Daruma Eco-Farm is a sustainable permaculture project located in Bang Phra, Thailand. We offer permaculture design courses, our volunteer program called HELP, residency programs, and are an active member of WWOOF (World-Wide Opportunities in Organic Farming), Couchsurfing, and WarmShowers. Volunteers coming to Daruma Eco-Farm can expect to work on anything from planting rice paddies to sustainable construction to assisting our on-site alternative learning school, Mosaic. There are always different projects going on, depending on the season.
We are not a commercial farm. Our project is for pleasure, recreation, health, and learning. We do hope our endeavors might one day earn money but only in a not-for-profit manner. We are most interested in harvesting organic fruits, vegetables and beans that are used in our Vimaya Spa products. At the moment, our gardens do not produce enough to supply both our spa and family, so most of our food items need to be purchased from the market.
Our farm is currently comprised of mango, banana and other fruit trees along with interspersed rice, vegetable and herb gardens. We have a large fish pond used for aquaculture, chickens providing fresh eggs, fertilizer and meat, and ducks providing natural fertilizer for the rice paddies (which also feeds the catfish). Resident animals include several cats, a dog, chickens, sheep, ducks, and pigs. The farm utilizes integrated aquaculture and rice paddies are planted according to the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). The farm is bound by a mango orchard, mahogany tree farm and cassava farm and has views of the hills nearby. Many construction projects are happening on the farm at all times, from a rock path to an extension on a current building. Farm photo gallery >>
The farm is located one hour southeast of Bangkok on the coast in the small village of Bang Phra which is halfway between the beach resort town of Bangsaen and the city of Sriracha (with ferry service to Koh Sichang island and free beach camping). Map & directions >>
The name of our farm comes from the Japanese daruma doll which is a symbol of perseverance and good luck. The daruma doll is modeled after Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. Daruma Eco-Farm is inspired by the principles of permaculture as laid out by its founders, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. The three primary ethics of permaculture are Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share. More on permaculture >>
Neil Willmann was introduced to permaculture in the early 80s thanks to Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Review. Through a career in the Navy, Neil was able to visit much of the world and appreciate the increasing need for it’s potential benefits. After finally settling down to grow roots figuratively in Thailand, he started growing roots literally by regenerating a 20-year old abandoned farm. Neil operates Daruma with his wife, Su.
Daruma has welcomed over 500 volunteers, students, artists-in-residence, and interns over the past five years to share ideas, participate, and learn about permaculture practices.
Read about their experiences >>