PYO Vegetables at Bangkok’s New Farm
An urban community farm project for Bangkokians
by Amy Poulton
I pick a basket off the post and duck under the green vines-entangled archways—bursts of purple butterfly pea blooms and ballooning pumpkins. Laid out between neat rows of lettuce and cabbage is an Alice-in-Wonderland hopscotch pathway that leads to bushes of reddening and yellowing peppers, and to a wooden sign buried in the ground labelled, ‘zucchini.’
Examining the legumes, some engorged and others still growing, I select the perfect one which makes a crisp crunch when plucked from the plant. Birds hop and dance on the ground as I place the courgette in the basket and straighten myself before heading to the chicken coop. The sun is going down and everything smells green.
Did I mention that this is in central Bangkok?
Chul Farm at T77 is the capital’s most recently opened and unlikely green space, located between BTS On Nut and Phra Khanong. It brings rural and organic living to the T77 community and the city’s population in general.
“My grandfather was originally from Bangkok but loved agriculture. He moved to Phetchabun to start his own farm,” explains Jongsarid Cunvong, CEO of Chul Farm and head of the farm’s new project at T77. “Last year we were approached by Sansiri (the real estate developers behind T77) to bring Chul Farm to Bangkok and thought it was a good opportunity to show how green space can go together with city living; opening a green space next to a community, so that people can learn about the food they eat and be inspired.”
The farm officially opened in late December 2019. The timing couldn’t have been better as Thailand’s supermarkets and 7-Eleven stores announced the ban of single-use plastic bags, starting 1st of January 2020, after increased demand from consumers conscious about plastic waste.
“In the past two to three years, more people have become aware of plastic packaging, organic food and environmental topics—they are ready to follow and join the movement,” Cunvong agrees. “Our mission is ‘Way to Happiness,’ which includes three things: health, quality of life and the environment.”
These values are certainly present at Chul Farm at T77, which isn’t just about growing organic produce, but also providing opportunities for visitors to learn about the food they consume and enjoy themselves in the process.
The self-harvest is a fun novelty for city folks as well as a zero-waste option for those who don’t need or want unnecessary packaging. The ‘egg hunt’ is playful and appeals to children; while the melon carving activity is all about patience, understanding of growth and appreciation of the time and effort it takes to grow plants well. In the latter activity, visitors carve a pattern into, or write onto the skin of a growing melon, then wait three to four weeks for it to expand to its full size before it’s sent to the visitor’s home—the polar opposite of the convenience of ordering a meal via Grab or FoodPanda, and more personal, too.
Chul Farm is also a partner of the neighbouring Sansiri Backyard, a café where visitors can buy the farm’s organic products. They can tuck into snacks and dishes made with the organic ingredients grown next door and enjoy a healthy meal outside in the whimsical garden.
If you’re looking for a (literal) breath of fresh air in the city centre, head to Chul Farm at Sansiri Backyard T77.