My visit to Thailand’s EM research farm

I have had such an incredible journey in such a short space of time. The highlight of my time in Thailand was my visit to the Saraburi Farm, which is an EM research farm that uses only this technology. This farm first started in 1989 and was just a bare piece of land, but it has now grown into a highly productive 70 hectare farm, teaching centre and school. Furthermore, over the past years they have been regenerating nearby forests and a huge mountain that was depleted of life.

I feel very honoured to have had a personal tour around the whole farm and to have tasted the produce and watched videos of the development over the years.

I arrived in 30 degree heat and was first invited to share in an EM lunch. Wow – what awesome, fresh and vibrant flavours in all the food – and I was even impressed with my own use of the chop sticks provided! When eating the lunch you could just feel the goodness surging through your body, like the food was full of life. After lunch, I was then taken to the harvest room when I was given an EM-grown pineapple, freshly sliced and unbelievably sweet and juicy. Did you know that 90% of the world’s pineapples are produced using more than six different chemicals… It’s so deceptive when you think you’re eating healthily – who would have thought!

Totally full to the brim of deliciousness, an extra-large eight seater golf cart came to pick us up. My hosts for the day were Kanit Muangnil who runs the centre and Koshoji Toru who works with EM in the Asia Pacific region and is part of EMRO – the EM Research Organisation.

Off we go around the farm and oh my what a site to behold, there is food everywhere and I didn’t see any sign of pest and disease at all. Everything is grown on site from the seed up and all the waste is processed on site using bokashi and EM. All the carbon is collected and inoculated with EM before being put back on the soil.

They grow a sister of the hibiscus plant and process and dry the petals to make an amazing red tea, which is simply delicious.

We stopped at one area where these gourd like vegetables were growing up frames. They were so heavy, weighing around 3-4 kgs each and they had a wax on the outside. I asked the name in English but no one knew, but I was told they were used for making soup. There were rows and rows of cabbages growing at which I was very surprised, considering the heat, but was told it was winter in Thailand and they can grow cabbage and cauliflowers at this time of year. They were preparing holes in a new area for their pumpkins to be planted.

Upon inspection of the holes I found that they too have clay – just like the difficult soils I deal with on Waiheke Island – however, after one year of feeding the soil bokahsi they had at least 60% more water holding capacity than the previous year when the land had first been dug and turned. Such incredible results! In the holes, bokashi was being placed ready for the planting season ahead.

The bananas were growing everywhere and they were the biggest bunches I ever did see. The most amazing two things for me were the pineapples and the rice, two things I have never seen growing. I will write about these in my next blog, otherwise this could turn into a novel!

The best outcome for me is that it has reinforced that I am absolutely on the right track with what I am teaching and doing in New Zealand. EM is the now and future of food and the restoration of the soil. For more pictures from my journey around the Saraburi centre, visit my Facebook page.

Please let me know how your gardens are growing back home and if you have any questions or advice about my trip – get in touch!

Happy gardening!

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