Uthai Forest is situated on 23 hectares of former rice paddies in Uthai Thani, lower Northern Thailand, which are heavily degraded due to years of chemical-intensive farming. The soil is highly compacted, clayish and very hard, making digging and planting difficult. Uthai Forest aims to establish a food forest on the land while creating a space for people, especially nature-deprived city dwellers, to participate in ecosystem restoration and reforestation. This restoration community offers people the chance to see and experience a different way of life where we depend on ourselves, nature, and each other instead of external, unsustainable economic models in order to live well. Uthai Forest is a space for people to take action and participate in restoring ecosystems and building an alternative nature based community. Many of the surrounding smallholder rice farmers have been planting rice the same way for decades. The restoration community is engaging with and benefitting these local farming community by sharing eco-friendly practices and creating alternative jobs to conventional rice cultivation, using chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
Once a low-yield rice paddy, this piece of land could have been transformed into a commercial solar park or industrial pig farm. But the founders of All Green Learning Center, Thailand, became disillusioned with the corporate world and its endless cycle of generating business for the sake of profits. Uthai Forest was born to secure a more meaningful and joyful way to use the land by rejuvenating the natural environment and our souls, instead of draining them. Not only is Uthai Forest resulting in tangible benefits for the earth, it has also provided the opportunity to involve and empower as many people as possible to get their hands dirty for a good cause.
Uthai Forest works in partnership with Goh Foundation, Singapore and All Green Learning Center (Thailand).