Wanakaset was developed by Pooyai Viboon Khemchalerm who following the teachings of the “Green Revolution” went from early successes to bankruptcy. Able to sell off most of his land to repay his debts, he was left with about 1.5 hectares and no money. He then had an awakening and returned to the ways of earlier generations to produce for their own needs and not for money. He also recalled his knowledge and experience as a boy with his father living in and from the forest. Being in his 40s, he also was aware of his age and thought that as the forest always provided abundance without need to labor that this was the path. Rather than plant crops, plant a forest. However abundance came not only from biodiversity but the knowledge and practice of how to use it. Every plant has value, but we also need to learn how to use the plants for food, medicine, dyes, soil fertility and other purposes.
A farmer and an activist, while his ideas and methods were “crazy” they were good medicine for many and more and more people came to learn from him. He taught how to get off the production line and develop real freedom.
While he transformed his once barren fields into a diverse forest garden with over 2000 species, he saw greater value in helping people transform, for each person could then grow their own gardens and do their own important work learning and sharing more. Pooyai Viboon teachings inspired many who took these ideas to heart.
The Wanakaset Network is a community of students of Pooyai Viboon (now passed away) who work to practice and develop “Wanakaset” in their own places and ways and come together regularly to share knowledge and experience. Many members also have small eco-social enterprises based upon these ideas and the network does some collective marketing and has a participatory guarantee system, but the core is in the practice and continual learning from nature and each other. The center is Pooyai Viboon’s home in Sanam Chaikhet, Chachoengsao
Membership & Visitors
- Open to new members
- Open to visitors
This is a network of practitioners of "Wanakaset" - forest gardening and self-reliance in Thailand who meet regularly- normally once per month and on special occasions. Others who are interested to learn and share can join our meetings and network. Those who join should also be working to practice these or similar ideas. As almost all members are Thai and most only speak Thai, if you or your partner cannot speak Thai or Lao then difficult to join as a regular member, but may try and visit and learn when time can be made to receive you and help with interpretation. The Wanakaset Learning Center, home of Pooyai Viboon is open to receiving longterm volunteers with these interests and some Thai or willingness to learn Thai. Others may come to visit and learn and the center can organize more in depth trainings on this knowledge system if there is sufficient interest (with costs).
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