Vision

Uthai Forest aims to establish a food forest on 23 hectares of land while creating a space for people – especially nature-deprived city dwellers – to participate in ecosystem restoration and reforestation. This camp offers people the chance to see and experience a different way of life where we depend on ourselves, nature, and each other instead of external, unsustainable economic models in order to live well.

Uthai Forest is a space for people to take action and participate in restoring ecosystems and building an alternative nature based community. We also aim to engage with and benefit the local farming community by sharing eco-friendly practices and creating alternative jobs to conventional rice cultivation.

Land Under Restoration:

23 Hectares (and counting!)

Organizing Partners:

All Green Learning Center (Thailand) – www.allgreenretreat.com

Goh Foundation, Singapore (main funding partner)

Next Camp:

October 31 to Nov 3, 2019

Location:

Uthai Forest is in Uthai Thani Province, a short distance away from the towns of Thap Than and Uthai Thani.

Social-Ecological-Economic Context

Uthai Forest is situated on 23 hectares of former rice paddies which are heavily degraded due to years of chemical-intensive farming. The soil is highly compacted, clayish and very hard, making digging and planting difficult.

The camp is surrounded by smallholder rice farmers, most if not all of whom have been planting rice the same way for decades. This has left many of them in debt as the cost of buying seeds and chemical fertilisers and pesticides far outweighs the money they earn from selling rice. Even so, they have kept up this practice because it is now considered the norm and there are few alternatives visible in the area. The land that the camp is on is very similar in condition to the surrounding rice fields.

Restoration Activities:

Water Retention – Tree Planting – Compost Making – Community Building – Restoration of Livelihoods – Soil Restoration – Erosion Prevention – Regenerative Entrepeneurialism – Restoration Holidays – Natural Building

Facilities:

Camping- Kitchen – Toilets

The camp is very simple with a pavilion for camping out and cooking, equipment sheds for planting and buildings, toilets, showers and a nursery. We camp out in tents, cook over rocket and charcoal stoves and wash and dry our clothes on-site. The camp isn’t isolated and we often visit the town for supplies or to give campers a taste of the local life there.

What to Expect:

Activities: The main activity is planting trees, but other activities include construction, painting, harvesting water hyacinth and others that come up as needs arise.

Needs:

People:

  • People with natural building skills who are willing to conduct courses; we will use these natural buildings as camp lodging in the future.
  • Anyone with construction, carpentry or design skills who can use our existing resources to design facilities like rocket stoves, makeshift shelters, composting areas, etc.
  • People with videography and photography skills.

Camper Opportunities:

2019: We are offering volunteer camps for people with general and specific skills. To cover costs we will be charging volunteers 250 Baht a day for food and transport within Uthai Thani province (to and from the public minivan station, going out for meals and excursions, etc.). Ideally we are looking for volunteers who are willing and able to take the public minivan from Bangkok or other Thai towns to Uthai Thani independently as well as those in the region who are able to reach the camp with minimal to no air travel (very feasible within most of Southeast Asia).

Our next camp is from October 31 – November 3.

Book trip + more info here

2020: We want to start conducting courses and other kinds of longer volunteer camps. Stay tuned!

Links:

Uthai Forest website (for further reference): uthaiforest.org

Facebook page: Uthai Forest อุทัยวนา ป่ายั่งยืน