I’ve always wanted to be a farmer. Hard work, yes – but tangible, real work that may leave you physically drained, but mentally fulfilled. I’ve imagined my farm: somewhere I can grow alllll the vegetables, maybe supply some eggs to my neighbors…and, maybe more importantly, the person I am on that farm. Tanned skin stretched over strong, lean muscles from daily labor. A clear mind from spending my days outdoors, instead of under fluorescent lightbulbs and air conditioning. Deep smile lines not only from the elements, but from the joy that comes with providing for oneself and others. Plus, have you seen a baby duck?
When I heard about an organic rice farming trip here in Thailand, I immediately joined in. The trip was being put on by an organization called Hive, and my friend Oz introduced me to one of the founders, Mint. Upon meeting Mint, I knew two things immediately. 1) I wanted to be friends with this girl, and 2) she and her sister Achi had started Hive on their own (hi, inspiring!) and I knew I needed to get involved. Basically, they organize trips all over Thailand that promote both a more sustainable way of living and traveling, and connecting with the local people – all while experiencing something authentic and unique.
We left in the early morning for Nakhon Pathom, a little more than an hour outside of Bangkok. Green Living Camp operates an organic rice farm and utilizes a special technique for planting rice, called parachuting. They use natural fertilizers and a flock of ducks to keep their crops free of both pests and chemicals. We began the day by leading the ducks out to the rice paddies – kind of hilarious watching the ‘duck wrangler’ run through muddy paddies to snatch rogue ducks up by their necks.
Yung and Yuth, brother and sister team that owns Green Living Camp. Their highly nutritious, organic rice is certified by many international organizations, and their goal is to help spread their methods throughout Thailand and educate other farmers on more sustainable practices.
As expected, I left the farm feeling exhausted, accomplished, inspired. And not just inspired to go get myself a baby duck.
If you are looking to do some authentic Thai activities while in Thailand, I could not suggest Hive more strongly. They are always adding new activities – whale watching is up next! Check out their website or their Facebook page…and dare to step off the tourist track!