Mindful Markets Social Enterprise Course 2018

Towards Sustainable Food Systems

11-23 September 2018, Nakorn Nayok and Bangkok, Thailand

The Mindful Market Social Enterprise Course started at Wongsanit Ashram, located in Nakhon Nayok Province of Thailand. There were 28 people, 5 team members, and 23 participants from Bhutan; China; India; Lao PDR; Myanmar; Taiwan; Thailand; and Vietnam. In 2018, the Mindful Markers Social Enterprise Course Contents are:

  • Module 1: Sharing Vision, Business Model, and Business Guideline
  • Module 2: The 5th Mindful Markets Asia Forum, Mentoring, Lessons learned
  • Module 3: Excursion trip, Social Enterprise Cases in Thailand
  • Module 4: Social Enterprise, Business Plan Presentation and Evaluation

The uniqueness of the course is providing mentoring session and individual work on final business plan presentation.

Mentoring session

The mentoring session was conducted by four guest speakers Dr. Colin Gonsalves (India), Nana Suhartana (Indonesia), Ayumi Matsuura  (Cambodia/Japan), and Gao Wen (China) at Sasa International Hotel of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. The participants of Mindful Markets Social Enterprise Course were divided into four groups with one resource person in each table. After 30 minutes each group rotated to meet with another resource person. There was sharing, discussion, and queries on certain topics, which were discussed in the forum.

At the end of the mentoring session, the speaker from India, Dr. Colin Gonsalves, encouraged all the participants from different countries to start a movement to fight for farmer’s rights, and declare a world war against GMOs, MSG, and Monsanto.

Individual work and Presentation

During the course participants had some afternoon or evening sessions to develop the business plans according to the business guidelines and the input from various resource persons and social enterprise cases. And the last 2 evening sessions, the participants were scheduled and selected for individual (or small group) mentoring sessions with Hans, Wallapa and Michael on their business plan for the final presentation. Each participant/project had a 30 minutes slot to consult with their mentor, and spent personal time to revise the presentation.

Business Plan Presentation and Mentoring

In the presentation session, participants presented their final business plans in a gathering directed by Ms. Kingkorn Narintarakul, Director of BioThai Foundation and a Leader of Food 4 Change Campaign, and Mr. Theerasit Amornsaensuk, Managing Director, Green Net Social Enterprise.

1. Gaia Green Social Enterprise, Myanmar

Nila Minn presented about her social enterprise, which was started in 2013. She started the project to sustain GSMI NGO of Myanmar, to provide a space to sell green vegetables for the farmers because of the unhealthy food sold in the market and due to that consumers have no choice. Gaia Green Social Enterprise has three projects going on- 1. Green Catering Service, 2.Green Shop and 3. Education Centre. The Social Enterprise aims to create a social impact by supporting organic farmers and access to healthy food for the consumers.

2. Suananda, Thailand

Shireen Chansrichavala presented about her project Suananda, a Wellness Retreat and Learning Centre for Yoga and Ayurveda. As the family inherited Indian culture and run a restaurant (Suananda- a homely vegetarian garden café and ayurveda wellness centre l ocated off Silom Rd., Bangkok) the younger generation is now interested and would like to develop a retreat centre in Chiang Mai. The vision of her project is to make Suananda Retreat a place for rejuvenation and reflection on different aspects of the livelihoods. A place to obtain the ultimate bliss (Ananda) internally and externally.

3. Heritage Learning Project, India

Sabin Rongpipi from Karbi Anglong of North-East India presented about her dream project ‘Heritage Learning Project’ to empower the indigenous youth through Holistic education that integrates cultural practices vital to community survival. The vision of her project is to set up community centre to promote self-reliant and sustainable economic practices guided by traditional ecological knowledge. Through her project she wants to create the social impact by bridging the gap of older and younger generations and making a difference by its consistency in providing economically viable alternatives that promotes self- reliance and sustenance.

