The journey to Daidib Daidee
Daidib Daidee Permaculture Organic Farm is located in Pua District, Nan Province. We are in the middle of rice fields surrounded by a comforting wall of mountains sheltering the valley and a sky like a roof filled with stars. As you look around, depending on the season, you may see green fields covering the ground like a soft carpet. Together, my father and I developed this space with careful hard work, forethought, love and understanding as a family.
The name ‘ได้ดิบได้ดี” (DaiDib DaiDee) comes from ดิบ (Dib – Rawness) and the goodness of this place. Dib means living a simple, uncomplicated life, close to nature. At all times, whether we are in contact with the forest, the canyon, big and small animals, hot weather, cold rain, under the sky and clouds, stars and sunlight, we can learn from nature. It teaches us to adapt to it and not to change it to our own liking.
My studies and dreams have carried me far from my hometown, to Chiang Mai and Bangkok, working and searching for many years on an exhausting path. In the end, I discovered the dream I was after was to have my own house, a place with clean air and water all year round, surrounded by fields full of rice paddies, with plenty of fish in the streams and chemical-free vegetables. Most importantly, I realised that a being close to my parents, my family and a source of good energy was enough for me to live a happy life. This dream at the time felt so far away. Finally, I found it back in my hometown.
Of course, my intention to go home has plastered a smile on my parents’ faces as they love to be close to their son. It was important to me to come home early when my parents are still going strong, so to have enough time to learn from each other, to still be able to communicate, and for my parents to pass on their knowledge and skills onto me.
Even though I initiated this project, I could not have made this dream happen without my father. His life skills have been invaluable. As a farmer, he is carrying on a tradition, passing down his skills from generation to generation as he learned from his own father. He has been growing organic rice for many years, from ploughing the fields to harvesting the rice, our farm does not use any grass or chemical hormones.
The project started with a blank slate. My father was a teacher who taught me how to use various tools to save time and energy. For example, using bamboo to build a house, how to construct roofing, growing your own vegetables, trekking and foraging to find vegetables and mushrooms in the wild, which herbs to use when sick, and finally the way of thinking and planning for this lifestyle. Working together, through learning by doing, he also taught me to be self-reliant. Daidib Daidee is a result of his teachings.
The one thing that stands out at Daidib Daidee is Nature and its powerful attraction that brings me home. The green fields are very relaxing, especially when the rice is ripening and has a gentle smell of rice flowers. The layered mountain peaks reach far into the distance, some days the fog is so thick that the peaks of the mountains disappear. On other days there is a thick mist floating around the mountain, or on a clear day, the sky is so sunny that it can be blue as far as the eye can see. In addition, close by there are trails in the jungle to walk and learn about the trees, wildlife, the large and small ecological systems that depend on each other. On hot days, we swim in the river and enjoy the waterfalls, jump in, play, and cool off. After a day in nature, it is so peaceful to sit back in a hammock, admire the star dotted around the night sky and prepare yourself for a night of sweet dreams ahead.
The fields, mountains, forests and stars have the power to heal the mind, we also believe in the importance of healing the body through daily routines, like starting the day with some early morning basic yoga stretches. Our philosophy is that food can be medicine for the body. So, every meal that my mother provides is clean, vegetarian, northern Thai style food. The dishes are safe from chemicals because they composed of our own homegrown ingredients. The last thing I do is a daily meditation before going to bed to clear my mind in order to get a good night’s sleep.
Beyond to the day to day simple lifestyle, there are a variety of activities that are based in nature, inviting visitors to experience the traditional local culture and skills that have been passed through centuries and preserving our culture for generations to come. Here are a few activities offered on the farm or nearby:
• Local herbal sauna, using steamed locally grown herbs for relaxation and feeling refreshed
• Traditional rice farming with a buffalo to plough, plant rice seedlings, and harvest rice
• Traditional Thai massage and herbal compress, performed by an elder aunt in the village
• Father will teach how to create various utensils from bamboo and coconut shells. Practising both knife and basketry skills to create spoons, cups and bowls
• Using natural dyes, such as indigo, teak leaves, mango leaves to colour and tie-dye clothes and fabric
• Using natural paints derived from minerals and plants to draw pictures and create art
• Body bath using traditional herbs
• Trekking to study forest ecosystems
• Learning how to cook local Thai desserts and vegetarian meals
My wish is to create a relaxing place that allows people from all over the world to take their time to experience life in harmony with nature.