|Town/Region||Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai|
|Date||2 Aug 2007|
Two vital resources in desperate need for conservation are our food bio-diversity and forests. In Asia, particularly SE Asia, countries with so much biological diversity, never before has the need been so great to conserve beforemodernisation brings our food diversity and forests to extinction.
Local vegetables, fruits, and medicinal varieties are being lost every day. We are working to create a food system that provides healthy options, conserves bio-diversity, and returns empowerment to farmers. Seed saving works to preserve indigenous seed varieties that are rapidly becoming extinct. The way in which we work to conserve our forests is by teaching sustainable building technique stopping the depleting of our forests. Since so much of Asia was forested traditionally wood has been used as the primary building material. Now the forests are depleted and the only other option people see is concrete block, which is exploitative of natural resources, energy demanding (through it’s extraction, processing and long-term energy consumption needs to sustain liveable temperatures in the building), and climatically inappropriate. We teach sustainable building techniques which are affordable, environmentally sound, comfortable, climatically appropriate, energy efficient, durable, and aesthetically pleasing using local easily attainable earthen materials such as cob and adobe.
Our program will consist of a 4 week training with leaders from developing countries at our site and follow-up support for local initiatives stemmed from the training. This training will include organic sustainable food systems (including making our own natural composts, fertilizers and pesticides, cultivating effective micro-organisms, seed-saving, and simple appropriate technology), natural building (hands-on instruction in various sustainable techniques), herbal medicine, natural dyes, site visits to other sustainable living projects in the area, and exchanges on training techniques.
By training leaders in Asia in nature conservation skills, we are supporting local initiatives around the region in turn creating a larger movement. Each representative comes from a larger network in their home country in which they return to apply their knowledge. We believe the only way to create significant lasting social change is by empowering our local communities. We use this theory in our work with this project.
By teaching regional groups the skills they need to conserve and lead sustainable projects on their own, and providing them with follow-up support, we provide the resources necessary for them to launch successful local projects themselves. These participants are crucial in creating a long-lasting network, support system, and movement.
Read about Jon's previous project work at http://www.ruffordsmallgrants.org/rsg/Projects/JonJandai or for more information contact:
Woman participant from Aceh, Indonesia laying bricks on adobe house.
Participants learning about conserving biodiversity through seed saving of rare and indigenous seed varieties.
Participants at the beginning stage of building the all sun-dried adobe brick house they built together through the training.