This website is about Permaculture and Natural Building. It is an attempt to curate and corral information about these topics in the course of learning about them (and to refresh our memory when needed). It is also meant to be helpful to others doing something similar, or just seeking information.
We are a family of four with two small children. My wife is Thai and I am American, and our children are dual nationals. We live in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We are starting with a small plot of land and are building a natural house (using earthbag/superadobe). In Thailand, this (and other forms of natural adobe) are called Baan Din or earth houses.
Besides earthbag/superadobe, we are inspired by this bamboo (and concrete) building in Mexico. While we want to minimize the use of portland cement, the speed and low cost of this structure, and the overall aesthetic is inspiring. However, there are several other hurdles to overcome (besides reducing reliance on concrete), including:
- The air pollution in Thailand is quite bad about four months of the year, and we need to have a building that is enclosed, and can use air purifiers to reduce air pollution in the house.
- We need to deal with significant rainfall from mid-May to mid-October, including fierce (though brief) storms. Overall rainfall is ~1,200 mm/year, though most of it during five months of the year.
- We need to deal with temperatures that can exceed 40c during the day in summer, and go down below 10c at night in winter.
Health and Safety Issues in Thailand
The biggest health issues in Thailand have to do with food and water safety, and seasonally air pollution. But there are many risks in Thailand, and for those who live here it is important to be aware, and to take action.
Permaculture, Biosphere, Ecology, Sustainability & Related Topics
- Water Pollution and Purification in Thailand - Water
- Air Pollution and Purification in Thailand - Air
- Food Pesticides, Fertilizers, Organic, and Humane Farming in Thailand - Food
- Natural Building and Construction – Permaculture Zone Zero - Shelter
Permaculture is a nebulous term that no one owns or controls (which Bill Mollison himself states as far back as the early 1980s, though later he -- unsuccessfully -- pursued intellectual property protections for the term).
In the Permaculture Designer's Manual, the term is defined as:
The conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and reslience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way. (p.ix, 2002)
There are various hallmarks of permaculture and may or may not overlap with related concepts and terms such as sustainability. The main hallmarks are systems thinking regarding the environment and human living within it. Permaculture originally referred to permanent agriculture but has been expanded to mean permanent culture in anthropological terms.
For Lanna Innovation we are focused on the non-destructive approach to integrating the local biosphere and human habitation, as well as maintaining and increasing biological diversity -- a sustainable and resilient habitat. The goal for ecological farming is rehabilitation of an ecology. There are also specialized approaches to ecological farming such as natural farming, fertility farming, and zero budget farming.
Permaculture extends to living structures, energy sources, water and waste systems, etc. While a completely localized permaculture is not possible (and trade is not necessarily destructive), it is possible to shrink an ecological footprint quite drastically, taking greater responsibility for one's presence in the biosphere.
We follow Bill Mollison's definition of sustainability which means that a system improves over time, yielding more benefit than it takes up in work and waste.
Seeds of Permaculture
Seeds of Permaculture is a 2014 film that includes a variety of Thailand Permaculture locations (Rak Tamacha, Panya, etc.) and projects.
Resources for Permaculture in Thailand
Chiang Mai / Northern Thailand Permaculture
Chiang Dao (90 minutes north of Chiang Mai)
Chiang Mai / Mae Chaem (East of Chiang Mai city)
- Permaculture in Thailand
- Permaculture Children's House
- Cool Guesthouse - Urban Permaculture in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai / Mae Jo (North of Chiang Mai city)
Chiang Mai / Mae Wang (South of Chiang Mai city)
- Mae Mut Garden
Pai / Mae Hong Son
Isan / Northeastern Thailand Permaculture
Buriram (Southeast of Khorat)
Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat)
Nong Khai (near the Vientiane, Laos border)
- Thailand Permaculture Convergence (yearly conference)
Permaculture Courses and Training in Thailand
It seems there are three options for doing a Permaculture Design Course (72 hour) certificate, for those in Thailand:
- Sahainan, Nan, Northern Thailand - 14 days, 16,600 THB (also offering 10 day practical permaculture for 8,800 THB)
- Rak Tamachat, Khorat, Central/Northeastern Thailand - 10 days, $700 USD (apx. 22,000 THB) includes some additional training options
- Geoff Lawton's Online PDC, $1,500 USD (apx. 47,000 THB
- If travel to Australia is an option, then the in-person PDC is available for 2,500 USD