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Self Sustainability and Covid19

What new hobbies have you picked up while remaining at home in self-quarantine? 

Research by a U.S. culture website indicates that some of the most popular hobbies picked up during the coronavirus outbreak include reading, working out, yoga, and baking. But a new wave of home gardeners has also emerged. Interest in gardening and farming is experiencing a boom among people around the world and is one of the more positive trends to emerge from this crippling pandemic.

People around the world are turning to gardening as a soothing, family friendly
hobby that also eases concerns over food security as lockdowns slow the
harvesting and distribution of some crops. Fruit and vegetable seed sales are
jumping worldwide.” (

The number of people wanting to grow their own food, become more self-sufficient, healthy and sustainable has increased substantially during the pandemic. It has also highlighted how reliant many of us are on imported foods – including fruit and vegetables. 

In Australia, plant nurseries around the country are reporting a significant increase in vegetable seed sales. Andrew Clark, a nursery owner in Tasmania said, 

The seedling area and vegetables have been completely depleted over the
weekend and we’ve sold in a week what we typically sell over a month.
Consumers are certainly showing more interest in self-sufficient gardening,
and they’re also looking at projects to keep them busy if there are further
lockdown regulations.”

But unlike this new wave of ‘hobby’ gardeners, ZOE’s agriculture team has been sowing into the goal of self-sustainability in Thailand for many years now. Well before anyone could imagine a time of lock-down, closed international borders and a worldwide pandemic, planning and preparation began for several self-sustainability projects that are now proving to be very significant in terms of satisfying the food needs of our Thai families. 

Our self-sustainability program sits on a 35-acre property and includes a fish farm, water conservation, organic vegetable gardens, green houses, mushroom and garlic huts, cornfields, a rice warehouse, pig farm, and many fruit trees. 

One of the greatest benefits of moving towards self-sufficient living is that it has reduced ZOE’s operating costs. Growing some of our own food is just one way that we can help save money and is important because it has direct implications for ZOE’s ability to independently meet the dietary needs of those for whom we care, regardless of external circumstances. 

As a foundation, we are prohibited from creating a for-profit enterprise. This means everything we grow is for our personal consumption only. To create variety in our diets, we grow smaller crops and vary what we grow. Our staff and children prefer eating our personally-grown food because it’s organic and we harvest everything at the peak of ripeness.

In this time of uncertainty, ZOE Thailand’s self-sustaining projects have been a huge blessing! We have approximately one year’s worth of stored rice for our ZOE family and six months’ worth of stored corn to feed our pigs. Our pig and fish farms have produced all the protein needed. Our two water reservoirs have helped keep our agricultural projects going so that our fruit and vegetables can provide essential vitamins and minerals. Both our green house and aquaponic farm provide environments for growing vegetables in Thailand all year round … and all of this has offset our costs so that we can continue to rescue and care for children.

Author- Andrea Cross

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