Firstly, I would like to thank The Mekong Organics, the Research Centre for Rural Development (RCRD) of An Giang University and Tam Viet Farm for this opportunity to participate in the 2019 Rural Leaders Training Program at Asian Rural Institute (ARI).
Dr Nguyen Van Kien (Director of RCRD of An Giang University) has visited Tam Viet Farm – home of the natural, non-pesticide model of rice cultivation on 2017. Afterwards, Dr Kien offered Tam Viet Farm to be a partner of the RCRD network and introduce our farm to the ARI Training Program. As a Tam Viet farm employee, I myself as Le Thu Hien, was given the opportunity to represent for Mr. Vo Van Tieng, the founder and leader of Tam Viet Farm, to participate in the ARI Training Program. I am looking forward to connecting and exploring organic farming in all aspects (farm management, organic farming practices and so on) with a view to contributing to the development the local and national agriculture in my home country – Vietnam.
Located in Tochigi, Japan, Asian Rural Institute (ARI) trains grassroots rural leaders who live and work in their native communities, regardless of nationality, race, religious beliefs, gender, or age. The aim of this training is to facilitate the self-development of rural people, in order to build a more just and peaceful society. The training is deeply practically-oriented: Participants learn through classroom lectures, discussions and study tours, then put this learning into their own agricultural activities including managing their own fields and rice paddies, raising livestock, leading committees, and organizing marketing events. The ARI community is almost completely self-sufficient, with more than 90 percent of the food consumed coming from its own campus.
After a week at the training program, I and the other 23 participants (from Combodia, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Myanmar, Philipines, Sierra Leone, Uganda) as well as 09 volunteers from America, Africa and Asia has come to ARI to live and work together. We share our own stories and represent our nations. I feel very proud when my foreign friends compliment the Ao Dai of Vietnamese, as well as the magnificent, diverse landscapes and the abundant food culture in my country.
At ARI, I feel belonged to a home where everyone is open, thoughtful and caring towards one another. We do exercises, cleaning the place, doing farm work, cooking, eating and washing up together. To me, language is not a barrier to communication at all, because the hearts that truly open can be connected without much difficulty. Here at ARI house, the slogan “That we may live together” can be seen anywhere, in every activity and every house member.
Being given this opportunity, I hope that more people from Vietnam and other countries will have this valuable chance to come to ARI to learn about agriculture and international friendship. People who hope to be awarded this opportunity can learn about the program via the website http: / /www.ari-edu.org/en/
Once again, I would like to thank ARI, RCRD & Tam Viet Farm for this precious opportunity. After graduating from Rural Leaders Training Program, I would like to use the knowledge and inspiration from the farm to keep Tam Viet farm on the right path, that is, to protect the native wildlife on the farm and protect the values of Vietnamese rice – it is also the vision of Tam Viet Farm from the beginning to build a good society. This vision starts first with producing a source of clean food for families and consumers and then with a stable income and developable career for farmers.
This material is written by Le Thu Hien, Tam Viet Farm