Speaker: Hang Mai & Chau Duong 

Stories of prema-culture from the "Do nothing" farming couple of Vietnam! 

Hang Mai is a green, social entrepreneur from Vietnam. She runs Xanh Shop, which connects produce of farmers and interested urban citizens. She recently transformed the business to foster gift ecology in the associated communities. She believes that "large is small, many times over.'' So she focuses her energy on growing people and encourages them to start their own projects. In many cases, she even gives the seed capital needed as a gift.

Hang was instrumental in getting "One Straw Revolution", the iconic book of Masanobu Fukuoka, translated into Vietnamese. It's been a best seller that has set off a "Back to the Land" revolution, especially among youth.

After marrying Chau Duong, she moved to a two hectare farm an hour away from Ho Chi Minh city. Together, they built a couple of homes mostly from material that nobody wanted.  Homesteaded here, they nurture many ponds, many fruit trees and cultivate deeper relationships with neighbors.

The farm has become the center of their hearts and the base of their training programs in Permaculture offered as a gift.

Here are Hang's responses to the "5 Questions" we asked her :

What makes you come alive? 

Living simply on our farm.

What event/moment has been a pivotal turning point in your life? 

Transforming is a slow process. There are many turning points in my life actually:

  • Practice Qigong
  • Dr. Tho Ha Vinh with his teachings about self-leadership, about mindfulness & compassion, about social & emotional learning.  
  • Nipun and other ServiceSpace volunteers who walk their talk of laddership & giftivism.  
  • The jungle of love 

An act of kindness you'll never forget? 

Audrey Lin of ServiceSpace with her question: how can I make your day?

One thing on your bucket list? 

Have no-expectation but welcome any emergence.  

Your one-line message for the world? 

My life is my message!  

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Chau Duong is a true son of the soil. He trained with Bill Mollison, considered the father of Permaculture, three decades ago.

And he was inspired to live for twenty years with indigenous communities learning their ways of being aligned with nature. As part of his work in the non-profit world, he was instrumental in changing government policy so the land that belonged to these ethnic minorities can not be taken away by other entities.

Chau also anchored the ripples of the Vietnamese version of One Straw Revolution, by holding training sessions on Permaculture Design. And he has always offered these highly priced courses as a gift!

He believes that communities that work together, stay together. Whenever he travels, he connects all the neighbors who know him but may not know one other through work of common purpose. He is always ready to share his knowledge about farming, forestry, building homes, creating water harvesting structures etc in a hands-on, demonstrative way.

Chau is a hands-on trainer and never fails to add lasting value and lift spirits in that process, wherever he is.

Together with Hang, he is constantly focused on the journey back to the source while living an extra-ordinary life on his farm.

Here are Chau's responses to the "5 Questions" :

What makes you come alive? 

Learning and practicing a lifestyle relying on nature (through forest-based garden practices including inner and outer forest-based garden). That is what we call 'Journey towards citizens of the Sun' (trying to make the most of the sun's energy, minimizing the use of non-renewable resources.

Being an useful actor in the community by sharing and exchanging different resources (experience and skills and social resources)

Living in a joy and happiness in garden basically requires 3V (Vietnamese):
* Vườn: Garden;
* Vốn: Capital (resources - including skills capital, social capital and financial capital);
* Vợ: Wife or partner

What event/moment has been a pivotal turning point in your life? 

20 years of learning and working with indigenous people who are ethnic minorities in Vietnam, who have relied on forests (nature) for centuries. The most important lesson that made me irrevocably changed from a 'own and control' mindset of nature to a 'relying' mindset on nature (the garden);

An act of kindness you'll never forget? 

Sincere and non-profit sharing of the ethnic minorities, who i have been working with last 20 years

One thing on your bucket list? 

Promoting a lifestyle relying on nature by forest-based garden practices (inner forest-based garden lifestyle and physical forest-based garden).

Your one-line message for the world?

 Adapting to and relying on nature instead of controlling it. 

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