Community Garden Projects
Community Garden Projects were started on Koh Phangan and Koh Samui during 2020 as a response to the covid19 crisis on the Gulf Islands resulting from the massive decrease in tourism. The islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan are primarily reliant on tourism, some 80% of each islands economies being supported in this way. With the border closures in Thailand during 2020, and the reduction in internal travel in the Kingdom, a high proportion of local businesses were forced to close their doors, or work reduced hours, resulting in high levels of unemployment of both local Thai and migrant workers. Whilst initial emergency responses focused on food aid, strategies were developed by local groups to start community gardens with the aim of both providing medium term food and to engage local people in community action.
EcoThailand, along with other key groups and community leaders, were instrumental in setting up the community garden concept, a concept which rapidly took hold and led to a number of gardens being set up on Phangan, Samui and other islands.
We support several Gardens, including Phangan Community Garden, Phangan Health Volunteer Garden, Informal School Garden, Raitiaviset Organic Farm and Samui Community Garden with a combination of informed input, financial aid via our MicroGrant awards, and with the provision of EcoThailand Volunteers working at the Gardens.
Looking forward, several of the Gardens are slowly moving into new areas including donations for food to support further Garden development, as teaching centres and as community tourism, ecotourism and agrotourism enterprises.
Raitiaviset Organic Farm deserves special mention in being an Organic Farm business, a key member of a local organic cooperative and also as a teaching and skills centre for students from Chulalongkorn University.
EcoThailand strongly support these initiatives, being wholly consistent with our interests in developing and extending both Community Philanthropy and Eco/Community Tourism in the Thai Gulf.
Community Gardens Gallery:
Our thanks to Phangan Community Garden members for use of photographs and Community Garden with Ross Silcocks and Entirety Labs for the video.