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Thailand: Thai landfill turned into urban farm to feed poor during pandemic

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, a community architect at the urban farm he created at the site of a landfill to support poor and homeless people during the coronavirus pandemic in Chiang Mai, Thailand. December 20, 2020. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Rina Chandran

“The Chiang Mai farm is a sandbox – it shows it can be done in even the most unlikely of spaces if the government and the community come together,” she added.

By Rina Chandran
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Jan 6, 2021

Excerpt:

The farm in Chiang Mai, about 700 km (435 miles) from the capital Bangkok, took shape during a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus last year, when many of the city’s residents lost their tourism-dependent jobs.

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, a community architect who works on housing solutions for Chiang Mai’s homeless and informal settlers, approached authorities with a plan to convert the unused landfill into an urban farm to support the poor.

“We had previously mapped the city’s unused spaces with an idea to plant trees to mitigate air pollution. The landfill, which had been used for 20 years, was one of those spaces,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Poor families spend more than half their earnings on food, so when their incomes dried up, they were struggling to feed their families. This farm has been a lifeline for some of them,” he said, pointing to neat rows of corn and morning glory.

Coronavirus lockdowns worldwide have pushed more city dwellers to grow fruit and vegetables in the backyards and terraces of their homes, and forced authorities to consider urban farming as a means to boost food security.

In Chiang Mai, after authorities approved the farm plan, an appeal on social media resulted in donations of plants, seedlings and manure from residents, Supawut said.

Read the complete article here.

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