Cool guesthouse is turning to be an urban Permaculture in the heart of the old city in Chiang Mai.
From the very beginning Nathalie and me was very concern about being green and having a low impact from our operations. We opted for reducing the plastic use and we have only glass bottled water, bulk dispenser for soap and shampoo. Also we use low energy bulbs everywhere and are changing for LED actually. All rooms have a card acting as a switch cutting electricity when guest are not here. There is one common fridge to offers free and unlimited water. We are doing our own mosquitoes repellent based on local plants 100% natural and cleaning the kitchen daily with white vinegar. We are offering 10 bicycles to be used freely by our guest and this from day one ! A good occasion to discover the old city of Chiang Mai without polluting.
We source our food from locals market and locals artisans mainly and as much as it’s possible.
We also promote a green attitude to our guest asking to show by themselves the need to change towels and bed linen.
But after 6 years operating Cool Guesthouse it wasn’t enough.
As I studied Permaculture with Geoff Lawton and actually engaged in studying Master Degree program with Gaia University in Integrative Eco-Social Design and as my wife study also Permaculture with me we decided a year ago to turn Cool Guesthouse in an urban Permaculture in all its aspects.
- Care of the earth
- Care of the human
- Fair Share and return of surplus to the first two ethics
We like to define Permaculture like this:
Permaculture is a conscious design process that aims to create regenerative and resilient Eco-systems both natural and social.
We also said sometimes that Permaculture is a science or Permaculture is all about design.
- we are changing most of our plants and trees by edible or medicinal ones, still long road to do
- we setup 5 wicking beds one have a huge banana trees that perform very well
- we setup a rising bed and plants papaya, 5 different species of banana trees, cacao, white radish, moringa…
- we are composting in 3 different way: vermicompost, traditional Berkley style compost and starting Bokashi soon to recycle most of the food scrap from the kitchen
- we have a well and not using water from the city anymore
- we aim to restart our black flies soldiers colony after failing with the first one
- we need to finish our laundry grey water recycling system to water the whole garden and fill the water tank for the toilet, pumps are solar powered
- we need to finish our vermiponics system, it’s a mix between hydroponics and aquaponics using worm and compost tea pumps are solar powered. This will be our main food source providing intensive vegetable production in a small surface.
- we have a conical tank to brew compost tea in a correct way with the right ratio of bacteria
- we need more vertical gardens as our space is very limited
- we need to do an acquisition of a microscope to analyze the compost tea (we have the training about, now need to practice it)
- we need to make our own cleaning product for the laundry, the general cleaning and also soap and shampoo
Permaculture as an eco social vector
On a social Permaculture way we are changing the style to manage our company and use sociocracy as a participatory decision making process and it works! We have a weekly meeting and talks about how, we, the workers of Cool Guesthouse, can be agents of change.
Regularly 1 to 2 times a month we organize meetings about different topics in Thai and English: what is Permaculture?, sociocracy, permaculture exchange and more… (keep aware in this facebook group). People from outside are welcome to attend.
Each year from 2014, we are celebrating the International Permaculture Day on May, Permaculture friends and curious about it are welcome.
We also participate as co-organizer to the Thailand Permaculture Convergence. I’m part of the International Permaculture Conference and Convergence as council member.
Cool Guesthouse support Permaculture Children’s House a Thai foundation bringing global sustainable life solutions educating children all around the world by creating a network and a framework blending Montessori teaching and Permaculture education for children. The first class open end of July 2016.
And that’s not finish, we aim to be a demonstration site about urban Permaculture in Chiang Mai, providing advises and education.
If you want to visit us as a daily visitor, we open everyday from 7am to 2pm (sunday close at 12 noon). Please understand that we can not take you to a tour unless you email us asking for it, we are sensitive to small donation to follow our Permaculture community development in Thailand as it’s our goal. We have a small coffee shop and breakfast restaurant where you can enjoy our cooking.
If you want to short stay with us, you can book a room. Again we can arrange for a small tour of modestly what we have already done and share about our vision, please just ask us a bit in advance to be available by email when you make your booking here.
We are looking for interns and volunteers to help us in this tasks. People with handy skills are the right to apply as we are DIY minded and very well equipped: all cuttings tools wood and steel, MIG and ARC welder, plasma cutter, all tools for constructions, plumbing, electricity and DIY gears. We can teach PDC, Permaculture Design Course and give a certificate.
We have some conditions for medium stay (from 2 weeks to 2 months, volunteers) and long stay (over 2 months, interns). Please send us your inquiry by email.
Thank you and everyday we can be an agent of change, just change your behavior ! Xavier and Nathalie
This post is also available in: French