The Nam Khan Eco-Farm:Permaculture eco-farming:
The word permaculture is a portmanteau composed of ‘permanent’ and ‘culture’. This perfectly describes what we want to achieve at the NamKhan Eco-farm– a sustainable permanent system. On the one hand this will serve as an educational training center for permaculture practices, while also being a functioning permaculture farm in itself. Therefore the NamKhan Eco-farm will be sufficiently productive to be an economically viable venture.
Eco-farming takes a holistic approach to farming. It proposes nurturing symbiotic species and implementing all methods that support the regeneration of an ecosystem.
NamKhan Eco-farm is a proud member of global permaculture network, Permacultureglobal– an Australian organization, which aims to spread the concept of permaculture, globally. The NamKhan Eco-farm in Luang Prabang, Laos will be offering various permaculture courses (including Permaculture Design), as of 2018.
Laos, the so called landlocked ‘forgotten’ country is situated in the north of Thailand and home to LuangPrabang – a protected UNESCO world culture heritage site. It lies at the heart of Laos – a tiny preserved city in the middle of the jungle, where the Mekong and NamKhan rivers come together.
The NamKhan Eco-farm lies some 5 km outside of Luang Prabang, stretching along the NamKhan River for about 1 km.
If you are interested to join us as a volunteer please click here.
The Idea behind the NamKhan Eco-farm:
The NamKhan Eco-farm aims to maintain biodiversity in food production and farming, which is of importance to Laos, which does not have many ecological or permaculture farms. The agricultural authorities in Laos consider ecological farming to be one of the cornerstones of Laos’ future ecological development.
Interestingly, Laos does not produce sufficient fruit and vegetables to sustain its demand and therefore resorts to importation. Agriculture in Laos is dominated by production of rice which endangers the ecosystem’s diversity.
The cultivation of an individual plant species, in a particular lot of land, can considerably lower soil quality, over the years. Furthermore, this practice endangers the sustainability of the yields. At the same time, the focus on growing rice is not helping farmers earn enough for a decent life, given that they are heavily dependent of one food species. Therefore, this inefficient practice is creating new obstacles, instead of reducing existing ones. This is a challenge which the Nam Khan Eco-Farm is looking to overcome.
The NamKhan Eco-Farm will be highly diversified and will include a range of tropical fruits, vegetables, roots and herbs. Therefore, this will enrich the supply of farming products, with a strong focus on educating local farmers about new crops.
In addition, the eco-farm plans to stimulate the expansion of eco-farms by implementing a nucleus contract farming model, should demand prove to be sufficient. We will grow, test and experiment on growing crops. We will also extend our plans to food-processing aspects. These efforts are expected to deliver positive results, which will be multiplied together with local farmers under permaculture principals and the principals of the NamKhan project.
The crops which will be grown at the NamKhan Eco-Farm will be systematically chosen to support sustainability of our ecosystem.
Plant species at the NamKhan Eco-Farm:
At the NamKhan Eco-Farm we aim to plant species which are different from what the other farmers in Laos are currently planting. While this practice may sound strange, the diversity of vegetables in Laos is not as big as one would expect.
We are currently testing a wide range of European vegetables which are mostly not present on Laotian markets or restaurants. We will then evaluate which vegetables can be viably grown on a larger scale. We have undertaken a consultation process with restaurants and users of vegetables, fruits and herbs in order to gauge the demand. We are currently testing the growth of over 200 different vegetables in 9 permanent greenhouses and over 200 vegetable beds. The range of species which we are growing at the NamKhan Eco-Farm, includes:
Banana, papaya, mango, grapefruit, dragon fruit, watermelon, honey melon, passion fruit, lemon, and lime.
Avocado, tomato, chilies, cucumber, artichoke, zucchini, eggplant, onion, potatoes, paprika, root vegetables and various salad leafs.
Persil, basilica, lemon grass, dill, lavender, rosemary, Asian and Chinese herbs, and various European herbs.
Ginger, curcuma, pepper, garlic and various Asian spices
Orchids and roses are only some of the species we will offer on our farm.
The processing of vegetables, fruits and herbs at the NamKhan Eco-Farm:
The NamKhan Villageis also installing a food-processing facility, which will be able to handle small production runs of jams or vegetable sauces, dried herbs and dried herb mixes. The food-processing will take place under certified sterile conditions which enables us to sell products to super markets and speciality stores as well as for export use.The food-processing unit is a construction which uses converted 12, 20 and 40 foot sea containers.
The NamKhanEco-Farm customers:
We aim to supply various restaurants, hotels and guesthouses in Luang Prabang. In addition, our shop will be located in the NamKhan village. Our main target market consists of customers who value our 100% ecological produce, which are grown from ecological seeds. Our seeds are non-GMO seeds and we are currently testing non-hybrid seeds.
The NamKhan Eco-farm employees:
The NamKhanProject aims to primarily employ people from Laos, where possible. In addition, the Project is run by its two co-founders (hailing from Germany and Spain, respectively) and by the Chief Executive Offer (who hails from Thailand.)
Ongoing permaculture education for local farmers:
We aim to help farmers to expand their knowledge, enrich their product supply and build a self-financing venture which will generate profit to be reinvested in the Project.
The permaculture education center:
The NamKhan Eco-Farm will offer ongoing education through regular workshops held free of charge, for our staff and local farmers who are interested in permaculture. We will be the first farm in Laos to offer regular permaculture design courses, in Laos.
For some background information about permaculture design click here.
Other features of the NamKhan Eco-farm:
The main feature of the NamKhan Project is the public experience space. The area is a visitor centre during the daytime, but it is also a space in which those staying on the Farm or attending courses here, can enjoy during their free time. The area is charming and allows for space to lounge and relax in our botanical garden or on the sunbeds overlooking the river banks of the Nam Khan River. There is also an area dedicated to playing Petong or mini-golf.
Visitors can unwind while enjoying a massage on out outside massage pavilions of the botanical garden. The educational walk of the Eco-farm and botanical garden highlights the main farming techniques, plants and the stunning backdrop of Laos.
Guests are also invited to sample our wholesome food and beverage offering, at one of the various locations spread throughout the property. Most of the products are made using fresh produce from our farm.
The team at NamKhan Eco-Farm:
Please visit our main pagefor more information about the team and the people behind the NamKhan Project.
Visiting the NamKhan Eco-farm:
Visitors are always welcome at the NamKhan Eco-Farm. We are open between 9 in the morning and 6 in the evening.
Please contact us via our Contact page for specific information.
Visitors are welcome to come and learn more about the NamKhan Project. We also offer rooms with accommodation, for those visitors who wish to stay longer. In addition, we offer accommodation to the staff and the volunteers of the NamKhan Project.
Collaborations at the NamKhan Eco-Farm:
We are collaborating with a number of institutions and organizations at the NamKhan Eco-farm. In our collaborations, we always seek to ensure mutual benefits to our partners, including knowledge transfer and research and development.Please visit our ‘Become a Partner’ page for further information.