First step of any journey: Where to go?
I didn’t study Agriculture or have any training in it. In Vietnam you will barely find any programs about permaculture or organic farming, instead the students are taught to solve problems with machines and chemical fertilizers.
This might be happening everywhere where human beings still have the desire to control nature to produce more food (which ends up being wasted away!)
Being frightened of what illness can result from eating unhealthy food, I started my research and journey to find healthy food sources.
I searched in the Internet and the results have been good; some organic farms look quite nice. Organic farm tours and eco-tourism tours in Vietnam are pretty hard to find as WOOF or Workaway.com are not active here. I packed my backpack and was ready to go, I knew I wouldn't go for a holiday or take some nice selfies to bring back home. I knew I had to come back home with the truth about healthy food to take better care of myself.
The first farm I was visited is K’ho coffee farm where I met Rolan Colieng and her coffee love story. In her coffee plantation, I could see how a farm works, its own language and practices: yoga, meditation, nonviolent communication, #Ethical, #Ecology, #Community Tourism, etc. K’ho coffee is truly the first social enterprise I’ve bumped into that is making social innovation both in food farming (specialising in coffee) and education.
She´s been doing non-profit education programs for K’ho children and young people to learn English, IT, permaculture with the ideal of getting jobs in permaculture and coffee plantations on K’ho community tourism.
A warm sharing lunch with coffee farmers, Rolan and her dad which I learned a lot about their lifestyle from the meal. The K’ho community has the tradition to love and treasure all the small things in nature so they collects herbs, fruits from the jungle we were in and cooked the meal. They ate very calmly, to show the love.
Whereas lots of ethnic groups in Vietnam are jobless, suffering poverty and afraid that the old farming traditions and cultural heritage will be lost, Rolan thinks and dreams big for sustainable tourism with organic coffee plantations. Therefore, I often come back to her farm, to visit the village, the coffee mountain, as I realize that I will end up both professionally and personally evolved with people who are right for me. My first journey finding healthy food farming was unbelievable successful!
Enjoy the BBQ in “ Hai Lua’s style”, at an organic paddy field in Dong Thap province. ( in Vietnamese, “ Hai Lua” is a slang word means “ farmer or Country’s style, Wild style”)
From then on I visited more veggies farms: a tea plantation, an organic rice paddy field in Hanoi, Dalat, Buon Me Thuot, Dong Thap province. All were such enjoyable experiences. The more I visited and listened to the founders and the farmer’s stories, I realize a silly fact: from the very first day I was wondering where should I go? How should I organize my day? What should I eat? Well, at an organic farm nothing of these matters! I found a unique and flexible way to travel to farms that you can change work roles every day and your work schedule depends on the opportunities available. You become a farmer and you understand the importance of listening to the trees!