Just as a heads up, you may find this overly interesting and wish you could participate, but there are a significant number that will think this is way too much information involving things such as manure.
In an effort to get to know the various aspects of Partners, we got to visit the Partners Farm outside of Chiang Mai yesterday, and I loved it. There is another farm outside of Mae Sot, and I’m already scheming how I can get out there once a week. I loved learning about their farming techniques.
We first helped with the process of making compost and shoveled manure into the compost bin. We then used the previously-made compost to plant some moringa. Moringa is grown here and then used to make vitamin capsules. It is apparently a wildly nutritious plant, so they concentrate it into capsules and distribute them to IDPs on the run inside of Burma. They also make soap with it so they can teach refugees along the border how to create their own natural soap.
And eventually into these. We replanted quite a few that were at this stage and ready to go into the ground.
And we got these great hats to wear for shade!
I’m including this simply because I thought my dad might appreciate an idea of what pig pens look like in Thailand!
We also helped make pig feed, which was really interesting. The feed in the market is pretty expensive, so they mix it to make it stretch further. We made this mix of banana stalk, sugar, and salt, then it sits for 3-5 days and is mixed with the pig feed in the market (1:1 ratio). The large green stalk is from the banana trees and is going into this larger chopper machine. I don’t have any official terms because our translator was Karen, and knew just a little more English than we knew Karen. It made for a day of observing while we tried to figure out the next step.
The banana stalk pieces were then chopped up and compacted with a shovel.
And then stomped on. They put in a thin layer of sugar, a sprinkling of salt, and then more banana stalk, more smashing, and more salt & sugar until the bin was very, very full and very, very densely packed to weigh around 170 pounds.
We thought this was pretty amazing. They’ve created a bio-dome and use bio-gas to cook with. This is the dome full of pig manure & methane gases being burned off.
This blue pipe feeds down into the bio-dome, so they put seven kilos of manure in each day. (Well, we think about seven kilos. Again, this is through rough translations.)
This is hanging nearby, I think to release a certain amount of gas? Not sure, really.
And then they transport the gas to the house through this black tubing. They have just recently built all of this and were proud to announce they haven’t bought a gas tank for the stove in four months!
All in all, it made me really hope for space to have a garden in Mae Sot, and hope to be a part of the farm out there. It’s wonderful to see how efficient they are to use each bit of waste in a new way.