Hello adventurous ones, my name is Steven Wiig and I'm working with an exciting new social enterprise called Green Youth Collective in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Green Youth Collective was started by a small group of 4 co-founders, then introduced myself on the Permaculture side, a couple others on the design side, and a growing number of both local and foreign volunteers and supporters to help us clear the path for a more environmentally focused direction in the HCMC area. My main focus is the land we rent in District 9 of HCMC, which you'll read about later if you're interested. I have had my PDC since March 2010 at panya Project, about a year and a half of hands on and design experience in Thailand during the first year of Rak Tamachat, and by no means can organize or do this all on my own in the time frame we are going for. Any other permies out there want in? If you're interested, please read the following, and let me know! But firstly, some info on logistics of coming here for us (and of course you
Finances n stuff We're in VietnamYou gotta get here..
LivingYou can stay for free on the land, and we can give you a food allowance that will cover grocery costs from the neighbouring village. Accommodation depends on when you arrive. We're always improving, and more sleeping spaces will become available.
TransportWe can't provide transport at this moment, but we are possibly getting a motorbike/scooter for the land which you could use. The bus goes very near the land, about a 30-45 minute walk or 5-10 minute bike ride, and is very cheap. We will have bicycles on the land you can use. You can also rent a scooter downtown for 40-60$ a month.
Visa It's about 65$ all together for a 3 month visa from my connection here. To renew, it's about 30$ for another 3 months, no border runs needed! (check out Thailand, it truly sucks for this)
Income GYC cannot afford to pay another employee at this time, but to be honest, I am earning a small amount and am happy to share it with anyone who gives us their best.. though this would only be for one person, i get 300$ a month. It isn't much, but could cover your costs if you truly live on the farm (about 3$ a day). **The reason I can do this is simply teaching English. I work 5 nights a week, for 4 hours a day. I can likely help you find a part time job in the evenings where you will earn 10-18$ an hour if you're a native English speaker. It's possible, if you keep your lifestyle cheap, to work with us as well as earn enough to save a 2-500$ a month (much more if you're willing, but please don't quit on us!) It may however, take 1-2 months to find work.
What we expect for you to stay on the land at least 5 nights a week, and give your love to the land and the project in whatever area we need help on and you have the passion for.
Mission Green Youth Collective is a small, collective-based not for profit social enterprise with the mission of creating a greater awareness and interest in “Green” and sustainable practices and products in HCMC and area. The direct beneficiaries of the business we are creating will be local disadvantaged youth who have been trained by GYC to assemble, install, and maintain container and vertical gardens.
Where you'll behttp://goo.gl/maps/Ah5X0 Goals of the District 9 Land
1. Education Center: To have an education center adequate for teaching all the hand-on skills necessary to install and maintain our products. The center will also be used for courses, workshops and groups of visiting students and volunteers.
2. Sustainable Residence: To have a sustainable residence with appropriate facilities for 2-4 permanent GYC staff, as well as accommodation for students, volunteers, and guests.
3. Integrated Agriculture System: To have an integrated and chemical free agriculture system, growing organic and mineral-rich fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicines, flowers, and other beneficial plants. As much as possible we will focus on traditional methods to achieve this, with help from modern technology and ideas as support mainly for our products.
4. Experimental Systems: To have a space for conducting a variety of experiments, the results of which will be applied for our customers in the forms of container and vertical gardens in HCMC.
5. Demonstration: To have a place for both urban and rural residents to come and experience a functional model of sustainable living. All models and designs will be open-source, including our products.
Connected Vision of Urban Gardening and our Education Center
While our focus is on urban sustainability, the heart of our hands-on workspace is located in District 9, on a branch of the Dong Nai River. GYC has realized that for all we hope to accomplish, we need a large space to carry out our experiments, demonstrate our products, and educate our future employees. The land in D9 is 6000 square meters, and will be our education center for hands-on learning.
This will be a space designed to inspire the youth and anyone who comes to visit. We envision hosting both local and international courses in areas such as Permaculture, natural building, natural product making, design, organic gardening, meditation, yoga, traditional crafts, or whatever area someone is motivated to host a course in. The Green Youth will also be trained here, so for a few months before they begin their job of installing our products, they will get hands on experience with the soil, seeds, building, maintaining, planning and designing.
Cultural respect and acknowledgement is also a key aspect to our educational goals, as the ‘farming’ lifestyle unfortunately has a negative stigma in modern Vietnamese society of being a difficult and poor life. Yet, it is the foundation of Vietnam’s heritage, and respect of its cultural traditions which were so connected with the Earth must be preserved for future generations. We aim to empower local elders and leaders by creating a space where they can pass down their knowledge to the urban youth and feel the joy of being in their natural role, as teachers of the next generation.
Experimentation and constant innovation is crucial for our future growth and sustainability, and this land will provide a space where we can create and design different systems and products that will then be sold to the residents of HCMC and installed by our beneficiaries.
Organic seeds *** this is why I've posted on permies. We really need someone to be focussed on seed saving in particular. Of course it's not all you would do, but we have a load of organic, heirloom seeds, and are always finding more. These need the utmost respect and care. anyone willing? If it helps, Monsanto, who also made agent orange, is re-entering Vietnam in full force.. time to act is now are a major need for our claim of organic gardens to become a reality, and as a result we will also focus on saving seeds at the land. At this time, there is no good source of organic seeds in Vietnam, and we intend to change that by providing non-hybrid, heirloom seeds to our customers and associates.
Besides our initial product of gardens for the urban environment, we will constantly be expanding our available accessories, which will be largely made from natural supplies at the farm. These will include organic pesticides and fertilizers, natural soaps and cleaning products, oils, and even food products and health drinks. These accessories will provide both an income for GYC, and also jobs for our beneficiaries.
The design of the land is a completely integrated system which includes natural buildings, organic gardens, aquaculture systems, animal systems, waste reduction and recycling systems, and renewable and alternative energy. We do not necessarily expect for many of these systems to be replicated within the city, but rather to simply inspire and create awareness of how much our society wastes and produces. Also, to show an alternative that will motivate urban residents to make small efforts to do their part, and in turn help both the Earth and GYC.