Help expand "Young Smart Farmers" organic gardens

by Warm Heart Worldwide, Inc
Help expand "Young Smart Farmers" organic gardens
Help expand "Young Smart Farmers" organic gardens
Help expand "Young Smart Farmers" organic gardens
Help expand "Young Smart Farmers" organic gardens
Help expand "Young Smart Farmers" organic gardens
Help expand "Young Smart Farmers" organic gardens
Boys pick our limes
Boys pick our limes

This should be the tail end of the rainy season, but we have daily deluges that keep everything a lush green.  The children are all studying at Warm Heart, as the schools are still closed due to COVID,  The 7-12 graders have taken over Barb's Place, the Community Education Center, which now has its own network so the rest of us have some bandwidth.  The older students have online classes, so stay glued to their screens all day.  The younger students pick up assignments from school every week and finish them at their own pace during the week, with oversight by the staff and after-school tutors.  

This leaves the younger children ready to help in the gardens first thing in the morning when it is cool.  The older children get out to weed and plant on the weekends.  In between, the staff is ready with new projects to keep the children busy.  The older girls have started a cactus garden and everyone is encouraged to add his/her favorite flowers to the new flower garden.  Empty pots are quickly requisitioned for new flowers.  Anyone coming from the mountain villages is encouraged to bring cuttings. 

We have made some progress on the water system, replacing the submersible pumps on both existing wells.  We are still in queue for the well-driller to come to review our wells and discuss the potential for a new well.  In the meantime, we have been repairing the big blue and green water tanks to collect rainwater for the plants and washing. 

Your generosity keeps the children fed and washed!  Thank you for all your enthusiastic support!

 

Warm regards,

 

Dana, Michael, Evelind and the Children of Warm Heart

Clearing the field
Clearing the field
New crop of beans coming up
New crop of beans coming up
Starting the new flower garden
Starting the new flower garden
Everyone gets to add favorite flowers
Everyone gets to add favorite flowers
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Lots of long beans!
Lots of long beans!

Thailand typically has 3 seasons: Winter (Nov - Feb), Summer ( Mar - June), and Monsoon Rainy Season (July - Oct). 

Our summer has been very hot this year. 

Local weather conditions influenced by climate change brought early rains at the end of April and the beginning of May. 

This extra rain provided a boost to our gardens with an increase of produce. The children and staff have been harvesting bumper crops of long beans, lettuce, eggplants, tomatoes, and cucumbers. The children and staff have been enjoying some delicious salads.   

The early rain was a nice bonus, but they are predicting this is going to be the wettest Monsoon season in 30 years. We may be facing floods this year. 

Expanded Farming

Warm Heart has added chickens to the Young Smart Farmer’s project, and a few pigs.

The new chickens have adjusted to their environment. and they are laying delicious eggs.

Through a generous grant from the British Community in Thailand Fund for the Needy we were able to upgrade the pigpens and now have six black mountain pigs. 

We use a portion of our food scraps for our composting project, and feed the rest to the pigs. Their manure will help enrich our soils.

Learning Business Skills

The kids are learning the economics of raising chickens. They had to borrow to get the chickens, and they pay back the feed costs through sales of excess eggs to staff and neighbors. 

Excess produce is sold in the community, helping them learn how to run a business. They take orders from the neighbors, package and deliver the requested produce. The money from sales goes towards seeds and supplies.

Enjoying the Rewards

The children enjoy all the wonderful fresh food they have harvested. Besides the many delicious salads, they particularly like the chilis.   

Most of the recipes that the staff and children eat have a good portion of homegrown chilis to add the flavor of home. The chilis help cool everyone off as they sweat, and comment how “hot the food is” before taking another big bite. 

We are waiting for our mango trees to ripen. The mango trees are getting old and we're discussing replacing them.

While we wait, our neighbor brings lichees for the children to enjoy.

Our children are benefiting in so many ways from the Smart Young Farmer’s program, and we hope to continue to expand. We appreciate your support of this very important project for the kids and for Warm Heart.

Hugs of appreciation,

Evelind, Michael, Dana, and the Smart Young Farmer’s team

Multi-color eggplants!
Multi-color eggplants!
Five Little Pigs
Five Little Pigs
Weeding new garden plot
Weeding new garden plot
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Many different beans to harvest
Many different beans to harvest

The rainy season ended in October and the children and staff reaped a diverse harvest with multiple types of beans, eggplants, squash, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, and lots of greens.  Eggplants, for example, come in green, white, and purples, as little round balls, long and thin or conventional, large.  Hot peppers are a mainstay, but a few sweet peppers make their way into the mix. Extra lemongrass can be sold to a local restaurant that likes our organic produce. The lime trees are steady producers now and save us buying them, which is good because they are used in many dishes.

Plans are in place to replace the farm animals. We delayed replacing the laying chickens when our supplier's flocks became ill. The pigpens needed repairs. Now, the chicken coop has been cleaned out, the netting repaired and 30 healthy new hens arrived.  The pig pens have been stripped of decaying wood and are being repaired for new arrivals.

With the dry season, weekly planning sessions confirm agreements on the new plots to be prepared and the seeds to be purchased for seedlings.  The staff and children are out repairing fencing, re-laying irrigation hoses, and setting the seeds to sprout.

