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Archive for the ‘Our Network’ Category

Pak Mun Dam Update

In In Solidarity, Our Network on 28/02/2011 at 10:26 pm

As part of a network of social and environmental movements in Esan, the AAN is always in close communication other groups of farmers, fisherfolk and urban communities.  The Pak Mun struggle continues today, as the government is finally entertaining a debate about decommissioning the dam.  Pak Mun protesters have become increasingly active in Ubon Ratchatani, with recent protests at City Hall organized by the Assembly of the Poor (AOP).  Sompong Vienchan was even recently interviewed and here is a recent editorial from the Bangkok Post:

Bangkok Post February 25, 2011

When you make a mistake, you accept it and apologise, make amends and stop repeating the same error without end. That is what civilised people do, and there can be no reason why Thailand’s governments should flout this golden rule. Read the rest of this entry »

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AAN Learning Process

In Network Events, Our Network on 16/01/2011 at 2:47 am

This is a recent photo update from our friend Pitchtanika Sanviset in Mukdahan province, which neighbors Yasothon province to the north and is across the Mekong River from Savannakhet, Laos.  Pitchtanika, or P’ Ouang, has been studying with the “local wisemen” in Kudchum district, Yasothon, since the winter of 2010.  A well-educated mother of two with a Journalism background in Bangkok, P’ Ouang has been hard at work turning her family’s land into a diverse, productive organic farm.  Her commitment to her home community and work to promote organic farming with her neighbors and extended family is a model of how AAN famers make positive change from the ground up.  Read the rest of this entry »

Green Market Profile: Mai Hootachai

In Our Network on 05/01/2011 at 1:36 am

Another great new profile by Kate Cooney, a student from the Fall 2010 CIEE Khon Kaen semester program.

A ‘Natural’ Transition: One small-scale farmer’s smooth transition into organic, chemical-free agricultural production

Katie Cooney

“Actually it is not that difficult,” Mai assured. “The first year I questioned myself. I worried I would not have anything to eat at all. But the second year the crops were so beautiful.” Read the rest of this entry »

AAN Yasothon Profile: Suwit Thankakoon

In Our Network on 28/12/2010 at 10:01 pm

Here is a new AAN Member Profile from Madeleine Dick-Godfrey, a student in the Fall 2010 CIEE Khon Kaen program:

Leaders Building Community

Madeleine Dick-Godfrey

You are in the middle of baking a cake. You realize you are missing a key ingredient, sugar. Do you: a.) Borrow sugar from your neighbors? Or b.) Drive all the way to the supermarket just to pick some up? Read the rest of this entry »

Terra Madre 2010

In In Solidarity, Meetings, Our Network on 19/11/2010 at 5:47 am

I approached Slow Food’s Terra Madre with ambivalence.  My fellow young farmers in New York called the organization an “eating club.”  I was frustrated because my Thai friends from the Alternative Agriculture Network were not attending the event due to problems with paperwork.  I didn’t know what to expect from the event – would the people I meet really care about food being “good, clean and fair”?  Or, would the “good” take up most of their effort?  Yet I also admired Slow Food for it’s explicit belief that “good food” (or “sustainable” or “fair”) should actually taste good.  This same value is one that I see within the AAN and other farmer-based organizations working for a better food system.

Read the rest of this entry »

Soul Food Mahanakorn

In Our Network on 17/11/2010 at 6:40 am

Our friend in Bangkok, Jarrett Wrisley, has opened his new restaurant, Soul Food Mahanakorn!  Congratulations to him and thanks for his support of the AAN.  Jarrett is committed to supporting Thailand’s small-scale farmers and has purchased our network’s organic Jasmine rice to serve alongside some delicious dishes.  We had the chance to join a tasting at the restaurant last month and enjoyed everything.  The freshness of the ingredients and flavors in the dishes were all very impressive.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Network

In Organic Consumer Group, Our Network on 10/08/2010 at 7:37 pm

And so my time with the Alternative Agricultural Network is coming to a close.  The timing of my departure is high-spirited as rain has finally begun to fall on the fields of the northeast, though in limited quantities.  Working this summer has been mind-boggling to say the least, and I would like to share a small glimpse of my experience.

I began my journey in the village of Ban Non Yang living with Paw (Pops) Bunsong, lead organizer of the AAN, and Mae (Mom) Nang.  In Ban Non Yang, time moved slow; there was no rush to go anywhere and the day was broken up based on the tasks that had to be finished rather than by minutes and seconds.  Fellow villagers could often be seen taking afternoon naps in huts next to their rice paddies or simply shooting the breeze with neighbors.  Read the rest of this entry »

บทกวีชาวนา

In Our Network on 03/07/2010 at 5:23 pm

A Brief, Belated Introduction

In Our Network on 18/06/2010 at 8:50 am

Sawadeekrap… (Hello!)

My name is Abe (uh-bee) Levine.  I am a religious studies major and a food and political science minor at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.  I spent this past semester looking at the human perspective, the on the ground effects, of development and globalization in Khon Kaen, and as Bennett wrote, living and learning with villagers.  This summer I will be working to develop a focus group of consumers from the Green Market (Dthalad See Keow); it will be modeled after groups in the States that organize C.S.A.s (community supported agriculture) and work together to create other initiatives related to organic agriculture in their communities.  Read the rest of this entry »

From The Atlantic – Thailand’s Other Protests: Pro-Sustainable Food

In Our Network on 08/06/2010 at 7:40 am

To view a slide show of images from Jarrett’s trip to visit the organic farmers of Ubon Ratchathani, click here.

In a remote Thai village, a 24-year-old New Jersey man named Bennett Haynes farms rice and vegetables. But Haynes also plays a more sinister role: in a recent farming folk opera about rice, he’s been cast by villagers in the part of sticky rice #6. This type of rice is an “improved” variety—a commodity crop sold by seed companies—that has supplanted local varieties.

In the opera, Haynes’s evil character wanders the countryside, stealing the hardy brown and black grains sown for centuries and infecting the paddies with his own seed. Sticky rice #6 is white, and so is Bennett, which makes the audience chuckle. Read the rest of this entry »