Since last year we have been hosting a small number of volunteers, who generally work with us for three weeks or more in small groups or sometimes alone, here is what some of them have to say about their stay with us.
Thu from Hanoi
WWOOFing in Mae Mut Garden is one of the greatest decisions I have ever made in my life. I spent 3 weeks doing volunteer here and it turned out into the highlight of my Thailand trip. Marco and Nok are really sweet, genuine and caring hosts. They made me feel at home right at the first day, which is beyond my expectation. Staying here, I had chances to learn not only about organic farm which is quite new to me, but also about authentic Thai cultures and local people. I was privileged to work with local staffs, exchange languages, to be welcome by local people, to be invited to a Thai wedding, play with the kids and to be taken to some sightseeing… Read more
Molly from San Francisco
I worked at Maemut Garden for three weeks during the dry season. I am so happy to have spent my time in Thailand with these good people, learning a lot about tropical trees and growing with a permaculture focus. And of course, eating some wonderful food! Marco, Nok and baby Serena are amazing farm hosts. I’ve worked on other wwoof farms in the past in US and Asia and what is most striking to me with Maemut is that they really make an effort for you to contribute based on your skills and interests. If you come with a willing and helpful spirit, wanting to work wherever work is needed, you will gain a great deal from your experience here. And the beautiful surroundings are such a pleasant sight to live and work amongst that, like me, you might have a hard time leaving!
Sammy and Tommy from Omaha
This is the home we were staying at for 3 weeks near Chiang Mai. Today, we left the farm. It was bittersweet to leave, we learned so much and we are so thankful for Marco, Nok, Peehom and Serena! They are grateful for the work we did as well. Nok and Peehom taught me how to cook Thai food. I could hardly handle a knife and now I am a pro. We were gardening, composting, planting, and weeding. Tommy built some amazing structures from bamboo. He even made a bamboo flute! The other volunteers, Peter and Will quickly became our best friends. There were so many laughs shared. It was an experience I will never forget – I feel like a new woman! Thank you Mae Mut Garden, forever in my heart.
Steph and Phil from Portland
Mae Mut Garden was the first farm we stayed on our six-month WWOOF Thailand adventure. We felt then, and we certainly believe now, that we couldn’t have picked a better place to begin. When we rumbled onto the property, we looked at each other and thought, “This must be paradise!” There are flowers and trees and blooms and leaves; everywhere you look, something is growing. Little did we know, as we plunged headlong into our six-week stay in this organic food forest, how much we ourselves would grow from our involvement in it. As resourceful and responsible as the ecological setup of the Garden is, though, truly the real inspiration for us was the people who live here and the daily household life into which they welcomed us. Marco, Nok, Pii Hom, the always educational Serena, the entire staff, and the menagerie of animals are up there with the kindest and most sincere beings we’ve met. Read more
Will from NY
I arrived at Mae Mut Garden on a Sunday afternoon expecting little, and ready for anything. I was so fortunate to have ended up at the home of Marco, Nok, and Serena. Mae Mut proved to be more beautiful, generous, comfortable, and engaging than I could have expected. Sharing the preparation and enjoyment of meals with the family and other volunteers every day came to feel like a family affair. I hoped to learn a little bit about farming and permaculture, as well as learning more about building with wood and mud. Fortunately I could do this here, working with people from the village and other volunteers on the adobe house. And although we couldn’t speak the same language we were able to work side by side, communicate, and enjoy each others company. Other than the work I did, I also learned a lot just from seeing how this permaculture home/farm functions on a daily basis- so many little things, that add up to a place full of life. My experience at Mae Mut Garden was so rich and deep, from the tangible skills needed to contribute to the farm to the connections with the landscape and village I was living in. I am truly grateful to the village of Mae Mut, the Tosi family, and the land they live on. It was hard to leave, and in my months of travel afterwards I often thought to myself that I should have stayed. Never was I shown more hospitality and welcoming in to a community.
Grace from Manila.
My first woofing is at Maemut garden and I must say, it has been an experience of a lifetime. After being tossed out of my motorbike and being admitted in the hospital for stitches, my ability to work was very limited. Momentarily handicapped, Marco and his family took me in and gave me the opportunity to contribute, being considerate of my condition, interests and skills. His lovely wife, Nok, took care of me during more than 2 weeks of healing while I’m studying some natural farming techniques and baby sitting their beautiful daughter, Serena. During my stay I was able to learn different fermentation techniques in producing bio fertilizers, an alternative to chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in conventional farming that have been destroying the natural balance of our ecosystem. I realized how much we could do with as simple as household waste to recycle it back from its natural origin. We all know the simple equation where science works its way around, that input=output. In our era today, we are generating more output every year and Mother Nature is struggling hard to keep up with all our demands and waste. In Maemut garden, I also learned to cook thai food, a little bit of grafting and gardening, talked to a couple of villagers, made new friends and definitely had fun! Great people with superb hospitality, good food, scenic landscape, and a healthy environment, I am truly blessed on my first month in Chiang Mai. I will forever be grateful to Marco, Nok, Serena, Pi Hom, Aaron, Nong Nam, Proi, Nick and Pam. Mae Mut garden is a place where you’d always want to come back and would be difficult to leave.
