On the east side of Austin, Texas, tucked away at the end of a road in a lower income neighborhood, there is something… different… happening. What was once a derelict lot has now grown into a forest, and not just any forest, a forest of food and community. Welcome to Weirder Austin – East Austin’s own Urban Permaculture Education & Demonstration site!
I returned to Thailand in November with a goal to connect with permaculturally minded people and projects around the region, making as many contributions and exchanges of resources as possible along the way. What I discovered in my travels was far more than I ever could have anticipated! I am excited now to be able to share my experiences with you in hopes that it will provide a resource for all those interested in exploring the expansive world of Thailand Permaculture.
In Part 1 of this series I described my revisit to Rak Tamachat, a Permaculture education centre in central Thailand that I had participated in developing only a few months prior, and the community integration work that was taking place there. Then I traveled north to Chiang Mai where I connected with many friends and allies in the region. I visited Chiang Mai Life Construction, PermaPai, and ended the with more community integration and development at The Panya Project.
I returned to Thailand in late November of 2012 after 3 months visiting friends and family in my home state of Texas. Following a brief respite, getting grounded and recovering from the disorienting 33 hour journey and 13 hour time difference, it was time to start designing my travel itinerary. While resting in Bangkok, I ventured over to the infamous Khao San Road for the first time. Given my previous experience embedded in a rural village in Thailand’s agricultural heart, Khao San Road was not exactly what I had in mind for my travels ahead. In drawing up my plans, I had no intention of following any well trodden guidebook tourist track. There is something much more exciting happening in this country than the bars and souvenir peddlers of Khao San. Just outside of the facade of Thailand’s touristed market streets, there is a wealth of precious gems waiting to be discovered. The most prominent on my list, although appearing a bit rough on the surface, turns out to be a glimmering diamond of hope for the country, and the world. This is the story of my adventures in exploring the many treasures of Thailand Permaculture.
In a rural village at the Southwest corner of the Isaan Plateau, just over an hour drive south of Thailand’s second largest city, Korat, a band of tenacious permaculturalists have just arrived at the site of their new home. Over the course of the next year, infrastructure will be erected, community and teaching spaces will be established and a traditional corn and rice farm will undergo a dramatic metamorphosis. The work here has already begun… and I’d like to take you along for the ride!
We arrived on site on a warm mid-January afternoon full of excitement and anticipation. What wonders awaited us on this amazing new permaculture adventure?
These last few weeks of traveling and adventure have been something of a dream. In three weeks time, I’ve transitioned from living in a tent, waking each morning at dawn and milking cows to, jogging in the city, meditating on the beach while the sun set across the pristine Indian Ocean, Sleeping in three airport terminals in two separate countries, to finally find myself in this fascinatingly beautiful city of Mueang Phuket, Thailand. I have one week to absorb and immerse myself in the culture here before making the trek north to meet up with team Panya CQ. After a very brief sojourn in Bangkok the crew and I will make our way north again to Korat and the 50 acres I will call home for the next year. Continue reading
Imagine, you’re perusing the Sunday paper, thumbing through various articles, world news, sports, opinion pieces… yea, we’ve all been there. What feelings arise for you as the images pass by your eyes? Article after article, world news and local… everything seems so dismal.
In disgust and with a freshly drained world view, you fold the paper up and drop it back down on the table. Just before you look away and try to forget the morning sorrow, a small advertisement catches your eye.
DESIGN & INSTALL
Several, all but empty, gift shops line the main drag here in the small town of Kaunakakai, Moloka`i. Two meager grocers dominate the square’s activity. On the edge of town, which is really only about a block wide, there sits a quant old natural food store that reminds me of more than one ol’ town co-op on the mainland.
A doddering old codger directs me around the store and points out all the things grown on the island without every having to leave his seat behind the counter.
“This is the stuff Robin brought by yesterday” he explains to another customer, pointing to a box of produce just over the counter from where he sat.
Robin, that’s who I’m supposed to meet up with later. She’s coming into town to meet me discuss possible camping accommodations. What are the chances this store clerk is talking about the same Robin you ask? Well, on Moloka`i, as I would soon find out, the chances are pretty darn good.