence crops. The results are breathtaking!
As a Thai native with a big heart, it is in his land that Lyse and Damien have been living since 2011. It is thanks to him that they have understood some of the local dynamics and through him that they have slowly nurtured this project.