The Rak Tamachat farm was a great introduction to motivated, intelligent permaculturists, and the beginnings of a robust permaculture farm in the works.
Jake (Australia) and Mark (Texas) gave me a grand tour of the farm. The first thing we saw was the grey water system, here the tap water used for cooking and washing dishes is funneled through a bucket filter that is piped to irrigate an herb garden nearby.
We toured the large common building made from natural materials that includes a kitchen, dining room, computer station, ping-pong and Foosball tables. There is also a library and classroom building constructed out of cob as well as the compost toilet structure. The compost toilet building has rooms added on for cultivating mushrooms (same system as AGLC and NEED-Burma), though they’re still waiting on the mushrooms spores to be delivered. Next, we a saw compost shower made in a very simple and effective design; since decomposing matter gives off heat, a compost shower just runs a large garden hose through a compost pile heating up the water as it passes through the hose.
There were at least 7-8 different garden zones at Rak Tamachat growing all types of herbs, fruits and vegetables in all shapes and sizes of garden designs. There was a circle garden, an herb spiral and cob raised beds. From the look of it the only food they buy is rice and grain.
I am most excited for the success of the fish farm. Mark (Texas) and Brendan (New Jersey) are working hard raising tilapia and cat fish in the pond and have plans to eventually move the chicken coop over the pond allowing the chicken waste to fall into the pond and feed the fish. This technique of animal husbandry is one of the many effective reforms of ecological farming and a great example of using natural ecological processes to eliminate agricultural inputs and increase the overall abundance of the farm. The farmers can then feed themselves and their pigs fish and once every few years drain the pond for a source of incredibly rich fertilizer to their fields. It goes to show that you can raise meat in a ecological responsible manner!
The farm has free-range chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, and a pen of pigs that the Thai farmers tend to.
One could immediately tell that Rak Tamachat is a work in progress, but having only been in operation for a little over two years, I am absolutely shocked with how much progress they have made. More than that, I’m looking forward to visiting again in six months to see the new changes and developments. It was inspiring to see a permaculture farm well on its way to becoming resilient, and it was great to meet so many interested and motivated people that share a common goal.