Learning New Techniques for Food Security

North Thailand TCD Expansion, Thailand


COVID-19 has had a devastating economic effect on the villages of northern Thailand, leaving many without their usual incomes and means of obtaining food. This has left the villages we are beginning to work with in a precarious situation where they are not always sure where their next meal will come from, and the meals they do have are not nearly as nutritious as they could be. In response and as a type of seed project, the local community leaders we work with decided to be brave volunteers and be the first people in their communities to plant gardens with the hope of diversifying their nutrient intake as well as providing stable produce throughout various seasons of the year. 


In July, four community leaders, who are also farmers, came down from the mountains to attend a two-day agriculture training class outside Chiang Mai that GHNI staff organised for them. They valued the training so much that they paid for their attendance themselves while GHNI assisted with room and board. During the training, they were fascinated to learn new techniques that would enable them to produce stronger, healthier crops on their land without using chemicals – a change that will not only save them money but will also help care for their land in the long-term. These techniques included producing biochar, grafting, seed saving, composting, making natural pesticides, and ways to make soil additives out of fermented fruits, vegetables, and even deceased livestock.


One leader who attended, Tienchai, has been a farmer for most of his life. And though he already knows much about agriculture, he was still eager to learn. He was first to jump up and try new grafting techniques, help prepare a natural soil additive made from fermented banana flowers, and separate and select the best seeds to save. When asked what he will do with this information, he responded by saying, “I will teach this to the people in my village.” He was so excited to learn about the value of vegetation naturally found around his community that he had previously viewed as refuse. 


Another leader named Nipon responded that he will “teach all the children that come to his camp these techniques.” After the training, Tienchai used some of his own money to purchase a book that covers many of the skills they learnt at the training with the intent of learning more and sharing with others. All the leaders went home with a certificate of completion, hundreds of seeds ready for their gardens, and new knowledge that they can share with their communities.


Thank you!