On the Charis Teaching Farm, we study, practice and teach natural farming methods. This means more than keeping industrial chemical fertilizers and pesticides off the farm. We work to heal damaged land and build a healthy soil because we know that a healthy community and a healthy country must have healthy land to nurture them.
We grow our rice according to the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). This method began to be developed about 30 years ago by looking with new eyes at how the rice plant grows naturally. Today, this method is in use all over the world.
In the beginning, when we first talked with our neighboring farmers, they told us that it was impossible to succeed at growing rice naturally. After seeing our success, our neighbors now ask us to teach them how we grow rice. Lucky for them, we happen to be a teaching farm.
When we move our rice rice seedlings into our fields, they are much younger and more fragile than when traditional farmers move their plants. But we watch over them, protect them, and give them fertilizers that we make from plants naturally on our farm.
After a few weeks, those small lonely rice plants grow stronger and bigger than their cousins that were planted in the traditional way.
Since we don’t use harmful chemicals, but only natural insect repellents that we make from plants on our farm, our fields are filled with frogs, spiders and fish. These creatures help us defend our crop from invading pests.
When we bring in the harvest, the heads of grain are large and full. The stalks bend over and it takes real strength to “bring in the harvest.”
When we go to the mill, the miller tells us that our rice is heavier than normal rice. We know that this is because our rice plants are strong and have deep roots. As a result, our rice contains more vitamins.
The main goal of The Charis Project is to heal families, strengthen families, and keep families together. Because of this, we give most of our rice to the very poor families that we work with in Maesot.
We make some of our rice available to the public, and all of our proceeds from selling this rice goes back into the farm and the projects for supporting families in crisis.
Many people have told us that Charis rice is the best rice they have ever eaten. We hope that you have an opportunity to try it for yourself and that you discover the same experience.