SAM_1784As we travel to our fifth organic farm tour series, this time around in Bukidnon, with the tireless support of the Agricultural Technological Institure or ATI Northern Mindanao team, we once again share with you the learnings and developments from the organic farming sector as part of ATI’s advocacy for a healthier tomorrow.
SAM_1788Our first visit upon landing at Cagayan De Oro airport was a two-hour trip destination to Cervantes Farm in Bukidnon. We were greeted with a rural-type of feast for lunch inside a typical nipa hut farm structure owned by Honorio Cervantes. Fish, pork, vegetables, piled on rice surrounded by mangoes and bananas in a heap on top of the table covered by banana leaves. Buko with blended coconut meat for beverage was rich and filling For plates, we used sturdy banana trunk layers with plastic utensils, which we skipped and instead used our reliable and efficient hands. It was a refreshing sight to behold which made us smile because of the practicality and convenience of such a set up. Everything was biodegradable and could simply be returned to the soil as enrichment, minus the burden of dish washing and cleaning. (see video)

SAM_1760In line with the advocacy of encouraging and sharing organic farming updates, Cervantes Farms has made a major contribution by developing a vertical garden model where space is not a hindrance to having your own organic farm.
Mr. Cervantes, as he shared, was not a farmer at the start. He learned the ways of farming after retiring from the millitary world. He returned to his province after millitary service and wondered what he would do next. Farming was a logical answer, as he could still be of service to his countrymen in this role even at his golden age.SAM_1769

He developed the square foot organic urban gardening suitable for Metro Manila dwellers who usually have small garden areas. All one needs is a plot of soil with a minimum of 6 inches depth and you are on your way to having that mini-organic farm that will yeild more than enough fresh vegetables for the familSAM_1770y.
After listening to his lecture, the common sense in me kicked in. Clearly, it is not beyond our reach to have a daily stock of fresh vegetables like kangkong, malunggay, kamote tops, alugbati, and pechay which isn’t difficult to grow in our backyard. There really is no excuse at all why we should go hungry because of lack of funds.
“Instead of complaining why the meal is always pancit, why don’t you start planting?,” points out Mr. Cervantes to those who love to complain.
SAM_1767He repeatedly praised ATI for their support and encouragement for his projects which he hopes would benefit the greater public. He lamented that local government didn’t really care or give the farmers much attention with their progress and farming solutions.
Mr. Cervantes worries that the technology his team and other fellow farmers have studied and developed for the agriculture industry will just be forgotten and ignored after they are gone. He is afraid no one will take over, especially when the next generation is more interested in the IT industry.
SAM_1750His project was already applied to Muntinlupa City jail where inmates have now a chance to eat healthy organic vegetables and they spend their time productively gardening within the compound.