PANYA PROJECT ::: I. INTRODUCTION

by kaiconfusion

INTRODUCTION INTO AN ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE:
EXAMPLE PANYA PROJECT: VOLUNTEER BASED ORGANIC FARM & PERMACULTURE PROJECT THAILAND

Everyone is talking about problems. The news literally bombard us with negativity, documentaries and books teach us about the horrors of our reality and we do it with each other, too. I am not saying that it’s all bad, one of the good thing about it, is that we increase and share our knowledge and awareness and strengthen our ability for critical thinking. Without answers to the problems we are uncovering though, all of this knowledge can have a strong negative and depressing and even devastating effect on us, it can create great hopelessness, fear and anger inside us.

With the next few articles, I want to write about a few possible solutions to some of the problems we as human kind are currently facing. Inspired by what people have achieved at Panya, which is just one of many projects around the globe,
that shows alternatives, I want to tell and show a little more about this alternative lifestyle.
It won’t of course appeal to everyone and it is not a solution for the entire planet but I guess a little bit of it can be
inspiring to many. I hope you discover something new and I’d be more than happy to get feedback.

TOPICS

POST I: PANYA  PROJECT I : INTRO
POST II: PANYA PROJECT II : BUILDINGS
POST III: PANYA PROJECT  III: GARDENS
POST IV: PANYA PROJECT IV: ENERGY/ WATER/ WASTE
POST V: PANYA PROJECT V: COMMUNITY
POST VI: PANYA PROJECT VI: PANYA SITE/ SURROUNDING

POST I : PANYA INTRO – PANYA’S HISTORY/PHILOSOPHY AND SUSTAINABILITY

I have spent a good two month now at the Panya project in Moo Bahn Mae Jo in northern Thailand.
Everyday is a day of learning new things and skills. That makes it such an extraordinary experience, so different from a daily routine. Everyday is exciting. As I interpret our times, to me it is obvious that environmentally and economically and even spiritually we need answers and alternatives to our current reality. Most people understand that now, I believe though many lacking  knowledge of alternatives, answers and solutions. So lets look forward and focus on solutions!

A short photo slide show to start with from the last Permaculture Introduction Course at Panya.


What is Panya?

Panya is a non-profit permaculture project (?WHAT IS PERMACULTURE?) which has evolved toward an educational center, inspiring and teaching volunteers from around the world by giving and hosting courses and by sharing knowledge in the daily Panya life.
Panya is organized and designed by permaculture principles and it is trying to be an example for a sustainable and self-sufficient life in harmony with nature.

panyaproject.org/the-original-proposal-summer-2002/

Who are the people at Panya?

The Project was founded in 2003 by Christian Shearer, who now is traveling the world as permaculture consultant etc.,
working at Panya only a short time of the year. The project runs by itself through the work of volunteers entirely!
Everyone at Panya is a volunteer, some stay very short, some stay very long that means there is a lot of human
fluctuation. People come from all over the world with all kinds of backgrounds and ages. That alone makes it so
exciting to be here! Everyone is welcomed to volunteer at Panya and will be asked to contribute 250Baht/ 6€ daily.
Volunteers that decide to stay longer than one month are only asked to contribute 125Baht.
For volunteers willing to stay longer then 3 month or even longer then half a year there is the possibility to stay
without paying. There are currently about 10 long-term volunteer places at Panya. Long term members are responsible
for everything concerning Panya ranging from feeding animals, to finances, gardening, shopping etc.  To become a mid
term or long-term member it is vital to have something to contribute to the community like experience in permaculture for instance. The community decides together about applicants. There are community meetings at least once a week.

panyaproject.org/the-early-days-2002-2006/
panyaproject.org/starting-the-farm-2007-and-2008/

Education

Economics

Panya is a non profit organisation which finances itself through volunteers financial contributions, fees for courses and from donations. The Volunteers contribution is Panya money, there to cover all of Panya’s financial needs and most of Panya’s bills. The community decides together about non daily expenses like building materials etc. There is a financial manager who  is a long-term volunteer as well. Panya expenses are mainly food, internet and electricity bills, fuel and gardening and building materials. Income from courses is divided throughout the long-term community. 50% of the course fee is for the teachers, 25% divided through the long-term members and the rest is Panya money.
In my opinion, a very fair economic model which led Panya to financial self-sufficiency together with the initial investment from the very beginning!

Energy/ Water

Panya’s water supply is divided in drinking water and water for all other purposes like washing and gardening etc.
In terms of water Panya is self-sufficient. No pipes coming in or going out. All of Panya’s drinking water is caught and stored in concrete barrels or water tanks in the rainy season and lasts all year round. All other water is pumped several times a day from a small well up to a hill and stored in water barrels from where the water is gravity fed to all the tabs on the property.
Electricity comes from the grid. Recently the first small solar panel has been installed and powers 60% of the sala’s lights and can charge laptops and mobile phones.
For electricity and water there are plans for more sufficiency systems which will be implemented next year.
Garbage is a big problem. Panya tries to avoid bringing any garbage into the project and tries to deal with its garbage by recycling and down cycling it. Still some of the stuff ends up in the landfill.

­Daily life

The Panya week starts on Tuesdays and finishes on Saturday. Sunday’s and Monday’s are days off.
Management rolls of the long-term volunteers will still have to be taken care off.
The mornings usually start with a quick check in followed by announcing the working session for that morning.
Work session are from 9.00 am to 12:00 at noon. There is a rotor system for cooking, pot wash, sweep and
tidy and Mettā. It is rotated every morning of the Panya week. Afternoons are free time and time for own projects.

In every aspect of the Panya daily life everybody tries to be more mindful, more resourceful, more efficient in what we do and how we do it and as far as I am concerned everyone here is pretty happy with it and is having a hell of a lot of fun!

Freedom ahead trailer

A beautiful inspiring documentary about Panya project, Pun Pun, Sadhana Forest in India and others.
Since it is a small production which is dependent on money for future projects, the movie can be downloaded
for a small fee or be shown for public screenings.
freedomahead.ahooha.com/  (01.06.2012)

Webresources : (01.06.2012)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture
www.
permaculture.org/
http://permacultureprinciples.com/

www.panyaproject.org/
panyaproject.org/the-early-days-2002-2006/
panyaproject.org/starting-the-farm-2007-and-2008/

www.panyaproject.org/photo-album/

http://permaculture.org.au/2010/02/22/the-permaculture-design-certificate-pdc/

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