เครือข่ายเกษตรกรรมทางเลือกภาคอีสาน

Green Market Profile: Nahng Lohmyai Wehrutnahrak

Green Market Guru

By Maggie McLagan

YASOTHON, THAILAND— “I’m very proud of my produce because only people who care about their health can come here and buy what they want,” exclaimed Nahng Lohmyai Wehrutnahrak, nicknamed Dthim, as she adjusted some small bags of sticky rice and coconut.

The sun was rising above the buildings surrounding the outdoor Green Market in downtown Yasothon as Dthim and many other organic vendors were dressed in their aprons and standing tall behind their freshly arranged products. Merchandise thinned and the regular consumers began to trickle out of the market around 8:30 AM so Dthim sat down with a smile on her face.

Farming is one thing Dthim has never lived without. She currently lives on the farm inherited from her parents with her husband and three sons who are twenty, eighteen, and five years old. Eventually, Dthim hopes her sons will take over the land and reap the benefits of sustainable agriculture that she has been so accustomed to.

After 6th grade, Dthim finished her education and went straight to the fields to help her family farm and she has been doing just that ever since. She is devoted to her farm and family. “In my free time I like to grow vegetables, feed the cows and keep up with our land,” she told me, “I am happiest when my family is working together, when we understand each other and when I feel that we have a warm family bond.”

Starting at 5:00 AM, forty two year old Dthim begins her daily routine by waking up and getting her youngest son ready for school. After sending the five year old off to learn, she cooks breakfast and heads out to the farm. Although her routine is based off her feelings that day and her overall to-do list, cooking three times per day and working in the fields never change. By growing mainly rice (along with many vegetables and bamboo), Dthim and her family attain their income from selling the leftover rice harvest to the mill after first rationing out their own comfortable portions. “I grow rice because I love to eat rice,” Dthim said.

“The most difficult period in my life thus far was once when we had a dry season,” Dthim exclaimed, “broadcasting rice is so hard without water.” Dthim and her family got through the season fine, but it was a powerful lesson nonetheless. This hardship was ironically during the time when Dthim’s family was utilizing chemical fertilizers and pesticides, although she states that the two were not related.

Like the majority of farmers across the world, Dthim’s family was convinced to farm with chemicals because it was advertised positively and pushed by the government heavily. For a while she grew her precious produce with the chemicals and unnatural aides, but eventually after realizing the negative side effects she went back to the way farming should be: organic. In 2003 Dthim’s farm committed to switching from chemically produced food to all organic. The family’s health is better, they can sell her rice for a higher price, and the community support that they receive are all meaningful benefits they obtained after switching.

The Green Market is extremely important to the community and majority of organic farmers in Yasothon. For producers such as Dthim, there is a strong family aspect to the Green Market and the support that everyone exchanges is said to be most people’s favorite aspect of selling there every Saturday morning.

Dthim is a leader and committee member of the emergent Green Market. She keeps up the integrity of the inspiring area by inspecting the growers and selling spot, identifying the standards that all of the vendors should be held accountable to, checks yield, and promotes the Green Market for more consumers and possible producers. Also, motivated from Green Market in Yasothon, the province of Sai Moon will also be starting up their very own Green Market, soon selling every Wednesday. Dthim grew up in Sai Moon so she is excited to sell with her long time friends—meaning she will be picking up extra money from Green Market sales two days a week now.

Although Dthim wanted to be a soldier at one point in her life, but was rejected because of her gender, she is content and happy with her days as a successful organic farmer.  The Green Market helps producers such as Dthim sell their extra food while staying as close as family to the people in his or her community. “I’ll sell here forever because the customer demands me,” Dthim stated, “some customers buy their vegetables here and put them in the refrigerator for a week until they can buy again the next Saturday. It would be nice to be open another day so that people can cook with fresh food more often.”

When first asked what Dthim was afraid of she exclaimed, “I am not afraid of anything” following up with a laugh, and then said “actually I am afraid of tigers, but they are not popular in Thailand.” Her favorite food is grilled frogs that she raises herself, along with her own recipe of a spicy bean salad. Dthim’s family, her extremely supportive community, and her self-sustainability on the farm make her one happy lady and you’ll know this the second you see the smile on her face.

Hopefully communities such as the close-knit organic farmers in Yasothon catch on to other provinces in Thailand. Support, similar goals in life, and the family feeling are what make people like Dthim and organizations such as the Green Market so successful and content.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: