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Omkoi, located in the southernmost portion of Thailand’s Chiang Mai province, is just a small district

Omkoi, located in the southernmost portion of Thailand’s Chiang Mai province, is just a small district, close to the popular destinations of Tak and Mae Hong Son, but not quite as easy to get to by road. Still, with an area of approximately 22 hectares, it’s a beautiful place away from city lights – surrounded as it is by the Tuen River and numerous rolling hills – and awaiting visitors is an attraction known as the Siam Prana Organic Farm, an oasis of peaceful living.


Mr. Kamnoonvit Vorapoo, the owner of the farm, explained that his original intention was to use the area as a learning center portraying the lifestyles of 2 Karen tribes – the Pakracher and the Pgazkoenyau, both of whom have been living harmoniously with the Mother Nature since the days of our ancestors. Gradually, as he blended original farming methods with the wisdom of the Pgazkoenyau, he began to harvest an abundance of organic produce, all grown in a non-chemical environment. His crops included lychees, chilies, black sesame, green beans, soybeans and some species of highland rice, including Buekee (white brown rice), Buesakoe (red brown rice), and Buenotae (Japanese rice). To realize that all these crops had once been harvested on this land is of utmost value to the identity of the highland people. The rice can represent who they are to the lowland people, and emphasize the truth that “nothing is more precious than what you really have.”

Intrigued by this farming community, I travelled with 16 others – a mix of age ranges – to this unique hideaway destination in order to experience natural living; breathing in clean air and eating pure food, for a total of 3 days and 2 nights. We started fresh, and early, on our first morning morning with a delicious farm-fresh breakfast that included sugar-free green bean soup, boiled organic brown rice, and more. For each meal, we would cook up what we gathered from the farm and the neighborhood. All these easy-to-prepare, and delicious, menus consisted of such everyday items as grilled-chili paste, Thai-style omelets, Som Tam, grilled potatoes, grilled pork, and the like.


We also didn’t have to look for any special foot spa, as the sand and mud here is super fine, as we found out walking through the nature trails. During these hikes we discovered that a lot of strange but amazing produce can be found in the forests, and we were finding mushrooms, picking fresh Rattan fruits, collecting pinecones, tasting young wasp larvae, direct from the nest – a favourite of the forest people – and looking for Kuemodo, a local plant used for making some sweets.

In addition, we learned how to plough and transplant in the rice paddy fields, how to mix mud, sand, and rice-husks into to earth blocks, which can then be used to construct the earthen houses, once they’ve been left under the sun for 3-5 days to harden. In the evenings the light sof many little fireflies were visible while we were hanging around the bonfire; talking and getting to know each other before heading off to sleep tight inside one of the well-ventilated earth houses.


The memory of being at this farm, and the experience we all shared, will be cherished for a lifetime, but who knows the bigger impact that a small group of people – like the 16 of us, who supported the brown rice and organic produce harvests that day – may have later on. Only if we comprehend how the rice and vegetables we buy in Thailand supports Thai farmers, can we in turn encourage these farmers to continue with their organic farming, and even turn others on to non-chemical farming as well. As a food producer to the world, Thai people should lead the way, purchasing clean and healthy food, and showing the world by this example how important it is to care about what you consume. We hope this day will come soon.

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