Mindful Markets Social Enterprise Course 2017

9 September 2017, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

TOA is focusing on a holistic and integrated approach to organic agriculture as not only a food production system, but that encompasses the interdependencies between agriculture and local cultures, self-sufficiency,sustainable livelihoods, climate resilience, food and seed sovereignty. We are working to promote organic agriculture as the heart of global transformation.

“We need to bring organic out of the niche into the mainstream and position organic as art of multiple solutions needed to solve the tremendous challenges faced by our planer and our species”

                                                            Mathew John, member of IFOAM World Board and
founder of the Keysotne Foundation, India

As a space to learn and share experiences among people who are interested in the topic, the public, partners and TOA Team, the 2nd Mindful Markets Social Enterprise Course was opened and it had been engaging 25 people including 11 males and 14 females from 10 countries((Bhutan, China, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and Thailand).
Participants participated both classroom discussion and excursion trip to learn about food system, triple bottom line concept, various social enterprise models, economic viability, and business planning and mentoring.

Mindful Markets Social Enterprise Course 4 Modules:

Module OneMindful Markets Asia Forum. This Forum now in the 4th year, welcomes a diversity of speakers and participants to share their stories as producers, consumers and social entrepreneurs, exploring the Mindful Markets approach.

Module TwoVision and Practice – Participants share and develop their social enterprise vision and concept.  A number of experienced and successful social entrepreneurs come to share about their work, the challenges they have faced,how they have succeeded, and their visions forward. 

Module ThreeLearning Journey.  In this module we travel to see and meet social enterprises in action, learning in more detail how they are operated and managed, both in the rural (producers) and urban (consumers) context. With different sizes, scale, products, and services,we gain quite a broad exposure on different possible paths and success factors.

Module FourBusiness Plan Realization and Presentation. With mentoring support from the Mindful Markets Social Enterprise team and guest experts, the participants will be assisted to develop a strong and striking presentation of their social enterprise concept and activities.

Course Output: Business Plan Presentation and Mentoring

This is the final session for the participants to present their concepts in a gathering directed by Mr. Theerasith Amornsaensook from Earth Net Foundation,Mr. Santi Khunpisittawong from SVN and Mrs. Kwak Keum-Soonfrom Hansalim

Taejai.com: Ms. Duangtip Kraisiridej and Ms. Orakarn Suttiwerawatfrom Change Fusion, Thailand presented their model of crowd funding in the name of taejai.com, a crowd funding platform, founded by Change Fusion and Khon Thai foundation. The website targets to help supporting the social projects in various issues such as environment, education, health, etc.

They wish to create awareness among consumers on organic foods, as well as will be involved in crowd funding to farmers to convert from conventional farming to organic farming, which will concentrate on capacity building of farmers, organic inputs support and their basic living cost during the transition phase. The transition process to an organic farming needs support in several ways such as the organic farming knowledge and skills, the solidarity of the group, funds, etc.

Tsirang Organic seed production: Mr. Amber Bahadur Subba from Bhutan presented his model of organic seed production which he is currently doing in Bhutan. He wishes to preserve the traditional seed diversity of Bhutan and make them available again to farmers throughout Bhutan. We will help the small-scale farmers of Tsirang to have good livelihood as organic seed producers.

Revival of indigenous cotton: Mr. Swaminathan from Sahaja Samrudha from India presented his model of reviving the indigenous cotton in India. Cultivation of genetic modified cotton has led to several disaster sowing to crop failures, which in turn led to farmer suicides.

To get rid of this pathetic situation, his group is involved in promoting cultivation of indigenous cotton in rain fed tracts,which are highly drought resistant varieties, thereby establishing the seed sovereignty and increasing the net income of the farmers.

Eco-Social Enterprise: Ms.Thu Zar Khaing from Myanmar presented her concepts on We Love Inle Project, which is the local youth social enterprise.The Project is focusing on Café and natural products (water hyacinth handicrafts and tomato candy). Inle Lake is the second largest lake and it’s one of the top tourist destinations in Myanmar. Environmental degradation and climate change are the issues that the youth led group – Nololainmaomay or We Love Inle- are passionate with.  

The social enterprise project is working on setting up the café, which is run by the local youth, and strengthen the skills of local community members on producing and selling the natural products.

Sustainable Ecological Ethical Development Foundation: Ms. Lua Lai Kwan Jessica from Hong Kong suggested a model which addresses the needs of the consumers (for healthy food), youngsters are willing to do farming but do not have lands and knowledge.

Her model includes a team which involves an IT team, customer services which handle enquiries and complaints, marketing and sales, logistics, training and inspection, education such as Farm tours, Farm Experience, Research team. Through this, Jessica wishes to establish a model,which relies on local resources instead of imported materials.

New Life Peanut Oil, Metta Development Foundation: Mr. Francis from Myanmar stated that Peanut Oil is in high demand in Myanmar. Most of the available stocks are imported ones which are not pure and organic. This leads to health problems with consumers. Farmers also are not paid a fair price for their product.As a solution to this, Francis is involved in the promotion of cultivation of peanuts in Myanmar itself organically and he is also involved in processing and selling the peanut oil in the brand name “New life”.

Nurture Land (Cheng Cheng Farm): Mr. Mintao Liu from China presented that the farm is located on Chen Zhou, in Hu Nan province. It contains orange trees mostly. He started maintaining his farm in an ecological way. His project includes capacity building of co-villagers in eco-agriculture and waste management in ecological way. The products of Nurtureland ranged from organic orange, orange jam, orange juice, dried orange and Ecotourism.

He established this model in his farm by including the nearby farmers. Once this mission is successful he will invest some parts of the profit for education of rural children.

Building a young farmer Network: Ms. Peng Yueli from China described that youngsters resign their jobs and return to countryside with a motto of pursuing agriculture and to cultivate their own food for a healthy living.Apart from agriculture the youngsters are also interested in alternative buildings and other sustainable ways of living.

As of now there is no one to guide them,Nurture land will do the job of guiding them based on their interests and to make them as trainers, they in turn will be involved in training the newcomers.

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