Written by Sara Linn, Oklahoma State University
Over the past two days, the Thailand Global Fellows have been learning about organic farming and earth building with Pun Pun Center for Self Reliance. They are a part of a community that work together to have sustainable living. We received a tour of their farm, hands-on experiences, and exchanged discussion on the success of the farm and in our own futures.
We had the opportunity to learn hands-on about sustainable living by sorting seeds and making bricks. The seeds came from a variety of different crops that allowed us to practice wet seed storage and dry seed storage. These practices are beneficial to farmers because they are inexpensive because they remove the seeds from plants that will also be used as food. The practice also means that the seeds are viable in the area to work with climate, water usage, and type of care needed. Seed storage can also be a negative because the seeds are limited to approximately three years of storage before they will not grow. It also does not prepare the farmer for drought and wet conditions with resistant seeds.
The group had a blast making our own bricks out of clay enriched soil and rice hulls. We climbed into a mud pit and used our feet to mix the soil, water, and hulls into a slushy-like substance. Next, we used a pre-made frame to form the slushy substance into bricks. They were left in the sun to harden. We were excited to hear that the bricks that we made will be used in the near future to help a nearby family that does not have a house that is large enough for two adults and two children to live in.
TOP FOUR LESSONS LEARNED—
- Diversity is important to the consumer. Jon, the owner, did not see any diversity in the food that he was eating thirteen years ago when he first started the community and made the facility to be a learning center for foreigners and Thai people to work together to live in harmony and produce food seasonally when they naturally grow.
- People are in constant movement. Farmers are selling land to move to the city and city people are moving to the country to become farmers. Jon told us that he supports those people in finding their happiness to provide education to new farmers and support to people moving away.
- Service to others is necessary in the Thai culture. Peggy told us that it is common for farmers in Thailand to work together to complete planting and harvesting. Without help, it would take to much time to complete farming tasks.
- There is room for every type of agriculture. Many of us as agricultural students are quick to jump to the importance of conventional agriculture using the practices of GMO and chemical product; however, these past two days have given us time to explore alternative forms of farming. Neither is wrong and there is plenty of land to use both practices on this incredible world.
Thank you to the staff and volunteers of Pun Pun Center for Self Reliance for being incredible hosts and teaching us more about sustainable living.