4. Landmacy Healthcare Tech. and Co., Taiwan

Shanna Chang presented about ‘Landmacy Healthcare Tech. and Co.’ they work with organic farmers or the farmers who rent the forest to them, small farmers as well as traditional craftsmen. They also work out with some biotech companies and experts, and Chinese medical doctors as consultants accordingly.  Landmacy explores in Nature for eco-friendly solutions. They focus on Veggi Nutrition Supplements. They create social impact by creating more jobs and supporting tradtional longan processing culture. 

5.  “Wai Ar Men” Farmer Group, Myanmar

U Bawm Ying Ma Ding from Lashio, Northern Shan State of Myanmar presented about his project implemented in Kho Phate Village in Northern Shan State. The community comes up with self- sufficient local business activities trained by Metta Development Foundation in their ‘Uplands Food Security and Participation in Market’ (UFS-PM) project.  The goal of the farmers’ community is to promote the farmers to become successful in agro-based businesses with sustainable career ownership. Their mission is to enable farmers in an agro-based economy by exploring suitable benefits, to develop small farmers’ market knowledge to make a sustainable community and their vision is to collaborate with groups of small farmers in the region to stand as the sustainable and successful business owners with high social benefits.

6. KongMing Mountain Forest Ecological Community Farm, China

Wei Shan has a land area that measures 533 hectare, located in Yunnan province. 1/3 area of the land Is currently being used for tea, goats, and chickens (KongMing Mountain is one of the six oldest Pu’ur tea production areas near Gadeng Mountain and Mangji Mountain in the tropical forest.) His vision is to create forest living community agriculture, a new way of living with the combination of agriculture and country living. Step by step, to increase biodiversity and type of crop, to build community for people who shared the same vision, to run tea workshop, to duplicate the same model with nearby villages, and to create food forests on 80 % of the land.

7. Plant Right Now, Hong Kong

Tsam Yuet Chan (Carol) presented about her project which is ‘Plant Right Now.’ She wants to associate farmers and customers who keep the same beliefs of promoting organic food in HongKong. Through her project she wants to encourage and form a farmer/ consumer group where they can exchange and organize workshops between them. Her project will help support the people of Hong Kong to have a more healthy, happy and environmentally friendly living style in the city.

8. Healthy Food for Family, China

Ming Zhang presented about agricultural production problem that is polluting the mother river of Chengdu. Therefore, the project aims to target consumers who care deeply about food safety and environmental protection. She wants to provide customers with safe produce and Improve farmer’s Income. They project will Implement the CSA System and along the way the group will work on quality control, and transportation and service Improvement. It will also Involve the farmers telling their stories. They have further plans to make more local products, increase their farmers market fairs and consumer activities.

9. Metta Yake Kaw Paran Village, Myanmar

Nu Mai Dun Hpau presented about Metta Development Foundation’s Initiative called, ‘Metta Yake Kaw Paran Village’ at Mon State of Myanmar. The problem of Mon State is the unemployment of rural weavers. They don’t have good market for the product of local weavers, lack of knowledge in marketing and promoting, and lack of product development.  Through their initiative they encourage the local weavers by giving seed funds to start up, also by giving Business Assessment Workshops and taking weavers on excursion trips to learn about the marketing methods of other weavers.

10. GroundWorks, Hong Kong

Man Yee Wong presented about GroundWorks Social Enterprise which works to rebuild sustainable food system and support community products in Hong Kong. GroundWorks aims to provide healthy food and eco- friendly products to customers with reasonable price by providing homemade seasonal food without additives, to support local farmers through selling and processing of seasonal fruits and vegetables by connecting producers and consumers, and to employing women and elderly woman for community production.

11. OUR Project, Vietnam

Thien Quach presented about his dream project, ‘OUR Project: an enterprise and educational center for ecology, education and international exchange toward Well-being Society”. OUR Project aims at empowering young local people to take their own initiatives to solve their community’s problems and creating a sustainable and well-being society through means of Education, Agriculture, Tourism and Collaboration in a supportive ecosystem

12. Alin Ein Development Organization, Myanmar

Lin Waa Htet Nu San presented about her Social Enterprise, ‘Alin Ein Development Organisation.’ Their mission is to create organic market for small farmers and producers and to organize farmers to practice the organic way on their farms. The social impact they want to create is by encouraging all the people for healthy food and healthy life. Through their project, 20 farmers are making their living without any debt and get regular income.

