The workcamp with Volunteer Spirit Association in Thailand was a wonderful experience. As soon as I arrived in Thailand I was struck by history, culture and rich sense of place combined with the influence of the modern world and the busy bustle of 65 million people. The project was split into two parts and each afforded us an opportunity to share ideas, work in different gardens, meet local leaders, relax and learn about challenges and opportunities for farmers in Thailand.
The first week was spent at Kum Numg’s house near Songlka. He is a very well regarded advocate for organic and alternative gardening and natural health. Almost every day (and most nights) government officials, groups of doctors, farm association members ant others would come to meet with him and take tours of his land and projects. He focuses on making compost teas and backyard organic gardening in used tires as well as natural home-scale gardening. He has also done grafting and plant selection to improve papayas, rice, and other fruits and vegetables. We also spent time visiting local markets, temples and other historical sites. The whole workcamp would ride around in his 4-door diesel Ranger mini pick up – 2 Koreans, 3 French, myself, 3 Thai girls, 2 group leaders and Kum Nung driving and we weren’t the most overloaded vehicle on the roads, not even close!
The second week was spent at “Peace Village” working on a variety of projects including a lot of work with the Morning Glories, helping to establish a usable and hygienic compost system near the kitchen, repainting their welcome sign, helping with soil improvements, watering, and working in their kitchen herb garden.
Thank you for the experience. The trip was a success. Thai people rely on the market as both a source of meals and their social network. I think the purpose of continued agriculture is to support that and exchange new ideas from around the world. “Peace Village” is good land where a lot of work has already been done and there is great potential.