John Mark with two of his FEP ducks.
John Mark with his Mother and Father.
“My sons FEP has significantly contributed to the family income, it has contributed PHP 2,800.00 and helps us get through financial difficulty.” - Maria S. Venus – parent of graduate student.
In Barangay Balatasan, Bulalacao, most of the students Family Enterprise Projects (FEP's) are engaged in fishing. One of the projects involved creating a baklad or fish fence, whose profit bore into another baklad for the community. Their efforts have not turned into naught as positive feedback from Ate Liway Gerato, the Barangay Captain of Balatasan and parent of a GIYF-FFS alumni student expresses that “the project has helped a lot in the daily expenses of the family and also of members of the community. What is more is that this has enabled us to send our son, Pido (GIYF-FFS alumni student), to college.” Also, this endeavor has encouraged the spirit of bayanihan or free labor exchange among the local folk.
Jessie Boy on site at his vegetable garden with his Mother and younger siblings.
Jessie Boy showing off some kidney bean produced from his garden.
“We have gained knowledge on organic and sustainable farming techniques and now have our very own organic farm.” Edilberto Vicente
Manong Jun and his wife have recently turned to growing rice organically due to the GIYF-FFS’s Organic Farming and Natural Health trainings and seminars held in September 2008 and August 2009, respectively. He is aware of the health benefits derived from organic rice and his wife who used to be against it (organic farming) has already been converted as his main supporter. His wife who underwent three operations for malignant lumps remembered the words of her doctor who told her that such tumors were obtained from non-health friendly food we consume which contain toxic elements and additives as a consequence of inorganic chemicals used in growing crops.
Instead of only looking at the volume of harvest, the couple now sees the many advantages of cultivating organic rice. “Even if the harvest is not as high as the inorganically grown rice we do not have to worry about debts incurred due to the high cost of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides because what we use are organic fertilizers from animal wastes, kakawate leaves, decomposed rice hays and other materials which do not entail costs. Using organic techniques also works in our favor in the event of the increasingly frequent storms that occur which destroy crops and reduces harvests. Previously we would lose our crop and have no means to pay our incurred debt, which would plunge us further into debt. Now we only loose our crop and can easily start over. Moreover, there are benefits of planting organic rice which far exceed profit from inorganic rice farming like health of the body and the environment.” says Manong Jun.
“God gave us this beautiful natural world and it hurts me to see people exploit and abuse the land. I hope to teach my daughter the organic farming methods I have learnt from the school (GIYF-FFS) and for her to pass it on to future generations. It is my dream for my children to live long and healthy lives which create a very minimal negative impact on the environment—and organic farming will help my dream come true,” says Manong Jun.
“(The natural health program has ) helped us adjust our eating habits and be more disciplined in consuming fresh vegetables and fruits, which has helped us avoid getting sick frequently.” - Amalia G. Bartolo
“I intend to share my knowledge on sustainable agriculture and encourage others to practice this too.” John Mark V. Fernando – 4th year student.
John Mark V. Fernando
4th Year Student of GIYF-FFS
Today, we are challenged by environmental degradation with the loss of trees, flooding and extreme weather conditions. Nevertheless, I feel we can still do something to avoid its negative effects. Studying in a farm school, I have learned more practical skills when it comes to cultivating land in a manner that respects the beauty of nature and recognizes our responsibility in preserving its limited resources. Thus, I feel that my role as a national discipline awardee is caring for the environment through Sustainable Agriculture, which I have learned is an integrated approach to farming.
Part of caring for the environment, I intend to continue segregating wastes and creating organic compost from biodegradable materials, which can be transformed into organic fertilizer to return the soil’s lost nutrients. I am able to implement this through my Family Enterprise Project or FEP in which I raise and breed ducks and practice sustainable agriculture by collecting their waste and creating fertilizer, which I use to enrich the soil that grows the palay they eat. Through this, nothing is wasted and we are able to minimize our expenses.
Furthermore, I will continue recycling garbage instead of burning them because doing the latter contributes to pollution. Finally, I intend to share my knowledge on sustainable agriculture and encourage others to practice this too. Actually, I have started to share this with my family. Before, we made use of chemical fertilizers in our rice fields, but after learning about sustainable agriculture and sharing this with my father, we decided to make use of dayami as our organic fertilizer. When we did, we saw that our harvest was maintained, now with a lower cost of production. Hopefully, through this, I can encourage more members of our barangay to do the same and do their share in environmental care.
Most of GIYF-FFS students come from this small fishing and farming community. Balatasan.
“I have attended the mushroom production and natural health trainings. They helped a lot by giving me new knowledge regarding natural health and also how to produce extra income for the family.” - Rosenda Morillo
Jessie Boy Cano
Jessie Boy Cano is in his fourth and final year of schooling with GIYF-FFS. Jessie Boy is the eldest of ten children, and comes from the nearby farming community of San Rafael. His family’s main source of income comes from his father’s work driving tricycles, which amounts to roughly 3-4000 pesos each month (less than US$100). To increase their income, the family also raises native chickens.
Jessie Boy chose a diversified integrated farming system as his Family Enterprise Project (FEP) fourth year requirement, which he describes as “a practical method of maximizing the productive capacity of limited farm space, which is a challenge that many families in the community currently face.” The vegetable crops he grows include kalabasa (squash), kamoteng kahoy (sweet potato), sitao (pole beans), tanglad (Lemon grass), patani (kidney bean), and saging (banana). Apart from this, he raises goats, utilizing their waste as organic fertilizer for the crops and selling the offspring for profit.
However, it has not been all too easy for Jessie Boy to carry out his FEP. Being the eldest, and subsiding in an area with scarce resources and limited access to better sources of income, he bears the responsibility of taking care of his family, especially of his younger siblings. Because of this, he has made some sacrifices. Jessie Boy’s mother explains that her “son's FEP is raising goats for sale, but we had to sell it sooner than expected to pay for medicine when I got sick. We will try our best to buy a goat this December so my son can continue his FEP.” Jessie Boy sold his goat for a profit of P500, which covered all medical expenses of his mother.
Jessie Boy shares that he “feel(s) very privileged for the opportunity to study here (GIYF-FFS) because it opened many doors for me and my family. This is where I learned how to be more enterprising and resourceful. At the same time, the kind of formation and the quality of education I receive here is really something more people should be blessed with.”
Manong Jun with his wife on site at their recently harvested organic rice field.
A deliciouse and healthy organic rice snack produced by Manong June and his wife.
“I appreciate the ways that the teachers handle the students. Especially those who have parents outside of the country.” - Dominador Banay