Growing Beyond Organic: Happy Grocers, Haze Free, and the Power of Community

Growing Beyond Organic: Happy Grocers, Haze Free, and the Power of Community

Oct 08, 2023Moh Suthasiny

Navigating the clean and sustainable food landscape in Thailand can often be overwhelming, especially when you're trying to make responsible choices for yourself and your family. Whether you’re a long-term expat or a Thai citizen dedicated to local produce, we, at Happy Grocers, make the choice simpler and safer. Through the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and our groundbreaking partnership with Haze Free Social Enterprise, we’re offering you transparency, credibility, and above all, options for sustainable living.

The Strength of PGS: Community-Based Certification

The Participatory Guarantee System is a community-driven initiative that offers an affordable yet rigorous alternative to third-party organic labels. Originated from the globally trusted IFOAM - Organics International, PGS provides a unique approach to certification by involving the very stakeholders who grow and consume the produce. Importantly, the power to obtain PGS lies within the community itself, which makes the certification more than just a label—it becomes a community commitment. Currently, Haze Free has over 40 products ready to supply to Happy Grocers on a weekly basis allowing our farmers to have frequent revenue streams with better cashflow. See Haze Free PGS standard here.

Happy Grocers with farmers in chaingmai
Happy Farmer from Chiangmai

The Crucial Role of Happy Grocers and Consumers: The Engine of Sustainable Demand

Without demand, even the most sustainable and ethical supply chains would collapse. That's where Happy Grocers and you come in. Our collective demand for clean, pesticide-free, and socially responsible produce is the driving force that sustains this eco-conscious chain. It's not just about offering or buying a product; it's about perpetuating a lifestyle and value system that prioritizes both health and sustainability. In essence, Happy Grocers serves as the market anchor that makes these sustainability efforts viable and impactful for the long term.

The Burn No More Initiative: Fighting Against Destructive Practices

PM2.5 Bangkok

Do you remember the yearly PM2.5 problem at the beginning of the year? In alliance with Haze Free Social Enterprise, we’re taking the fight to the fields—against the traditional practice of agricultural burning in Northern Thailand. Haze Free's roots in academic research at Chulalongkorn University have fueled a five-year study into the detrimental effects of burning agricultural residues. With health risks for local residents and extensive pollution, the need for a sustainable alternative became clear.

The Power of Collaboration

Happy Grocers and Haze Free Team

Our PGS effort is a three-pronged collaboration between Happy Grocers, Haze Free Social Enterprise, Chulalongkorn University, and Chiangmai University. Together, we conduct regular scientific audits and inspections to ensure that our PGS-certified produce is free from synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

The Transition: A Shift Towards Regenerative Farming

Initiated by Haze Free, a transition program encouraged farmers to switch from conventional, burning-intensive corn farming to organic, regenerative agriculture. The staggering community response, with only 5 farmers joining the program in the first year to over 90 farmers enlisting in the subsequent year, underscores the program's success and the appetite for change.

Reforestation and Economic Decentralization

Before and after reforestation program happy grocers and haze free

Haze Free’s initiative isn’t just about sustainable farming—it also features an innovative reforestation program. Devoting an impressive 70% of their agricultural land to reforestation efforts, Haze Free is diligently progressing through the rigorous Gold Standard certification process. This strategic move not only underscores their commitment to environmental sustainability but also positions them to be a significant player in the global carbon credit marketplace. Additionally, the economic benefits of this transition have significantly impacted the mountainous regions of Chiang Mai and Nan, decentralizing economic development and promoting a sustainable livelihood.

The Final Word: Your Choice, Your Future

In the end, the choice is yours. We provide all the information you need to make a responsible decision that fits your needs and values. When you choose Happy Grocers, you’re not just opting for quality produce; you’re supporting a broader vision for sustainable agriculture and community development.

Join us on this transformative journey. Stay connected for more inspiring stories and updates.

Together, let's build a more sustainable and healthier future for everyone in Thailand—and for generations to come.