One of the main aims of Gaia Ashram in Thailand is to support the regeneration of Gaia and a major part of this is to grow most of our food on the land. The question arises:
How do we get the land to be productive to the extend that we are able to feed our community and the people that stay at Gaia Ashram from the land? At the moment we probably get 30 percent of food from the land.
This sounds like the romantic dream to many urbanites that wish to escape that crazy reality but it is a big job, needs focus, consistent energy input and motivation. A lot of respect to those organic farmers that make it work financially, full power and effort.
Challenges of Gaia Ashram Farm reality:
-As Gaia Ashram aims to be a place where we try to balance all four dimensions of the Ecovillage mandala i.e. the social, ecology, economy and worldview. This sometimes can make it challenging to focus on one thing as there are often many layers.
-At Gaia Ashram we have many projects on the go (all good projects and amazing) that demand our energy and time. We tend to disperse our energy. We also did spent a lot of our energy in the initial years on developing our living & social structures.
-To have a successional harvest and a diversity of harvest.
-Initial soil fertility is low due to extended monocropping and soil depletion by bad agricultural practices from the past.
-Weather can be a challenge, it can get very hot at times and at the same time we have a rainy season where we can have a lot of rain and parts of the land get flooded.
-Gaia Ashram relies a lot on volunteer energy and many of us are not used to working in the sun for extended periods of time or have experience in farming/gardening.
-To deal with some local challenges such as low germination rates, heat stress and plant deceases & insects that munch on our veggies or seeds etc.
Strengths of Gaia Ashram Farm reality:
-We usually have a lot of people to do the work.
-We are currently in the situation were we are able to hire local workers to support the growing of food and tending the garden.
-We are consciously trying to increase the amount of food we eat from the garden. As one thing is growing the food the other thing is harvesting and potentially processing and actually eating it.
-Most people that come to Gaia Ashram are motivated to learn and support.
-We love Gaia.
-We see the value of perennials low maintenance systems and start to eat more and more perennials.
-We have a lot of land available to grow food and a lot of freedom to experiment and trail.
-Good water systems and many ponds.
-Increase of amount of biomass we are growing.
I have attached a image of google maps of the Gaia Ashram land:
Torquise: Gaia Ashram boundary.
Blue: Main veggies production at the moment
Yellow: Main rice cultivation for Gaia Ashram in dry season.
Pink: Potential grain & beans production in cool season.
On the map we see the potential that we have to grow a lot of our food at Gaia Ashram. As we are becoming more productive it is important to remember to stay connected to the land and to take a lot of time to observe and interact with the land as things are growing.
Can we find the middle way of increasing production and staying connected and in the end all this process is serving Gaia Ashram? Can we get to the point were we are so connected to the land that the wisdom flows through us and we become instruments of pure Gaian intervention?
If you are interested in supporting Gaia Ashram in improving our farm reality and join our farm team please join us on this journey of growth:
“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
― Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution
Article Written by Tom Deiters
Tom Deiters is one of the community members of Gaia Ashram who has a big love for nature and has it as his main mission to regenerate Gaia and to increase the throbbing life of our planet.