Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We've Moved!

The second week of March was devoted to the move of the ECHO Asia Impact Center (our new name) to a new address approximately 800 meters from our previous location on the campus of Chiang Mai's McCormick Hospital. ECHO Asia is now renting a small house located behind the Arcade Bus Station; Chiang Mai's main bus terminal.

As we had begun to outgrow our old office, our goal was to find a new location that would be considerably roomier, not difficult for our visitors to find and also have space for a demonstration garden.

We're pleased to announce that the new place fits all three criteria. However, before we could begin gardening and demonstrating other backyard/urban farming techniques such as vermiculture and possibly catfish production in tanks, we had to get the outside in order. On moving day, the front yard was dry and barren with an old driveway and footpath that ate up almost 1/3 of the area. So our friend, Chanchai and his crew, busted up the concrete and carted off the larger pieces with the smaller pieces of concrete being hauled away and used to fill in ruts in the dirt road that leads to the seed bank.

After the concrete was removed, the front yard was divided into a few zones One area has been planted in perennial vegetables such as katuk (Sauropus androgynus ), chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, also known as tree spinach; perhaps the first of its kind in Chiang Mai), moringa and red shoot fig (Ficus virens) as well as a permanent cover crop of perennial peanut (Arachis pintoi). This zone will also be planted into various viny vegetable varieties (winged bean, yardlong bean, bottle gourd, etc.) that will use the adjacent walls and fence as support.

The second zone is made up of 10 small plant beds, each approximately 1 x 2.5 m, which will host various vegetable crops being produced and distributed by the ECHO Asia Seed Bank. A liberal dose of composted, manure-rich rice husks (which had been used as bedding for several months in the pig pens at Partners' Farm) was applied to each bed. Zoysia grass was laid in walkways separating the bed.

Various container plants from the old McCormick office have been relocated along the carport. And the back corner of the property will serve as a nursery for a small amount of seedlings to be made available at the new office. This space is also being shared with a small semi-shaded garden already planted in vegetable fern, taro (with edible stems), Malabar spinach, snowflake tree (Trevesia palmata) and other local shade-tolerant vegetable crops.

A micro-sprinkler irrigation system has been installed throughout all the zones.

As we continue to settle in, we'll provide updates on the progress of the ECHO Asia garden and demonstration area.

By the way, the address of the new office is:
270/5 Soi 6
Thanon Tung Hotel
Chiang Mai 50000

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