Perhaps one of the most frustrating things I’ve witnessed in this country is “wasted resources”; particularly farm resources. No matter where I go, I see a lot of un-utilized and under-utilized farm lands. It’s sad, really.
Farming has somehow become synonymous to hardship, suffering and failure. In fact, I’ve heard parents tell their children “Mangamote ka na lang (It would be better for you to just plant sweet potatoes)” if they presented failing grades on their school report cards. It’s this type of mentality that has hurt our agricultural mindset.
The fact of the matter is that the Philippines is an agricultural country… a FARM NATION. Farmers are national heroes and farming is what we do best! I would even go as far as saying that, if we take the necessary steps to getting our agricultural programs back on track, we could be a very powerful nation; but, sadly, this is not the case.
There is, however, hope.
In one of the episodes of the SME Forum (my TV show on GNN), I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing a farmer with a vision… Mr. Jojo Rom, the country’s foremost authority on Urban Farming. Jojo shared a vision with me, and it’s a vision I’d like to share to the rest of the nation. His vision was to create democratic urban farming communities all around the country.
What is democratic urban farming? Simply put, it is getting your community (Barangay) to allocate a common area to plant vegetables, raise tilapia and/or chickens, and do other farming activities for the benefit of that community. But, Jojo’s vision (and now, my own) doesn’t stop there. We want to show everyone that it is possible to grow vegetables in one’s own home; be it in backyards, lofts, and/or even on walls.
Why is home or urban farming important to us? Here are just a few reasons why we should consider home and urban farming:
We are planting the seeds of a nation’s hope.
This might look like a sales pitch to you; and you’d probably be right. But, it’s a sales pitch with the nation’s growth in mind…
On September 22, 2012 (a Saturday), we will be launching FARM NATION… the country’s foremost summit on home and urban farming. This event will be held at the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), University of the Philippines (UP) compound, Diliman, Quezon City.
FARM NATION aims to show our nation that farming is the way to go. Jojo and I will be speaking in this event. I will tackle the entrepreneurship side of urban farming, whereas Jojo will show us how it’s done. We’ve also invited Ms. Maria Angela Villalba, Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Philippines, 2007, to give her experience with urban farming. We may tap other speakers to show us how to make beautiful landscaped home farms.
Bulk of the proceeds for this event will help fund democratic urban farming communities in the depressed areas of Metro Manila.
is the Managing Director of Our-Knowledge Asia and a Business Consultant for Local and Foreign Start-ups, SMEs and Organizations based in the Philippines.