Civil society organizations: Farmer organization
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Mr. Bounphieng Lee, Lee 7 Farm organic farmer
Lee 7 Farm is a family farm, started by three out of seven Lee’s brothers in 2014. Raised in a farm, Bounphieng Lee, an English teacher who worked for ten years in the tourist sector in Luang Prabang, decided to go back to farming and purchased a land with two of his brothers. At first, the products of the farm would feed the family but soon Bounphieng came out with ideas to realise his farm’s potential. He started approaching restaurants and hotels in Luang Prabang to sell the vegetables he woud grow during the dry season and and launched an original activity: Khao poon (rice noodles) traditional making. This organic farm of 2 ha is mainly made of rice field; only a few square meters are dedicated to vegetables and fruit trees. On the remaining area are the farm premises where stand the equipment to process the rice and transform it into rice noodles.
In Lee 7 Farm rice is grown without any chemicals and a buffalo is used for ploughing. There are two seasons of rice and in the dry season a high diversity of vegetables grows along some fruit trees.
Bounphieng grows five types of rice that can be harvested at different times, which ease the harvesting work. Depending on the season, local as well as western vegetables can be found. Sourcing western vegetable seeds can be very challenging. Indeed, good quality organic seeds are not available on the local market. Another challenge is to acclimatize the western vegetables to new conditions.
One of Lee 7 Farm’s mission is to promote traditional knowledge and lifestyle and to educate youth, professionals and tourists about rice farming and processing. The farm collaborates with schools in Laos and in other countries such as Singapore or Australia. Students are encouraged to learn about sustainable agriculture and get involved in the daily farming activities.
Lee 7 Farm is a good example of self-sufficient farm, producing what it needs for household consumption especially rice and fish.