Kokkoya Organics recently hosted a vegan workshop and meal-tasting at their North Dagon Township farm, the first of the Good Supper Series which introduces Yangonites to a wide variety of organic vegetables on their small fecund plot.
The social enterprise partnered with Wolf Kitchen creator Lynn Yang Wolf who wants to show people that vegan food is not all salads and raw vegetables. They treated over a dozen mostly non-vegetarian diners to Chinese black bean burgers, marinated Shan tofu kebabs, avocado mousse- based macaroni and cheese, and faux ‘pulled pork’ stuffed pitas made entirely of seasoned mushrooms.
“I like vegan junk food: cheesy pastas, veggie burgers, and chips,” said Lynn. “Being vegan does not mean sacrificing delicious flavor.” The sentiment was shared with dinner guest Nikki Baltrop, who added, “When you label stuff, it becomes an issue. Vegan food is just delicious food that happens to be plants.”
Kokkoya Organics founders Caity and Sophia started the farm as an outgrowth of work that they had done with NEED Myanmar (a non-profit that trains youth in agricultural development). Caity noticed that the young men involved with the program easily attained agricultural jobs after training, while many of the young women did not.
This inequality inspired her and Sophia to start a female-operated farm that is committed to organic farming practices, which means they do not use pesticides, growth chemicals, or GMO seeds in their food production.
For 20,000 kyats a week, Kokkoya Organics offers CSA boxes (Community Supported Agriculture) filled with a varied mix of vegetables and fruits that changes with each growing season and are available at four pick-up locations around Yangon. Caity and Sophia also co-founded the Yangon Farmer’s Market (every Saturday, 8am-noon at the Rowing Club, 132a Inya Road). “It’s a great way to create a reliable market while also connecting customers directly to the people who produce their food. Customers hopefully understand the value when they meet the producers,” said Caity.
The farm is also hosting upcoming Monsoon Workshops about organic farming and urban permaculture. Events are offered for both English-speaking and Myanmar- speaking audiences and prices range from 40,000-50,000 kyats.
Photos by Picture Man