Mindful Farm: organic farming & meditation retreat
A hidden gem (in the form of an organic farm) is tucked away in the hills of a village called Pang Term, of the Samoeng district in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. It’s known only by a few, but word of mouth is slowly spreading, as are the rows of vegetables, herbs and fruits that are grown au naturel. But it’s not just the rolling hills and flourishing farm that the senses can imbibe. There are also communal buildings and bamboo/mud-brick huts built by Chinnaworn and volunteers; places where visitors can come together to eat and meditate. At times, these two elements come together, such as during silent breakfasts & lunches. At Mindful Farm guests & volunteers work hard, but it’s also a place to unwind and relax while experiencing a unique lifestyle for a minimal cost.
region: Chiang Mai
address: 60 Moo 4 Pang Term Village, Mae Sap, Samoeng
North to Chiang Mai: cooler air, fewer people, mindful meditation + farming
After teaching, living, exploring, and immersing myself in the famous hustle and bustle of Bangkok, it was time to make my great escape. Of course my noggin and my previous experience of the land of Thai told me to head up north where the air is cooler, the people fewer and the tuk tuks cheaper. But Chiang Mai city wasn’t gonna cut it. I needed remote. I needed desolate. Then the light bulb flashed and I recalled a conversation with a fellow colleague about farming it up. After a quick google, I stumbled upon Mindful Farm. Despite the website being extremely informative (their ethos, directions, itinerary), I didn’t really know a lot about mindfulness. What I did know was that this was what my polluted spirit was looking for.
Greens & browns – the nitty gritties of organic farming with Chinnaworn
Upon my arrival, I met the man himself, Chinnaworn (an ex monk), and was shown to what would be my home for the next seven eves. It was a simple bamboo shack. It was perfect. Need I mention that in every direction where my peepers went, they were indulged by greens and browns. Colours that, in the grey Bangkok, had been sorely missed. There was plenty of time for that though, first I wanted to get straight into the nitty gritty side of things. Off I went with a watering can, which I could barely carry (was sure gonna build some guns here), and pottered around the organic farm nourishing the various fruits, vegs and herbs as I went. Then it was time for din dins, a collaborative affair, where one and all pitch in. I’m not going to lie, there was some weird and wonderful food elements floating around, but hey, there was plenty of variety and quantity and you gotta try these things. My first day immersed back in the world of nature was polished of by a meditation sesh. Initially we weren’t given much direction but I gave it a wurl and slept like a baby.
Mindfully ‘cleaning the forest’ at the farm in Chiang Mai
The week was thus spent in such a fashion, but in the morning with yoga, not meditation, and in the afternoon you got some down time. Although at first Chinnaworn was a lil sexist on the different jobs he gave out (sometimes I was grateful for this as there was many a manual job agoing), after seeking an ulterior input, one was given and one was happy. On reflection though, it should not have really mattered what chore I was undertaking as the whole function of it was to be mindful of what you were doing and to immerse yourself in doing so and the present. Nevertheless, at the time, while I was ‘cleaning the forest’ (a concept I still canʹt fathom), the idea was lost to me.
I think, ultimately, what I digged about the farm was the fact you could input whatever you wanted. If you wanted to cook, which I rustled up a risotto on one such occasion, then you picked from the flourishing garden and cooked. If you wanted to build (which I’m sure his cute baba wanted to do after crawling towards many a tool), then you picked up a hammer and you built.
Yoga retreat, organic farm, mindful meditation…and a cold shower at night
Above all else my fab fav was having a nighttime shower (there’s cold and then there’s cold) and looking up and witnessing what the sky’s meant to look like - away from the city lights and fumes. So if you can handle an uber cool shower, getting hot and sweaty, immersing yourself in a new way of being and eating… oh, and can handle the more than direct approach of Chinnaworn (did I forget to mention that)…then this is surely the place for you to unwind from the intenseness of the party scene.