Sustainable solutions for life’s material needs.
A simple life can be very rewarding, many hands make light work, a resilient society is made up of resilient individuals.
Our main objective is achieving an acceptable level of personal freedom in our lives. From a practical perspective this relates to the skills and resources necessary for a material foundation of resilience and self-sufficiency, and from a social one to community living and the development of self-awareness, in our case inspired by the wisdom of eastern philosophy.
We want to share our time and exchange ideas with anyone looking for a way of life that does not require acquiring large debts or a lifelong commitment to a “career”, but that rather allows us to direct our energy to activities that we enjoy and from which we can learn something.
Nok and I lived at our previous place, Mae Mut Garden, for eight years, at first as newcomers in a small mountain village, and turned a degraded rice field into a diversified food forest, while taking care of our daughter Serena who was born there. The story of Mae Mut Garden is briefly told by some pictures here.
Many of the people who visited during that time reacted with surprise at what we had been able to do in a relatively short space of time, we always explained that it had not been so difficult, in a climate like Thailand’s, a more independent way of life is still possible, even for people like us who do not possess advanced self-reliance skills.
We are now starting a new project, in what used to be Nok’s family rice field, which we have been able to expand by purchasing some neighbouring fields. The aim is to create an off-grid situation, which can provide us with most of the foods we need.
Phusang Garden is intended for a small community of four or five like-minded families in addition to a full-time caretaker/manager responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and additional space for short term guests and group activities like workshops and kids’ camping adventures.
In “developed” countries, many obstacles stand between the dream and the reality of a simpler life, it can be difficult and expensive to find the right situation, the whole idea can seem daunting and it might take a long time to achieve a level of self sufficiency, rules and regulations are often in the way.
We are aiming to create a ready-made situation to offer the option of an independent and sustainable life, without having to make a large initial investment of money and time.
We hope to open Phusang Garden to visitors and guests in the winter of 2023.
Nok and Marco are not only the most friendly people you have ever met, but have also done an incredible job building a beautiful and productive landscape within which they can raise their young child. The time I have spent at Mae Mut Garden has both been extremely inspiring as well as enjoyable and rejuvenating. I recommend anyone interested in getting experience on a mixed-system permaculture farm to spend at least six weeks with Nok and Marco.
Christian Shearer, Founder of the Panya Project Chiang Mai
It’s been 3 years since Marco completed a Permaculture Design Course with me and the transformation from run down rice paddies to what you see today is truly remarkable. The landscaping of edible plants is a cornucopia of what can be grown in northern Thailand with a rich diversity of species providing fruit all year round. Animal systems, agroforestry and rice production also combine to make this an excellent example of an emerging Food Forest and permaculture in action. It’s not only the physical landscape that is impressive, but also the social aspect of permaculture at play here. Marco and Nok settled into a small remote Thai village and employed local villagers in their development. So rather than ‘preaching’ permaculture to a culture well evolved in the art of self reliance, it was a soft approach in them learning new skills and ideas as they earned a livelihood. The result is their acceptance into the community and the potential for future conversations if times and circumstances change.
John Champagne – Permaculture teacher at Brogo Permaculture NSW Australia
In all my travels I have never encountered another place that so perfectly captures the essence of what it means to live a harmonious life on this earth. A concrete example of human potential, Mae Mut Garden has become a place of unique inspiration for me, a clear reminder that life can be simple, peaceful and restorative. Whether you seek an authentic experience of the Thai countryside, a vision of how simple life can be, or a look at how permaculture design can seamlessly be integrated with traditional practices, Mae Mut Garden is the place for you.
Theron Beaudreau – Permaculture teacher at Eco-Pioneers Austin Texas
This is a guy that has obviously given much thought on the design and did the research. He is candid to admit that he has made many mistakes but it is impressive given that it is his first time doing it. Food forests at different stages, impressive buildings built naturally, water storage, farm economics, and more. If ever I were to have my own farm, I would design it quite similar to Maemut Garden.
Thomas Lim – Ulu Permaculture Malaysia
We are a Thai-Italian family with a young daughter, Nok comes from a small farming village close to the Laos border, Marco moved permanently to Thailand in 2009 after meeting Nok and together we developed the site at Mae Mut Garden for eight years. Serena came along in 2012.
We discovered we enjoyed life in a more natural environment, it was a rewarding experience to watch the garden grow into a functioning food forest, we learned a lot from our many mistakes and some of the connections we made during those years have grown into life-long friendships.
We have extensive hands-on experience of fruit and vegetable growing, agroforestry, permaculture, adobe construction and organic rice farming.
In order to facilitate a more regular social life for Serena who does not go to school, we recently moved to Chiang Rai and have started developing a new project, similar to Mae Mut Garden, on the outskirts of the village where Nok was born.
As the effort to procure the basics of life becomes more arduous and time consuming, the option of living more simply begins to look more attractive, a slower pace means less waste and more freedom to discover the difference between what is necessary, what is desirable and what is of little value.