In 2007, after many years of travel throughout Vietnam and diverse experience, Quang together with other members of his family and his project partner, John Berlow, decided to develop an organic fruit and vegetable farm in Tuyen Quang Province. The aim was to create an alternative to environmentally-harmful deforestation, monocropping and chemical agroforestry while, at the same time, improving the lives of farmers.
Members of his family had settled in Tuyen Quang in the 1950s, when most of the province was still virgin forest filled with wildlife. The organic farm was set up in the same Commune, called Binh Xa, in a hamlet called Do. This is about 170 kms (106 miles) from Hanoi on National Highway 2.
In 2009, in a major expansion of the project, an ecolodge was established and officially registered. Accommodations are traditional Tay wooden stilt houses with modern sanitary facilities, hot water and electricity. Food is fresh from the farm and expertly prepared.
Guests began coming immediately. Mostly by word-of-mouth, Green Vietnam Farm and Ecolodge now attracts more foreign visitors than anywhere else in Tuyen Quang Province.
Now, Green Vietnam includes eleven organic fruit and vegetable farms spread over 55 hectares (136 acres), with humanely-raised, really free-range ducks, Muscovy ducks, chickens and pot-belly/wild pigs as well as fish.
Ten local families are involved in full-time work together with 100 seasonal workers for planting and harvesting. Carpenters, construction workers and electricians are working to create new facilities and accommodations. An office in Hanoi has been set up. And partners are developing plans to extend the Green Vietnam project in both for-profit and non-profit directions.
Our ranks are filled with volunteers, friends and visitors.
Green Vietnam is a social enterprise that includes commercial and non-profit activities. Through the organic farm and ecolodge, Green Vietnam
- Provides an example of an organic farming community attuned to nature
- Improves environmental conditions by restoring tree cover and increasing biodiversity
- Raises local living standards by creating many fair-paying jobs with shared profits for workers
- Trains farmers as part of their participation in the project
- Helps farmers set up their own sustainable projects (vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, raising animals, artisanal food)
Green Vietnam's Farming Methods
Since we started five years ago, we have used completely organic methods. Some of these are traditional Vietnamese methods. Some are common to organic farming throughout the world. And some we have discovered here at Green Vietnam. These methods include:
- Using organic compost as fertilizer
- Extensive mulching with rice straw and other ingredients
- Increasing biodiversity
- Companion planting
- Eliminating pests with natural sprays we have created and tested at Green Vietnam
Green Vietnam is filled with indigenous forest trees and fruit orchards, with vegetables and flowers. The soil is covered and moist. The air is cooler than anywhere else around. Free-range chickens and Muscovy ducks fertilize the soil. Caterpillar-eating birds have multiplied.
When farmers or agricultural officials familiar with chemical agriculture visit our farm, they often think that our trees are two or three times older than they actually are.
And all those who come to visit see and taste what agriculture in harmony with nature can produce.