Recently, The Panya Permaculture Project here in Thailand collaborated with Pun-Pun (an organic farm, seed-saving operation, and sustainable living and learning centre) to launch The Living Seeds Festival; an annual festival to celebrate biodiversity, sustainable living and community in northern Thailand.
The Festival included local organic food, organic seed exchange, massage and natural healing, and demonstrations such as natural building, earthen ovens, organic gardening techniques, appropriate technology and more…. The main aim of the Festival was to raise awareness on our present food crisis. The loss of food varieties (both in the markets and our diets), damage to land and soil (caused by conventional farming techniques), and the fragility of food security were just some of the many issues presented.
Being very close to Pun-Pun (as neighbours and friends) Panya’s role was very supportive. We covered the shaded grounds within Chiang Mai University in bamboo sculptures. These included ‘tensegrity structures’ (a mesmeric combination of tension and integrity, which creates a self-standing, three-dimensional, and often times awesome geometric structure; Google it for some fascinating imagery), giant tripods, woven orbs and nests.
The land was a wonderment of shapes and figures, and the bamboo awarded the area a gorgeous sense of nature; in its complexity as well as its simplicity.
We decided on bamboo for several reasons: there is a bamboo grove between Pun-Pun and Panya; the harvesting of bamboo is relatively quick and the plant regenerates rapidly; bamboo is durable and flexible; bamboo is extremely cooperative; and a relatively new member to Panya – Will Eastlake- has extensive experience with bamboo installations and constructions from various festival projects in Australia.
The Festival was a hit. Throughout the afternoon, people and more people wandered amongst the myriad booths, from seed saving to making adobe bricks. Seeing so many interested in food security and personal independence was truly inspirational. The proverbial ball has definitely begun to roll in Thailand.
And, I expect next year’s Living Seeds Festival to be an even bigger success.
For those who can make it, we are also having a two week natural building workshop, starting January 6, 2010.