With the success of the recent harvest, the plans are to increase the number of beds and target a few crops for sale.

Farming is a never-ending set of tasks to prepare and maintain the fields, but the yield is nutritious, nourishing, and delicious!

Your ongoing commitment to the farm is increasing the yields, ensuring that the children are well fed.  With full stomachs, they are studying well and dreaming of full lives ahead. Thank you!

 

 



Planting and weeding
Planting and weeding
New laying hens have arrived
New laying hens have arrived
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Trying out the cucumbers
Trying out the cucumbers

School started six weeks late on July 1. Masks and gloves and daily temperature checks before being allowed into the school building. Half our kids went to school on any one day, as the school started a split schedule to reduce overcrowding in the classrooms. Once school had been underway for a couple of months with no new virus cases, they went back to all the kids in school at once. University students have a hybrid of online and in-person classes.

We had our first group of four vocational college students graduate in March, just as the lockdown started. With all the restaurants and hotels shut down, jobs were scarce. They have all come home at some point to get encouragement and job search coaching and then headed back to the city. They all found jobs that will keep them going until things open up again.

We started the new school year with close to forty children living at the Children’s Homes and another 45 off-campus (15 away at vocational high school and university and 30 at our partner hill tribe elementary school in Phrao).

It was the rainy season, so the gardens needed to be planted and the initial crops harvested. There were lots of peppers and cucumbers and some of the fruit trees were bearing rose apples, "custard apples", longan and lemons and limes. The mangoes were eaten green before the children had climbed down the trees to pick them.

Thailand has had tight travel restrictions and has kept the COVID cases very low. But the rainy season brings more mosquitoes. Despite all our efforts to keep the grass cut and scout out any pools of water, we ended up with a case of Dengue Fever. Phrao Public Health descended with pesticide fogging machines and advised us to cut most of our bamboo stands near the living quarters. This work was done during the day when the children were away at school so that the fog could clear, but they came home to all the tree debris.

One canteen improvement, requested by the children, were five new outdoor sinks next to the kitchen to speed up hand and dishwashing.

Thanks for your enduring support! The children are getting nutritious food and studying well, and we can keep them washing the germs away to stay healthy!

Daily temperature check before school
Daily temperature check before school
Preparing the soil with biochar fertilizer
Preparing the soil with biochar fertilizer
The vines are as high as ...
The vines are as high as ...
Canteen improvement - New washing stations
Canteen improvement - New washing stations
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Boys weeding and prepping the plots
Boys weeding and prepping the plots

Your investment in the farm and the children are visible in the new farm plots and the fresh vegetables we can put on the table.  We are seeing the output rising steadily and our soil is improving with use and added homemade biochar soil amendments and biofertilizers. 

The  COVID19 shutdowns started in March in Chiang Mai.  First, any child with a fever or cold was sent home and we had almost a full house because it was the weather transition for cool winters to hot spring and the child and staff were catching colds.  Luckily they were just colds and we had everyone well by the time school year ended in mid-March.  Some children went up to the mountains to help in their villages during the hot, dry school break.  We always have our core of children that stay year-round - no families to go home to; they are ours.  We were feeding about 20 people a day and then the shutdowns started at the hotels and universities. So we have leveled out at around 30 mouths to feed, 90 meals a day.  

We've quarantined anyone coming back from the cities and our neighbor is the village monitor for any visitors to the area, brandishing his thermal thermometer.  For all of April and May, everyone stayed in place and settled into a routine.

Every day the children have a schedule that includes working with their tutors to stay on top of their Thai language and math skills.  They study English with one of our volunteers and they help work on the farm. There are plenty of chores to go around with annual facility maintenance and preparing the farm for the rainy season coming in June. The clothes drying sheds were re-built, along with repairs to the dorms and bathrooms.  The gutters on all the buildings were cleaned out, along with the fish pond.  We discovered the reason for low water flow- roots had taken hold in the water pipes!

In preparation for the planting season, we've made lots of compost with kitchen scraps, leaves, clippings, and added biochar to help he process along.  In the dry months we;ve had a crop of tomatoes and plenty of eggplant and chilies and garlic.  New small plots tucked around the dorms and kitchen yield lots of lettuce for salads.  We have enough to share with our elderly and disabled neighbors and trade with other farmers.

We're all looking forward to the travel restrictions being loosened and the return of the children for the new school year due to start July 1.  

We hope you have been safe and well.  Many thanks from all the children and staff at Warm Heart for your enduring support!

Girls water the fields after school
Girls water the fields after school
Making bio fertilizer
Making bio fertilizer
Lettuce from one of the new plots
Lettuce from one of the new plots
Fixing the dorm bunk beds
Fixing the dorm bunk beds
New crop started in the blue net
New crop started in the blue net
All hands needed to clean the gutters
All hands needed to clean the gutters
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Organization Information

Warm Heart Worldwide, Inc

Location: Phrao, Chiang Mai - Thailand
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WarmHeartOrg
Project Leader:
Carol De Leo
Phrao, Chiang Mai Thailand
$18,842 raised of $45,000 goal
 
182 donations
$26,158 to go
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