Suan Sampran: An Effort for Sustainable and Balanced Livelihood

AKP Phnom Penh, July 12, 2019 —

Traditional and green livelihoods ranging from country hospitality and cuisine with organic ingredients from surrounding farm to workshops of herbal compress and tea, tie dye, and natural insect repellent have been packaged as a fascinate tourism product with increasing popularity within and beyond the border of Thailand.

It is Suan Sam Pran [literally in Thai meaning the garden of forest hunter] that originated from a family’s gardening pastime since 1962 in Nakornpathom province about an hour drive from Bangkok capital.

Among very few Cambodians ever visiting the organic land, AKP reporters had wonderful time touring the garden encompassing 141,640 square-metre home of landscaped gardens of lush tropical trees, colourful flowers and a refreshing, tranquil lake, traditional houses and facilities, as well as other beauties beyond description.

“For the last six years, Suan Sampran is focusing more and more on promoting sustainable organic agriculture for better balanced lives,” said Ms. Chorthip Kanoeythong, a sustainability manager at the garden.

“Environment is being ruined by humans, and we want to contribute to improving this. So, while operating this place as a role model to promote organic living, we are passing on the knowledge to younger generations through engagement of primary school students in various activities and workshops at our centre.”

According to Mr. Pichai Meevaksa – the garden’s Sales-Activities officer – the garden receives an average of 2,000 visitors per months, including primary students form partner state schools, and many provided encouraging feedback for it to keep up the healthy work.

Suan Sampran is currently employing some 400 staffs particularly from local communities and they have not only been inspired to opt for organic way of life, but also trained with necessary knowledge and skills of natural agriculture, cooking, creative food-waste cut, and beyond.

Ms. Wipa Phumthaworn, 48-year-old staff at herbal compress workshop, has been working at the organic garden for nearly six years, and she is so pleased and sees significant value for what she is doing there.

“In my previous workplace, it was an inorganic setting. I got sick very often and was very weak. Since I started working at Suan Sampran, I hardly get sick and am healthy. I learned new skills and I am happy that I can promote the skills among Thai and foreign visitors, including small children,” she shared looking proud of job.

Another staff of the same field but more scientific 42-year-old Ms. Varinthorn Mahanin started her work at Suan Sampran 13 years ago and still find her job inspiring – thanks to the social responsibility and sustainability concept, and various self-improvement opportunity given to her.

She told AKP reporters with permanent smiles that, “Many people died of cancers these days. I am so glad that I can be part of an alternative for healthy life. I have public health background. Here, I can transform my knowledge into something useful for not only Thai but foreigners, such as herbs, soap, and more.”

For Ms. Suchitra Thainui, Mr. Tarin Angskul, Ms. Daran Charuenvong and Ms. Paphamon Arayasukawat – officials at the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT) – it was not their first time visiting Suan Sampran where they can relax and enjoy a wide range of traditional and natural sceneries, foods, livelihoods and handicrafts.

Let alone the stay in antique houses and relaxation in organic spa, major recreational activities at Suan Sampran are designated into three journeys: Organic Rice that includes workshops such as rice farming and processing, clay figurines and coconut rice pancakes; Organic Banana comprising of workshops of plant growth hormones from fermented banana shoots, powder, and banana print making; and Organic Herb mentioned above.

“Sampran is a leading recreational attraction for learning. We received Thailand Award of Excellence for three times, in 2013, 2015 and 2017,” underlined Ms. Chorthip Kanoeythong.

The centre is also cooperating with the Mekong Tourism and pioneering Sampran organic agriculture model with Bliss Foundation through the financing from Thai Health Promotion Foundation and Thailand Research Fund.

Official launch of the model as shared by Ms. Chorthip will be launched in August this year.

By Mc Soleil & Yea Chenda Khantey