In the summer of 2019, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Thailand to teach English and work on a permaculture farm. I traveled with 20 other strangers with the program GIVE volunteers. (GIVE Website!). This was one of the best experiences of my life. In the jungle, about 4 hours outside of Chiang Mai, the villagers gracefully allowed us to stay within their homes and eat with their families. We traveled to many different farms around the village and nearby others to work with many people growing crops and doing other agricultural practices.
Using permaculture farming tactics leaves land more natural than classic monoculture farming. Permaculture uses regenerative agriculture practices and overall is a non-conventional, more sustainable, holistic, and natural way to farm. There were many different projects we worked on, but below is some photos of one of my favorites.
Here we had amassive pile of corn husk that was of no use to anyone, and was deposited in the parking lot of a small hardware store. We brought many bags and went to work shoveling the corn into bags until we had multiple trucks full.
From here, we drove to a school where other volunteers had started a permaculture farm and were teaching the kids how to grow their own food. Within this village, there are many boarder students and the school only has what converts to a couple USD to feed each student for the week. Having this farm on campus is helpful for teaching students as well as acquiring healthy foods that don't need to be bought.
In a days work we unloaded all of the corn husk from the trucks and spread it out over the entire farm as fertilizer. This a great example of a natural fertilizer, that cost nothing, and reduces waste!
The schools around the village had a very high teacher to student ratio. The teachers are overworked and have trouble working with every at once. Because of this, a lot of different ages are sometimes put together to learn similar curriculums because there is simply not enough time or educators to spread it out. At the schools we visited, we worked with kindergarden through eigth graders, all in separate hour long time blocks, on their pronounciation of english. It was truly amazing to see the progress that students made with the language in just an hour.
Understanding the farm work in relation to sustainability is typically easy for many, but the school work explores the entire social side of sustainability. The UN sustainability goals very nicely map out that sustainability is not just reversing climate change but an all-encompassing word related to equality, poverty, women's rights, and so much more.