Kristina Winters, our Associate in Chiang Mai

Fri, 15/05/2009 – Jude Fanton

Kristina works with the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), a local organisation in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The Karen people live in both Thailand and Burma where they have their own Karen State in the south-east. They are the third largest ethnic group in Burma. Kristina came for a course at Seed Savers in 2004 and we have kept in contact since then. Here is an email she sent in May 2008.

Karen State was in the past thickly forested but due to unregulated deforestation during the ongoing 60 year civil war, the forests are largely depleted. KESAN, now in its third year, works alongside Karen communities to ensure that Karen indigenous people live a peaceful life in a healthy environment by maintaining ecological balance. KESAN supports community projects based on indigenous knowledge (community forests, traditional medicine, food security) that strengthen the livelihoods of villagers.

The activities of the food security program include seed banks, organic gardens, food security awareness training, seed saving training, livelihood research, and canal projects. The guy I am working with is great as he has a wealth of knowledge and experience. We call him Fukuoka [Japanese growing guru). We are also going to publish in Karen language a book of local traditional recipes we have collected (mainly preserving methods) in 2008, and a book of local agriculture techniques (in 2009) and a seed saving manual (in 2010).