The rains have returned to Thailand. For many farmers in our area, that means that it’s time to plant corn or get the fields ready to plant rice. For us though, it’s much more.
While we have already plowed our fields and will be harrowing them this week, the rains have brought the much needed boost of life to our vegetable crops. Our once struggling luffa and yard long bean plots are bursting with life. And our new patch of eggplant is off to the races.
My favorite part about our sudden influx in produce is that it enables us to realize one of our roles we play as part of The Charis Project: produce donation. The Charis Project (‘charis’ is greek for grace) is a non-profit org that operates in Maesot, Thailand. Our primary focus over the past few years has been the healing, strengthening and protecting of at-risk families. As many know, poverty, alcohol addiction and exploitation are some of the primary culprits which lead to family breakdown and, in some extreme cases, human trafficking. Over the past two years, the Charis Project has worked alongside a few families in tandum with our local staff to offer women’s health education and nutritional supplementation to encourage pregnant and breast-feeding mothers to continue breast-feeding. The results of this effort have been amazing to say the least.
The inital class taught to the mothers (to be) is now in its seventh incarnation and being taught by the local staff. The women, their children and entire families are boasting greater health. The relationships formed through the classes and nutritional supplementation have given yield to greater influence by the Charis Project in the communities that the families live, which has resulted in greater health and social education as well as employment opportunities for individuals in the communities. Overall, the general climate of the villages we serve in have a renewed value of health and are increasing in joy.
The Charis Teaching Farm gets to play a role in all of this. The produce that we raise goes directly into the nutritional supplements. We are thrilled that these families will be getting organic produce that is fresh and locally produced with self-sustaining means. Any extra produce which is sold goes back into the farm operating funds. This allows us to hire workers during our busy times of the year (next week being the busiest since we’ll be planting rice starting next Tuesday).
For the past few weeks, we’ve been bringing in harvests of yard long bean, luffa and eggplant. We look forward to adding more crops over the follow months, our tomatoes being about 6 weeks away from production age. Added with the self-sustaining and water-retaining model of our agroforestry plots, we hope to be able to extend our production season this year. This has been a very exciting time for the farm and we look forward to good things to come.