13. Mustard Honey Project, Bhutan

Purna Chapagai from College for Natural Resources (CNR) presented about his dream project of creating a market place for Mustard Honey from Tsirang, Bhutan. The uniqueness of Mustard flavored Honey from Bhutan is totally pure and organic, it has spicy sweet flavor and a synergistic medicinal value. His vision is to encourage the local knowledge and ecology of rural community of Bhutan to develop quality products and build their economic strength. The mission is to develop the community of Tsirang as amodel of sustainable development with ‘ Tsirang Mustard Honey.’

14. Nurtureland, China

Jiazi Ding presented about their social enterprise and agricultural school in China, Nurtureland Sustainable Agricultural Development Center, dedicated to develop and spread sustainable agriculture. It was founded in December 2014 in Guangzhou City in China. Their mission includes to get involved in the transformation of farms or farmers to boost their mastery in techniques, reduce external inputs, introduce a series of sustainable farming methods from the perspective of theory to technique and to achieve natural agriculture or be ecologically rational. The vision is to make organic farming mainstream and share quality of life with everybody.

15. Natural Soap and Supply, Lao PDR

Thepphasne Chanthavong presented about the project, ‘Natural Soap and Supply’ under the Rural Development Agency. The vision of this project is to be a model agency that inspires and empowers women in rural communities, to promote hygiene in rural areas, to empower women, and to generate income. This project will support villagers in 50 villages to improve their hygiene and livelihood by providing knowledge and skills development on soap making to women group; the soap can be used in the family and sold in the market.

16. Young Organic Farmer, China

Yinlin Farm, China: Rui Guo presented about his Yinlin farm. Rui is from a rural area of China called Guangzho. In the year 2013, he returned back from the city after completing his graduation from China Agricultural University. He operates 3-hectare farm and grows organic fruits and vegetables. He started his farm by initially growing vegetables in the conventional way on his farm. He eventually realized that chemicals harm the lands and produce unhealthy food. With the support of Nurtureland, he started emphasizing growing vegetables more in an organic way. He encountered a lot of problems in the initial stage that includes, pest controls, diversification of products and sales and team building. But after 5 years his production started to normalize, and currently he has a team of 11 people. He has a stable sales channel. Although his farm is still in loss, he has a full faith in his farm and will continue his journey of organic farming.

Zheng Farm, China:  Xue Zhi Zheng started his farm because of his love for nature. He has no agricultural background. He started with a tree nursery business in Hainan. He started to see the short coming of the rural area, and low education, wants to improve the living condition, change the living condition, revitalize the countryside. In 2010, ‘poison bean’ caused him to consider the organic farming, and he decided to switch from the tree nursery business to fruit tree business. He learned about organic farming by reading books. He avoids the usage of chemical fertilizers, pesticide, and grass killing herbicides to protect the land.

17. Rural Youth Network, Taiwan

Ting-Jin Chen from Chi-Mei Community University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan presented about the Rural Youth Network, with the vision are to inherit local knowledge, solve the problems of rural population, and to sustain rural living by working on inspiring and motivating courses, sharing good stories, introducing best practices of Social Enterprise, and study trips in the villages for national community colleges and farmer associations. 

18. Eco- Retreat and Learning Home, Lao PDR

Amphavanh Sisouvanh presented about the retreat center that is run by her family. Her team includes her sisters, mother and brother-in-law who have mastered in different fields. Their aim is to be a model for ecological, sustainable, self- reliant living that can create inspiration and be an example for people in Laos and help change in their behavior to include organic farming, agro-forestry and waste management in their life styles. They are partnering with Rural Development Agency and Faculty of Architect, University of Laos.

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