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Vietnam Friendship Village
See www.greenvietnam.org for full details.

Peacefully Planting Organic Gardens and Fruit Orchards

Vietnam Friendship Village is a residential treatment center for children and veterans affected by Agent Orange located on 27,000 square meters of former rice paddy in Van Canh commune, Hoai Duc hamlet, Ha Tay Province, about 16 km. from downtown Hanoi. There are approximately 120 children, 30 war veterans and 43 staff members living and working there at any one time.

The children, who suffer from a range of physical and intellectual disabilities, come from 34 provinces (from Quang Nam - Da Nang province to the top of nothern Vietnam). At the village, they are provided with health care and basic education; they also produce handicrafts that are sold for fundraising purposes.

 


Childen and volunteers planting pineapples, passion fruit, guavas and starfruit in the new community gardening area.

Organic Gardening Project

The project is developing organic vegetable gardens, orchards and fish ponds to provide healthy food for residents and staff of Vietnam Friendship Village. Surplus produce and fish will be brought to market. Through these activities, the natural environment is being made healthier and more beautiful and residents and staff are gaining skills and awareness that will serve them well in the future. The result is the creation of an ecologically and financially sustainable model, which can be replicated throughout the region.

Goals

By creating a sustainable system of human and natural resource management, we aim to:

* Provide healthy produce, meat and fish for VFV
* Develop meaningful activities for the children and veterans, including learning skills that will be useful to them in their home villages
* Create a viable source of income and increasing publicity for VFV by marketing surplus produce in Hanoi
* Heighten consumer and farmer awareness of organic agriculture
* Popularize a healthier, organic version of VAC—a sustainable agricultural model native to Vietnam
* Bring attention to the tragic, long-term consequences of war, particularly chemical warfare

The aim is for the vegetable garden, orchard and fish ponds to be economically viable and ecologically self-sustaining within three years. We estimate that eventually one half of the produce will feed the Village and one half will be sold to continue funding the project

What We’ve Done So Far

* Created an organic vegetable garden on 1334.2 m2 which now grows all vegetables consumed at VFV; 2.5 tons have been harvested to date
* Opened an area of approximately 400 m2 as a Community Garden Area where disabled children from VFV and outside volunteers carry out gardening projects of their choice
* Extended the orchard to a total of 2164.7 m2 and have planted many new kinds of fruit trees
* Opened a new vegetable garden of approximately 700 m2 by the large fish pond

What We Plan to Do This Year

* Grow a diverse range of vegetables at both vegetable gardens
* Rely on our own ingredients for compost-making
* Breed worms to use in making compost, improving soil and feeding fish
* Build filtering tanks for septic tanks that empty into the large (700 m2) fish pond
* Create a viable and diverse fish farm
* Carry out empowerment/capacity-building activities for staff and residents, including gardening and aquaculture activities
* Prepare for commercializing organic vegetable and fruit production in the following year
* Let the wider community know about the project through workshops, press releases, booklets, etc.
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* Ms. Ha, (04) 837 4527; 0915154484
* John Berlow, 0904 106 241; johnberlow@seaop.org
* Mr. Quang, quangphng@yahoo.co

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