Nature Building and seeds saving are amazing and very famous here. Pun Pun is a small organic farm and community. It offers demonstration and learning for simple living and self-reliance life style They are currently around 15 Thais and international peoples (mostly Thai), speaking both English and Thai, and spanning in age from newborns to nearing 50 . They got the land from 2003 without fund and borrowed money from their friends to purchase the land. They managed to come through all the process by their own hands including integrity of the soil on the land, farming, constructing. It really changes people’s view of money “Nothing can be done without money”.
這 塊土地剛開始取得時是非常地貧瘠的，地利不足簡直就沙漠化了且土壤流失的問題嚴重，所以剛開始這塊地就像被下了死咒般很難種東西，慢慢地他們沿著山坡一點 一點地往上增加土壤層，他們先是山坡地上沿著等高缐種一些香蕉樹以增加土地裡的有機質、含水量及防止土壤的流失，然後在香蕉樹間種下一些其他可食用的植物 如果樹及香草植物，接著也開始以糞便、堆肥與覆蓋的方式建立菜園，同時也得用雙手打造幾棟生活所需的建築物，這些材料全盡可能地就地取材，施工期間就先寄 住在附近鄰居的小屋每天從早工作到晚，但也開心著能每天欣賞著這基地一點一點的變化。
The land was so poor like a desert and also erosion problem while they got it. It seemed a death wish to put anything in the soil. But they gradually built up the soil and moved their way up the hill developing as much as they could at a time. They planted banana trees in lines going down the hill in order to build up organic matter, water in the soil and prevent more erosion. They planted fruit and other herbal edibles in between the banana trees. They developed the garden beds with manure, compost and mulch. They also had to build all the structures we needed to support community living needs and a place to host programs. This was all done by hand using all available resources possible. They stayed in a little hut on the neighbor’s land and worked morning to night and delighted in the changes happening everyday.
Another aspect they were dedicated to work on was to change people’s view of money. Although money can be a tool, they feel it should not be our inspiration or dependency. As the saying goes, ‘when all the forests and food is gone we will not be able to eat our bills’. They feel that true security comes from the ability to grow your own food, build your own home, and provide for your own needs. They also hope what they demonstrate should be able to be done by anyone. For this purpose having degraded soil and no funds was perfect. If they could transform the land with what they had, anyone could do the same. Because of this belief, they focus on simple living and simple low-technology alternatives that individuals are able to manage and understand easily.
They engage in empower more people to start sustainable living and host a lot of hands-on educational courses, workshops, and internship in Thai and English on self reliant living, organic gardening, community living, natural building, and natural health …..That means they combine a lot of resource and people from all over the world and local as well.
I have visited Pun Pun for very short-time while I was volunteering in Panya nearby. First I borrow the self-guiding map from their restaurant to guide myself and also talked with their volunteers. Not so much I have observed but still share some here
The following is their map to get some clear ideas about their zones design first.
這裡也有做覆蓋、混耕(以生物的方式解決蟲害與缺肥問題)、合理的分區設計、雨水回收、雨水過濾系統(水龍頭的水可以直接生飲)、堆肥、益生菌、雞舍運用，節能設置….他們採用很多傳統的泰國耕作方式再加上一些新研發或學習而來的永續農作方式(如樸門設計)，而且不是只考量到其使用的效用，對於環境的美感、舒適度及方便度(這也可以降低現在人接受簡單生活的門檻)也 兼顧，會定期地維護這些設施；這裡的住宿環境比潘亞來得舒適些，大多是穩固的手做泥磚屋裡；這裡的堆肥廁所是可以適度沖水的，廁所真得一點臭味都沒有，就是 所謂的溼式堆肥廁所，但處理起來有些麻煩，其廁所下方有管子接出濾水槽處理，濾出較固體的排泄物後再以人力加上很多的割下來的草及枯草乾葉之類的，之後存 放致少一年後就可使用(一般是半年後就能使用，但為了更保險些，他們都一年後才使用)。
Mulching, Multi-planting (favor biological resource), rational zone designed, rain water collection, water filtering(they could take drinking water from the tape directly), composting, EM(effective Microorganisms), chicken house, keep and store energy….. They practice mostly traditional Thai organic farming methods with newer sustainable agriculture methods(e.g. permaculture designed). They don’t only concern about how it works but also how people’s feeling including the beauty, comfortable and convenience to encourage more people get start. For examples, they maintain the facilities they have regularly; The accommodation is more comfortable than Panya nearby. The compost toilet could be flushed and cleaned properly and there’s no bad smell at all. The way this wet composting toilet works is that there is a leach tank underground next to the toilet that everything goes into. As this is not sealed underground you get some water out from it seeping into the ground below. On the bottom of this tank is a pipe with a valve they can open and allow the solids to go from this first leach tank to a second leach tank. This then has much less liquid. They add leaves, chopped up banana trees, manure, and other dry organic material to help it compost and leave it for a year. (6 months is sufficient but they are just extra careful). It's really very troublesome and takes more energy to do with that.
There are always some visitors or volunteers here, most of them work with all those community members in Pun Pun. Besides gardening and construction, they also made a lot of food processing and soap. Sometimes Panpan send those foods to village people to do the food processing for them. All those products could be sold in the restaurant of Panpan. Actually besides the restaurant in Panpan community, there are 3 more restaurant in ChiangMia. Pun Pun Organic restaurants project is not only to sale their own product but aimed at supporting local organic farmers, farmer networks, and propagating biodiversity. Only some produce comes from Pun Pun farm, and they cannot grow everything either since the Pun pun farm focuses on seed saving and trainings as well.
I feel the project of Pun Pun is very effective. Local people know Pun Pun while I mentioned in one of the guesthouse in ChiangMia. Even there’s one friend of them had volunteered in Pun Pun farm for one year before and started her own adobe house after that.