Coordinator, Project WIN
Aj.Thongin Nuntarat, M.A.
For ten years Project WIN has taught modern sustainable farming methods and installed demonstration projects in Hill Tribe villages throughout Northern Thailand. www.project-vin.blogspot.com. We’ve maintained focus on educating village children in a family setting and always collaborated with local teachers.
Along the way, with separately raised funding, we’ve also tackled short-term projects like the House for Withun in 2020. www. https://project-vin.blogspot.com/2020/06/house-for-withun-update-june-28.html
The House for Withun is in Huai Phong Village, Amphur Chiang Dao, about 90 minutes from Chiang Mai. Two hundred families live in the village, including 50 school children. Almost of the families subsist with small farms.
While we were building the house, we realized we also built real trust in the region, and may finally be able to do something about the families’ reliance on toxic pesticides and herbicides.Red, green, yellow and white boxes of chemicals are everywhere, and we know they damage the soil, kill earthworms and good bacteria, and that long-term exposure can lead to various human diseases. The poisons also leach into the soil and groundwater, making matters worse. The villagers know it too, but felt they didn’t have options.
As with all of our projects, we have to show the villagers that they can be just as productive using all or mostly all organic solutions, gradually changing over until they achieve full freedom from chemicals.
The local chief agrees and he gave us a 10-rai farm (2.5 rai equals an acre) about two kilometers from the village. This land will be used as an experimental gardening plot and eventually a community learning center. We call it Rai Pu Lom (farm surrounded by mountains).
Our first practical step is to begin working with one family. Their farm is located at the single entrance to the village. Everybody coming and going from the village has to pass this farm so they can see what is going on. The Ba Family (mom, dad, grandma, and three kids 7-13) are farming their half rai of cabbage, cucumber, butternut squash, cilantro, green onion, garlic, and pumpkin, and doing it with organic methods, poison free.
The bigger farm that we manage, about a kilometer and a half away from the Ba Family farm, experiments with the same crops, but is adding more, including rice and fruit. And we hope to add fish to the rice field.
We are also developing a no-burning plan, and will use the weeds, underbrush and other natural materials to create organic fertilizer. Our goal is for the other villagers to see what the Ba Family is doing, ask questions, and volunteer to get involved. It’s already happening.