Mae Mut Garden is a project in self sustainability and community living, started in 2011 on a terraced rice field in Mae Win district, Chiang Mai. In February 2011 the site looked like this.
The seven acre plot is now mainly a food forest, with fruit trees, hardwood trees, perennial vegetables, edible roots, vines and medicinal herbs, using natural farming and permaculture principles. In the photo below, taken last year, Mae Mut Garden is the square(ish) mainly forested plot in the centre of the picture.
The first fruit tree seedlings were planted in the summer of 2011 and now Mae Mut Garden produces fresh fruit all year round, soursop and papaya, mulberry and jackfruit, limes, lemons and strawberries, pineapple and mango, avocado and rambutan, custard apple and jujube, guava and dates, coconut, bananas and much more.
Every year we grow a small crop of organic rice for our own consumption. We use a number of perennial vegetables that form part of our regular diet, as well as cold season annuals like lima and cranberry beans, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers, onions and garlic, during the rainy season we eat various typical tropical vegetables, okra, long beans, corn etc.
Since we started, Mae Mut Garden has become much more than just our home, our small community includes permanent residents and close neighbours and the more transient presence of volunteers, friends, homestay guests and short term visitors. We like it much better like this. New people bring new ideas and fresh perspectives and very often new delicious recipes! We strongly believe that community living is the way forward, both from an environmental and a social perspective, it also happens to be more fun.
About 60km SW of Chiang Mai, the Mae Win district has many attractions, beautiful valleys and views, rivers and waterfalls, mountain villages and forest temples. All within easy reach, life cannot be just about work, we try and set aside time to enjoy the nature around us. Come join us for a short time or longer, at this stage of the project we really appreciate having some healthy and strong bodies around….This is an opportunity to experience natural farming techniques and strategies for sustainable living, spend some time in nature and live off the abundance that nature produces.
PS. We are not on any volunteering or work exchange platform, as we prefer to rely on word of mouth. if you have stumbled across this site and liked it, please SHARE it with anyone you think might be interested in this kind of thing. We also have a FB page called Mae Mut Garden. Here you can read about the experiences of some of the recent volunteers and also some reviews from our homestay guests.
UPDATE MARCH 2023
We no longer live at Mae Mut Garden, which is now a private residence. We have started a new project in a different province in Northern Thailand and you can check us out at https://offthebeatenthailand.com/
March 3, 2014 at 7:18 pm
very nice website – thanks – particularly that you write in Thai so my wife can read this.
We are starting permaculture activities on her family land in Kalasin this rainy season.
March 3, 2014 at 8:59 pm
Thank you for visiting our blog, you can get in touch with Nok on FB, Nok Tosi or our FB page Maemutgarden. Best wishes for all your endeavours. Marco
April 10, 2014 at 7:55 pm
Marco and Nok–It looks very, very lovely and we so look forward to visiting sometime. I love the curved roof especially–that too makes it seem like a piece of permaculture. It was nice to spend a little time together on Koh Samed! Sarah Conover and Doug Robnett and btw our son”s name is Nathan Robnett-Conover of course.
April 27, 2014 at 11:12 pm
Wow! I found this on wwoof’s website and it looks amazing… definitely on the bucket list for my south east Asia trip!
April 28, 2014 at 5:55 pm
Thank you for visiting, more info on the volunteering page.
June 8, 2014 at 12:42 pm
งดงามมากครับ ธรรมชาติร่มรื่น อยู่ด้วยวิถีธรรมชาติเลยนะครับ ตอนนี้ผมกำลังหาต้นถั่วบราซิลมาปลูกบ้างครับ
June 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm
June 19, 2014 at 11:10 am
Hi. Thanks for liking my About me page. I live in Huai Kaew village 30kms north of Chiang Mai. I have done a lot of home building, renovation and love farming but I’m afraid I don’t have the energy for anything other than organising now. Your place looks great. Maybe we’ll take a drive down there some day soon. regards James
June 19, 2014 at 11:53 am
thanks for getting in touch, it would be great to meet you. Hope you find the time to come and see us some time soon. Marco
June 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm
Thanks Marco. I’m in Phuket until July 10. When I get back to CM I’ll make a plan. James
July 23, 2014 at 11:10 pm
It is absolutely beautiful what you all are doing! I am impressed and love your slice of heaven. Thank you for sharing with us!
