Volunteering at “Namkhan permaculture eco-farm”, Luang Prabang, Laos
In this article, we try something new. We use our professional experience and newly gathered knowledge to establish a diagnostic / report of the Namkhan eco-farm project.
We refer to permaculture ethics and principles. We also look at the key permaculture domains, i.e. domains that require transformation to create a sustainable culture. Based on those references, we reflect upon our personal experience as volunteers for the “Namkhan Permaculture Eco-Farm” project near Luang Prabang, Laos.
First, we want to inspire from David Holmgren’s “Permaculture Principles and Paths Beyond Sustainability” and recall that permaculture can be seen as “Tools to Assist in Ethical Decisions:
In attempting to lead an ethical life we need conceptual tools that will allow us to find what is appropriate, is practical for the situation and context, and yet will have some enduring value in chaotically changing times. Permaculture, and especially permaculture design principles, are conceptual tools which many people are finding useful in this journey (…) [of] ethical adaptation to ecological realities.”.
With our analysis, we want to provide objective feedback and suggest some ideas. We also want to better understand our feelings about this project and eventually justify them.
Permaculture in Phang Nha Ke Bang
We travel to learn, work and grow with positive projects; we also travel because we love to discover new landscapes, cultures, foods… Vietnam brings it all in one. If you follow us, you might have noticed that we are enjoying Vietnamese food a lot, that we have great opportunities to discover beautiful cities, amazing temples and astounding pristine Nature. When it comes to projects, we are also very lucky.
During Mathieu’s Permaculture Design Course (PDC) at Aranya Agricultural Alternatives in India, Mathieu met Chon Chon and Chris, a lovely couple that travelled a lot to work with ethnic minorities, especially in South-East Asia. Chris told Mathieu about the beautiful projects they worked on. He especially recommended visiting Human Ecology Practice Area (HEPA) in Vietnam and invited us to contact Thi Tran Lanh for more information and volunteering opportunities.
Visiting HEPA was not possible due to VISA limitations. Nevertheless, Lanh recommended two projects: visit a 20-year old permaculture farm in the heart of the amazing jungle grottos landscapes of Phang Nha Ke Bang and stay with the Red Dzao community in Ta Phin, near Sa Pa, north Vietnam .
This article is about our visit of the 20-year old permaculture farm near Phang Nha. We invite our reader to discover and appreciate the wisdom of the family that takes care of it.
I tend to write (too) long articles. This abstract gives you an overview of the content and the key messages from this blog post. Feel free to read the complete post 😊
We spent several hours with the Phuoc family. The son came directly at our homestay and guided us to the farm. As we arrived we met Mr. Phuoc and his wife, two very smiley and charismatic persons. We had the chance to get an interview with them.
Mr. Phuoc told us about how they turned a minefield into a model eco-farm through permaculture practices. In twenty years Mr. Phuoc rehabilitated the soil by employing permaculture methods and principles and this article relates the history of the farm. We also explain what we acknowledged from the visit of the gardens.
Finally, we relate the more intimate conversation we had with Mr. Phuoc regarding how people migrate from land to cities and how society is influencing us and breaks our connection to the earth. We make the parallel with many projects we have met.
The story of Mr. Phuoc’s farm is a successful rehabilitation of a land after the destruction by the war and the people exodus with society shift from rural to urban model. This meeting with the Phuoc’s family was full of wisdom and good values that we want to share with you. Have a good read.
Trees are so important for so many reasons. They play an active role in the water cycle, in protecting and building soils, in hosting and enhancing biodiversity, in sequestering carbon, in providing biomass and so much more. The impacts of deforestation are well-documented: erosion, soil salination, soil acidification, desertification… which lead to water scarcity, famine, conflicts, migrations… Even though most of the permanent cultures and tribes revered trees as brothers and sisters, “modernity” and “progress” encouraged and keeps on supporting forest clearing (facts not debated here).
Our solution and its expectable benefits
Plant trees to:
Laura & Mathieu