GROW CAMBODIA is a social initiative to temporarily re-train 5 unemployed hotel workers to plant multi-vegetable gardens with fish and chickens on 5,000 m2 of UNUSED land. It can feed several hundred for a year.
Siem Reap, Cambodia: This is the major tourist destination in S.E. Asia, home to Angkor Wat. Since the Covid lockdown worldwide, tourism has come to a standstill.
Tens of thousands are out of work. With families to feed. And there are no stimulus checks, unemployment benefits or cash bailouts. People are beginning to lose their motorbikes and houses – unable to keep up with their micro-loan payments.
In times like these, food security is the most important factor that keeps people’s heads above water. Without it, life becomes bleaker.
GROW CAMBODIA is a social initiative that will temporarily re-train 5 unemployed hotel workers to learn to plant multi-vegetable gardens with small complements of fish and chickens - on UNUSED Land that is being donated for this purpose for 1 year.
5 student farmers will plant on 5,000 square meters (1/2 hectare or 1.3 acres) – enough to feed 300 people for that period. To this end, the French NGO, AGRISUD (agrisud.org), will teach, train and follow through to completion, in conjunction with The Green Farmer’s Association, a local group of seasoned, experienced farmers.
Training, tools, resources, seeds, fencing etc. will run 5525 USD for this period. A full budget outline is included in the slideshow above after the video.
The first 5 students have been chosen and are committed to follow through their 3 month course, planting and harvest. They are tuk tuk drivers, housekeepers and receptionists.
Several hotels have already asked us if they can buy their produce from us, which would offset transportation costs to the garden.This is not, however, a business initiative. It is intended now to simply feed people that need it. At the 3 month mark, it will become necessary for it to become somewhat sustainable to keep 2+ gardeners to continue the garden onwards.
Tourism here is dead. It will not return anytime soon, and this is an opportunity to get people to pivot their skill set, teach others and produce food simultaneously when people need it most.
Rafael Winer is a photographer/filmmaker shooting development stories for non-profits in Cambodia and SE Asia. He covers food security, de-mining, deforestation, tourism, climate change and agriculture for such entities as the U.N., Aus Aid, iDE, USAID, CARE, CARDO and Handicap Int'l.
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