• Minh Thy

Second step of any journey: from Nature-touch to Humanity-touch


Being a farmer in Vietnam is not a high earning and respected job. There are some challenges for young people tend to giving up their inherit jobs working in farms to get stable jobs in big cities. Why are they looking for “stable” jobs? There is challenge in Vietnam’s agriculture., Tthe local food products are in disadvantage in competition with foreign exported food. Unplanned farming, chemical fertilizer crops, the lacking of training in commercial skills take farmers into debt.

You can experience the same matters in India or Bangladesh, when you talk to farmers and their children about their dream jobs.

However, the difficulties can't stop the change makers. I see a trend of young engineers and startups focusing on organic farming, risking investing in FoodTech and that are eager to come up with solutions for those challenges. That was how I met Table For Two Vietnam, a NGO that helps deliver healthy meals for poor children, underprivileged people in Hanoi and far remote areas like Sapa, by connecting volunteer restaurants. The NGO is supported by the customer’s bills whenever they eat out at a restaurant, in partnership with the Table For Two program.

I helped them out with a problem-solving workshop for a challenge they had at that time : “How to build Table For Two volunteer community in Vietnam”. The workshop rules developed by Make Sense which allows everyone brainstorming, listening each other, stop judging and hackathon to solutions. It was 2-hour amazing time we discovered the pros and cons in the business model, the "Why healthy food is not a need but a right".

There are still many underprivileged hungry children in need of a hot healthy and organic meal, education and life orientation to be able build their dreams with sustainable movements. Ability to build organic farm at each home is an idea by Table For Two to help the children in poor families having healthy meals instantly.

Together, we found how social justice and healthy farming can deliver to underprivileged people. Tthere is not enough good food for them with a suitable price, the organic food is sold too high, and we don't even have enough food and enough farmers to make the change. We laughed at the ugly truth, but we could die without farmers and we could die even sooner of an illness if keep eating poisonous food, like fast food, a truth that we hadn't seen in our daily busy life, without pausing a little and brainstorming together! That was when we realized the importance role of organic farmers to all food system in a local setting.

A brainstorming workshop with Hatch.vn- Table For Two Vietnam Finding ways to connect with organic farms and restaurants in Hanoi for volunteering in Table For Two platform

I organized lots workshops to help food entrepreneurs and food startups, the idea is to brainstorm sustainable business solutions with a positive social impact and that can be profitable. Although sometime challenges happens between social impact demand and company’s benefit but we learn to listen to each other and to give up some benefits for a bigger sustainable impact. The interesting thing is conscious consumers can be the most loyal with the brands they start loving. The the change happens thanks to that fan community, like throwing a stone into a lake.

From the brainstorming workshop, we made a plan for the Table For Two team in partnership with organic farms, organic shops, vegan restaurants to share their food surplus to charity projects taking care of the children; dedicate a part of their crops for charity; grow community gardens at their schools not only having sustainable healthy meals, but also Permaculture education program. I believe a food forest will connect people working and sharing, steps by step will end Food Hunger thanks to sustainable food system.

The farm owners are happy to help the schools with farming education and urban community gardens in their farms, as it’s more available for them to set up. Four months later, the first group of children and the team enjoyed their organic farm tour harvesting their vegetables shared by loving farmers. I have seen a magic of doing organic permaculture farming, people become more sharing and loving. I believe the children will love their future farms very much.

A Farm tour with Table For Two and AgroSpace, their media partner.

After these events, I keep going on my Food Sense Tour journey, interviewing social entrepreneurs, organic farmers, facilitating workshops to solve business challenges. One thing I like from my business trip is I connect foreign food startups visit organic farms in Vietnam ( like MakeSense, Vibe’s project, Jugaadict, Healthyfarm.org) .

I believe there travellers and locals can help in building a sharing community, learning about each other's cultures to promote problem-solving ideas to challenges in everyday life. If you’re a wander in your life, take visit at local social business when you travel. Traveling with open mind is traveling and networking, collaborating with local startup is great experience and nice ways to learn more. Here in my story, i’m solving the challenge of How to build a dynamic food entrepreneur community passionate in making sustainable food business.

I love traveling in farms as I have new viewpoint that challenges every time I go. This is an Aquaponic green-house at Cau Dat farm, in Dalat city.

#agriculture #Volunteer #agroturism #Vietnam #colaboradores #english

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