In addition to a big rice harvest coming soon, which will be processed here onsite into brown rice that will feed the entire community for a whole year (with enough left to sell for income for the foundation), the agriculture team has been very busy of late tending to our fruit and vegetable farm. New Life volunteer Jordan, who has been supervising the agriculture working meditation, has kindly provided us with an update on what’s been going.
He tells us that the baby papaya plants that were planted last year have been doing really well, and are ready to give their first bountiful harvest. We’ve also been getting in tons of cucumber and snake beans, which head straight to the kitchen into our lunch and dinner. Just some examples of how we’ve been using them include in garden salads, as accompaniments to northern Thai spicy chilli dips, and in fiery curries and stir-fries.
The pineapples are also doing really well. We’ve already harvested one crop this year, and there is another one coming soon. Along with the papaya, we’ll have plenty of fruit to go with our pancakes and muesli at breakfast time!
The rainy season has now finished so it’s time to put in the cool season crops: more long beans, and lots of herbs and lettuce. With all this produce around it’s more important than ever to keep the pests away so that all the agriculture team’s efforts don’t go to waste, so Jordan and his crew have also been experimenting with making environmentally-friendly organic pesticide, which uses only 3 ingredients: lemongrass, neem, and a local Thai herb. This is boiled until it forms a tea-like consistency and then used as a general repellant on the fruits and vegetables.
A big part of New Life Foundation’s mission is to aim towards self-sustainability and to be mindful of nature and the environment in our food production and consumption. It’s not easy to grow enough food for a community of fifty people, but our harvests are getting better and better each year with the hard work and care of the New Life staff, volunteer and residents who work in the fields. Great work, guys!