Y-Farm Introduction

The Mekong Youth Farm Network (Y-Farm) was created by a group of determined youth from countries in the Mekong Region and is a part of the Warm Hold Association which is a local non- profit that does charity work in the south of Vietnam. Y-Farm focuses on five main fields/issues that relate to youth development and sustainable agriculture in the region including:

(i) training courses and farm improvement.

(ii) youth exchange on farming and sustainable agriculture.

(iii) startup/agricultural innovation upon student’s return home.

(iv) farm marketing and entrepreneurship

(v) youth volunteerism.

Mission and vision

Mission: Y-Farm works to develop a sustainable future for organic agriculture in the Mekong Region by teaching the young generation, demonstrating organic practices, and providing agri- tourism opportunities.

Vision: We envision a new generation of young farmers and consumers who are adopting sustainable practices on their farms, in their purchases, and in their communities. Y-Farm is an initiative for a resilient Mekong community which focuses on youth engagement and organic farming development as well as sustainable agriculture education, specifically for the younger generation.

Y-Farm Themes

Y-Farm’s Five Themes (i) training courses and farm improvement

Y-Farm believes that educational opportunities can improve our problems, so we support training courses for youth groups to organise them in their communities. The training courses are the arena that brings different people who are interested in sustainable agriculture together to share, exchange, experience, and inspire each other. Farm improvement means the farm is supported by Y-Farm to improve both its qualitative and quantitative aspects. Y-Farm emphasizes aid on the farms which focus on: organic methods; educational and teaching farms; school farms; local farms; and farms that apply sustainable models.

(ii) youth exchange on farming and sustainable agriculture Young farmers and students may get this opportunity to explore and study in other farms for one or more weeks. Y-Farm makes connections to other farms in the region to introduce and send interested youth who really need to improve their knowledge and skills on the issues that they work on in their communities and their organisations. Additionally, Y-Farm can organise tours for the “team” if the number of applicants are interested in same site in specific countries and farms. Or, the recipients of this program’s scholarships can use them to attend the workshop, training courses and camping that they feel is most helpful to their current and future works. (iii) startup/agricultural innovation upon student’s return home

Start up innovation upon student’s return home is quite a new concept. Y-Farm supports youth and students who have great ideas and are passionate about farming and sustainable agriculture to work and plan in their communities after their university and school courses end. Moreover, Y-Farm supports the youth’s innovative ideas on how to start and create their vision of “green growth”, organic products or smart agriculture.

(iv) farm marketing, entrepreneurship and farm tour

Every farmer faces the question of what to produce that can sell for a high price in the market. The selection of enterprises is critical in determining whether or not the needs of your family will be met through farming. Y-farm is building on the idea of organic farming enterprises to promote organic food production methods for income, specifically for youth. We joke that there are three keys to success small businesses: location, location, and location. Farms cannot always pick the best location for direct sales to consumers. Consider the farm with a number of acres and far from town. How do you develop a business? The community has skills on traditional farming with native seeds that no other place can grow properly. The farmers can sell their products at the local market. With a small market, their approach to growth was to provide a broader range of products available throughout the year. At the same time, youth and farmers became engaged in the community and helped develop a farm-direct market network. This is what Y-farm wants to do with the small-scale idea, but with a twist. Agricultural tourism is gaining popularity such that tourists can visit the agricultural farms to learn from the local communities. Y-Farm connects partner farms in the region with the tourists who would like to visit and stay with the local farming communities.

(v) youth volunteerism

Y-Farm connects our partners and other similar groups/ organisations in the region in order to introduce and host volunteers teams who would like to learn about and practice within different farming systems and sustainable agriculture sectors. Moreover, Y-Farm gives opportunities to students, local and international youth, to learn, exchange and experience new things that add to their knowledge and skills, through volunteering on any farms which are partners or may become future partners with Y-Farm. Y-Farm believes that youth have valuable experiences during and after joining in Y-Farm activities and in turn they will have better chances of finding gainful employment.

Human Resources

Dr. Le Thanh Binh Warm Hold Association Consultant
Mr. Ly Quoc Dang Can Tho University Y-Farm Coordinator
Ms. Arun Shinning Mong Pan Youth Y-Farm Management in Myanmar
Ms. Pheungsavanh Noudavanh Green Laos Volunteer Group Y-Farm Management in Laos
Ms. Jaruwan Sulporai Mekong Nomad Farm Y-Farm Management in Thailand Studio
Ms. Leakhena Saroeurn Youth Action For Change Y-Farm Management in Cambodia
Ms. Truong Hong Suong Agriculture Tourism Project Y-Farm Management in Vietnam
Mr. Le Trong Du Can Tho University Y-Farm Financial and Accounting
Mr. Le Thanh Tung Can Tho University Information Technology
Mr. Blayne Metz August University of Montana Fundraising and Campaign
Mr. Ho Nguyen Thanh Huy Vinh Long Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Startup Agricultural innovation consultant