Tired of the rat race, city slick­ers go all nat­u­ral

Viet Nam News - - FRONT PAGE -

— A typ­i­cal morn­ing in Doác Mô Farm starts with fresh bam­boo char­coal tooth­paste by the spring, be­fore the res­i­dents wash their clothes us­ing soap berries, all grown in their gar­den.

Es­tab­lished in Oc­to­ber, 2015, Doác Mô Farm in Thoáng Nhaát District, the south­ern prov­ince of Ñoàng Nai is the com­mon home of 20 young peo­ple who left their ur­ban lives be­hind to pur­sue the dream of nat­u­ral farm­ing.

Nat­u­ral farm­ing is an eco­log­i­cal farm­ing ap­proach in­tro­duced by Ja­panese philoso­pher Masanobu Fukuoka. In Vieät Nam, this method has at­tracted a lot of at­ten­tion via Fukuoka’s book en­ti­tled which was pub­lished in 1975.

Hav­ing left be­hind city life three years ago, Laïi Hoàng Vy, 27, has more than 12,000 fol­low­ers on

, where she pub­lishes sto­ries of eat­ing healthily, liv­ing sus­tain­ably and re­duc­ing waste.

As farm­ers at Doác Mô, Vy and her hus­band grow veg­eta­bles, breed chick­ens and raise fish.

They have learned to make food and plant herbs. They spend their free time writ­ing, do­ing craft­work and other hob­bies.

“Leav­ing the city to start cul­ti­vat­ing was not an easy choice,” Vy told (Youth) news­pa­per.

For­tu­nately, it was the right choice, as Vy the farmer says she’s now health­ier and hap­pier.

The trans­for­ma­tion started with VNÑ20 mil­lion (US$860) which they used to set up a shel­ter with a so­lar panel, just enough for light­ing, charg­ing elec­tri­cal de­vices and keep­ing them con­nected with the outer world.

With­out an air con­di­tioner or elec­tric fan, on hot sum­mer days they sim­ply take the roof off the shel­ter to cool down.

Vy’s hus­band made all the fur­ni­ture by him­self, from the bed to cup­boards.

“I don’t want to leave a dune of waste once we leave to other places or die,” Vy said at a sem­i­nar on con­sumerism at HCM City Univer­sity of Eco­nomics in Oc­to­ber.

There­fore, when­ever plan­ning to buy or throw away any­thing, they al­ways con­sider the im­pact of their ac­tion on the en­vi­ron­ment.

“The longer you stay away from na­ture, the harder it is to come back,” Vy said.

“It’s not easy to give up some habits like lim­it­ing the use of plas­tic straws or bags.

“I re­alise that to live ecofriendly is a choice. Only when you feel com­fort­able and happy with it, peo­ple around you can also feel a vibe that mo­ti­vates them to Most Doác Mô Farm res­i­dents used to work in ar­chi­tec­ture, fi­nance or agri­cul­ture and moved to the farm for a sim­pler, more nat­u­ral life.

They plant trees, make or­ganic fer­tiliser and are of­fered pre­cious gifts by Mother Na­ture.

Phaïm Ngoïc Thoï from the Mekong Delta prov­ince of An Giang was an ar­chi­tect for a decade be­fore mov­ing to Doác Mô Farm.

“By us­ing chem­i­cals, we are plun­der­ing the nu­tri­ents of the soil. How­ever, en­rich­ing soil takes a lot of time and af­fects the in­come of farm­ers. We are re­search­ing ef­fec­tive farm­ing on im­pov­er­ished soil,” he said.

At Doác Mô Farm, ex­cept for rice, sugar, salt and fish sauce, they can pro­duce enough food for res­i­dents and even vis­i­tors.

It’s the food and vis­i­tors that fund the farm, as they sell their pro­duce for higher prices than nor­mal and al­low tourists to visit for a fee.

The gar­dens are in­ter­cropped to pre­vent dis­eases and ben­e­fi­cial in­sects are nur­tured to keep the ecol­ogy bal­anced.

“Here, we are search­ing for the most suit­able way to farm, not the most prof­itable to earn money,” Thoï said.

To spread the idea of re­spect­ing na­ture, the farm wel­comes stu­dents to visit and learn about plants, in­sects, farm­ing meth­ods as well as hos­pi­tal­ity and cui­sine ser­vices.

“When be­com­ing more re- spon­si­ble, we know it is not nec­es­sary to level a whole for­est to grow rice or cof­fee. We hu­mans can still live well in har­mony with the na­ture,” said Nguyeân, a Doác Mô farmer who wished to re­main anony­mous.

To go against so­cial norms was not easy for Vy at first, but she be­lieves one can bring hap­pi­ness to oth­ers when they feel hap­pi­ness from within.

“I had to be in the rat race in both Haø Noäi and HCM City to re­alise that be­ing a farmer is the best fit for me. If you feel con­tent liv­ing in cities, stay. If you want to live in the coun­try­side, go ahead. How­ever, I know that a lot of peo­ple are un­happy with their ur­ban lives but they don’t know where to go or don’t dare to make a move,” she said. — VNS

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Viet Nam

© PressReader. All rights reserved.