July 24, 2014 at 12:28 am
Thank you for visiting, found lots of interesting stuff on your excellent blog, congratulations you are a great writer, makes me feel I must try harder!!!
July 24, 2014 at 12:41 am
Thank you kindly! It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance and look forward to following your blog.
September 22, 2014 at 11:54 pm
I am a television producer working for major independent production company Optomen Television in London. We are currently producing a new documentary series for Channel 4 in the UK about people who have quit the rat race and moved to live in remote locations the world. It will be an inspirational series following the incredible stories of ordinary people who are living a unique way of life in some of the most beautiful and breath-taking places.
Our research team in London is currently looking for suitable stories to feature in the series and we’re keen to contact people who may be interested in taking part.
I came across your website and I thought I would contact you to see if you can help?
Any help you can provide is much appreciated. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Many thanks and Kind Regards,
Direct Dial: +44 (0)203 227 5996
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 227 5900
Fax: +44 (0)203 227 5901
Optomen Television Limited
102 St Pancras Way
London NW1 9ND
September 23, 2014 at 7:47 am
thank you for visiting the blog, I have sent a reply to your email address. Marco
September 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm
What a rewarding life work you are doing Good for you! I live in Phuket and have not traveled up north but certainly want to. Thanks for sharing!!! jackie
September 25, 2014 at 8:03 am
Jackie, thank you for your kind words. Please feel free to share our details with anyone you think would be interested, we are at an early stage in our project and welcome any help and advice. And of course please come and see us if you ever come “up north”. Marco
December 3, 2014 at 1:36 pm
Wow! What wonderful piece of land, and what a lovely family you are Marco! It looks such a really beautiful project you have in that land. Hope you and your family will enjoy developing it… We’ve been working as volunteers before and that looks like the perfect spot ever!i don’t think you’ll lack volunteers ahahah
You can count on our support 🙂 Best wishes and and good luck
By the way thanks for sharing and like our site, we just started it and we’re kind of novices on it. We’re also developing some natural building workshops in Thailand starting on 8th of December, so if anyone is interested in that topic we’re still open for new enrollments.
Thanks and good luck again!
December 3, 2014 at 6:59 pm
Thank you very much for your encouragement, we are learning as we go and having a great time of it, well, most of the time….
I would be very interested to meet you and visit you, will email you at your gmail address. Marco
December 28, 2014 at 9:13 pm
Marco and Nok,
Thank you for your hospitality. Our stay was way too short. We absolutely loved staying in the guest house, sharing meals with everyone, and learning all about your farm. It is inspiring. We sincerely hope to see you again.
Jeff and Leigh Evans
January 14, 2015 at 10:23 am
Hi! Thanks for the follow on Mind Your Dirt! I live all the projects you’re working on. Very noble efforts to you and the gang! I look forward to sharing info and stories.
January 14, 2015 at 10:45 am
Thank you for your encouragement James. I like your blog very much and admire your writing and photography skills, ours are very basic at best still, but you and others like you inspire us to put some more effort in it, time permitting… Best. Marco
January 14, 2015 at 10:47 am
Time permitting indeed! Couldn’t agree more! I’m glad that I can offer a bit of encouragement along the way! Thank you for your kind words!
May 30, 2016 at 9:38 am
A very interesting blog, it all looks great! out of interest what did you treat the bamboo with to stop bugs eating it?
June 5, 2016 at 7:49 pm
Thank you for visiting the blog and for your kind words. The bamboo is treated is a borax solution, details of the process are widely available online.