Implementing a Duck Pond

Change is good.  It’s hard too.  No way around that.  But change is good.  Change means growth.  It means supplanting things that no longer benefit.  It means changing processes that don’t work.  Change brings new ideas and new discoveries.  Change stretches us beyond our former perceived limitations and takes us to new places.  It was…

Teaching Natural Methods

People are often surprised how different, simple and affordable natural farming practices are.  But this makes sense when you consider that the guiding premise of natural farming is to mimic the growing style of plants in their natural environment.  As humans, we just promote the land to do this more efficiently and through more selective…

Opportunities to Share

It’s nice to be reminded from time to time of the reason that we are called The Charis Teaching Farm.  We recently had the opportunity to offer knowledge and insight to a new farm that is being built up across the border in Burma.  Our guests were the English translator/assistant to a Burmese Major in…

Lessons Learned: Tire-Potato Planter with Mixed Results

I was warned when I arrived to Thailand by our former farm manager: insects in the soil here eat up all tubers.  I totally believed him, but I still wanted to try.  I have successfully grown potatoes in my frontyard back in the states  in 15-Gallon containers. I have also tasted the difference between home-grown and store-bought potatoes….

Growing Against the Grain

My basic knowledge of vegetables is that, unless they’ve already been acclimated to it, they don’t like heat.  Many tomatoes stop producing fruit at around 34C.  With the average daily temperature more near 40C on a daily basis, we’re seeing less fruit production.  Our cucumber vines have wilted and been cleared away.  The corn stalks…

Planting Seeds for Change

One of the main reasons that the Charis Teaching Farm exists is to enrich the knowledge of the farming community of Maesot and the surrounding region.  One day, many years from now, my greatest hope is that the culture of farming will have changed so dramatically that farmers will no longer burn their crops, trees…

Lessons Learned: Watermelon Crop Failure Due to Untimely Rains

Sometimes, all the research and development can’t compete with unpredictable forces of nature. This past month, we received two days of heavy rain, during the middle of dry season. It destroyed our watermelon crop beyond saving. Here’s how it happened. In Thailand, there are primarily two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season is further…

The Importance of Staff Empowerment

The Charis Teaching Farm is under the umbrella of The Charis Project.  The primary mission of this non-profit is to strengthen families and empower individuals to change the world around them, thus combating poverty.  The way the farm approaches this is through staff empowerment, land restorative practices and food production.  The more that I continue…

A Visit to Fair Earth Farm

While in Chiang Mai, I took a visit to Fair Earth Farm, just north of the city.  This is a 1-acre farm, and uses a blend of agroforestry and traditional farming practices. Their goal is to create a self-sustaining model for other local farmers to learn from and implement on their own farms.  What with our own…