Wang from Harbin, China
Didi from Nice, France
I spent three weeks at the Maemut Garden. It was the last stage of my research travel about permaculture in North-Thailand and Laos and it was a delight to stay there as a conclusion of my trip. I found very impressive and inspiring to see how much has been done in the garden since Marco and Nok have begun, because of their great willness to try, to experience, to do and to go for it! Both are always ready to tell you a lot about what they know and have learned by doing, what I’ve also really appreciated. I’ve acquiered more knowledge and practice about compost, rotation crops, taking care of young trees, making a natural insect repellant, mulching and improving the soil and the Thaï staff even teached me how to harvest the rice.
The work with the other brilliant volunteers and the lovely Pihom was highly pleasant and the time with the family very agreeable. Marco uses to share a lot about what he thinks, with a great analytical and critical mind. He told us many things about traditional Thaï self-sufficiency and the swindle of the permaculture’s business and I very liked his funny, humble and honest way to share with us. During my stay we also went to the village for a festival and visited a Karen farm, two fantastic expeditions to discover the Thaï culture and people. I’ll keep very sweet memories of the cooking and evenings all together, the wonderful view of the mountains in the morning light from the volunteer house, the human warmth and the beautiful feeling to work together in the hot Thaï sun, contributing to a admirable way of life.
I spent a little over 2 weeks volunteering at Mae Mut Garden and it was an incredible experience. I learned so much about living a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle in rural Thailand, graciously hosted by Marco, Nok, Serena, Pee Hom, and all the other lovely folks on the farm and in the village.
On the farm, I did everything from making cow manure tea to weeding peanuts, from stomping in a pit of red clay mud to pruning mulberry trees. In the afternoons, we walked to rivers and waterfalls, went into the village, or visited the elephants nearby. In addition, we participated in local traditions like giving alms to the monks on New Year’s and climbing the highest shrine in Thailand with basically the entire village. And of course, the food was amazing! It was a very homestay-like and authentic experience, and I felt safe, comfortable, and welcomed by everyone. I gained new practical skills as well as a deeper understanding about what it means to live simply, sustainably, and self-sufficiently. I wish I could have stayed longer– thank you Mae Mut Garden!
Sam from Wisconsin
I lived and worked at Mae Mut Garden for almost two months in December and January. I came to Thailand hoping for a place where I could immerse myself in a new culture and a sustainable lifestyle. I could not have imagined a better place to accomplish this.
I gained an incredible amount of knowledge during my stay at Mae Mut. I learned about compost pile creation and organic pesticides from Marco, spicy and aromatic northern Thai dishes from Nok, mud brick making from Suphan and the gang, as well as gardening techniques and many Thai words and phrases from Pee Hom. I was able to participate in some really amazing cultural experiences as well, including the blessing of a local crematorium and a New Year’s hike with 200 people to a mountain top shrine. Even more importantly than all the skills I learned and the experiences I had, I gained some wonderful friends. Mae Mut and the surrounding area became a home for me and I can wholeheartedly say I hope to return some day.
The Burton family from Brisbane
Mae Mut Garden is a fantastic place for families. We were lucky to spend a month there in June 2015 and will always treasure the experience. Our children are 11 and 9 and they had a fantastic time on the farm, Serena became like a little sister to them and Nok a caring mother figure. The children loved the jobs of feeding the fish daily and keeping Serena entertained (she loves hide and seek!) .
Darren and I really enjoyed working alongside Pe Hom in the extensive veggie garden, helping Nok in the kitchen and around the food forest. We really love what Marco and Nok are doing with their little slice of heaven and anyone who is wishing to immerse themselves in Thai culture will have a great time there.
You may even earn yourself the privilege of helping Marco make bread and pizza, and get to enjoy the spoils! Truly some of the best bread and pizza I have ever had!
We really miss the whole extended family at Mae Mut Garden and are looking forward to returning again on our way home to Australia from Europe.
Darren, Eleanor, Chloe and Corey Burton
Kate and Mark from Sunshine Coast QLD
After completing Mae Mut Garden amazing natural building course, we decided to stay on for another few weeks after discovering the integrity and love of land Marco and Nok have.
During our time volunteering we worked on the following projects, which were all focused around our areas of interest and skill: All aspects of Mud brick building and glass bottle wall construction; Pineapple forest creation; Asparagus plot maintenance; Composting and natural fertilisers; Pruning weeding and fertilising the fruit forest; Thai cooking.
Together we have three environmental degrees between us and the hands on knowledge and experience we gained from volunteering at Mae Mut has opened up exponential opportunities in the realms of permaculture, natural building and incorporating and sharing sustainability in our daily lives.
From being greeted by the majestic views of the valley from the wooden house to digging clay for mortar to use for construction, to learning about fertiliser teas and making natural cleaners, and breaking bread and those ‘philosophical’ evening conversations, we are deeply honoured to have been accepted as volunteers.
Most importantly, Marco, Nok, Serena, P’Hom, and all of the other beautiful souls that bring life to Mae Mut welcomed us and shared with us a moment in time within their little slice of permaculture bliss!
With gratitude and thanks… We’ll see you all again