Here Are 4 Organizations That Work Directly with Our Local FarmersJanuary 22, 2020
Despite the push for industrialization, the Philippines remains largely an agricultural country. In fact, almost a fourth of the local workforce is in the agri sector. Yet, there has been inadequate support for the industry. We lack the technology and the manpower; and our laws don’t make necessarily make it easy for our farmers to fulfill and sustain their occupations. Fortunately, some individuals and organizations have sprung up in support of them; paving the way for common folk like us to help—and connect with—the people who produce our food:
Note: There are other ways you can help farmers as individuals, e.g. buying from wet markets, practicing fair trade, etc.—but we’ll save that for another guide.
BukidFresh began as a school requirement for Aaron David and Gorby Dimalanta. After graduating, the pair decided to pursue the venture full-time. “Our aim is to help local farmers earn more by providing them a wider market for their produce… we [also] want to provide fresh and nutritious produce to people living in urban areas at an affordable price.”
BukidFresh’s partners are generally smallholder farmer cooperatives from Cavite and Laguna; and most of them have been with the organization since it started. This set-up helps not just the farmers, but their entire community, as well.
Customers can order from their website. The supply depends on the season; and they even have other products like coffee, rice, and eggs. Orders are relayed to BukidFresh’s partner farmer cooperatives; then these are picked up from the farms, packed per order, and delivered the following day.
Note: People living in the Ortigas-Kapitolyo area can join their Facebook group of like-minded people who love local produce and want to help support local farmers.
CONTACT: (02) 8776-4838 / (0927) 818-5794 / firstname.lastname@example.org
follow: Facebook / Instagram / Website
Farm to Folk
Farm To Folk (FTF) stems from an advocacy to provide a better quality of life for Filipinos by making healthy products accessible. “The process is simple and direct, just as our brand name. We source the goods, [which includes grains, coconut, cacao, fruit/veg powders, and coffee,] straight from farms, fulfilling orders to our customers.”
Beyond their direct-from-farm process, FTF founders Adrienne Tan and Carl Lee also work to provide proper resources to their farmers. Prior to launching, they spent four to five months getting to know their partners—their capacities, insights, and needs. They make sure to educate their farmers about natural farming; and that includes providing them with organic seeds and crop capital.
At the end of the day, though, FTF believes that “the ultimate power to help create impactful change in our agriculture sector rests on the Filipino folk. With increased demand for local, organic products, our Filipino farmers can have fair, sustainable livelihood.”
Good Food Community
More than anything, Good Food Community hopes to connect consumers to farmers. Founder Charlene Tan created the brand in 2011 after falling in love with the idea of a community “growing [in] a culture of participation and cooperation.” Good Food Community does this now through their Community-Shared Agriculture (CSA); a system invites people to be co-producers of their food by having a stake in its production through farm share subscriptions. They currently have five subscription options and several seasonal add-ons available on their site.
As they grow their community of city-dwellers joining their CSA, Good Food Community simultaneously builds their community of farmers. “We meet the farmers, agree on joint purposes and mechanics of the partnership, understand and uphold their governance structures for organic practice and work out means for regular trade. We then agree to trial deliveries, guaranteeing minimums to make the whole exercise economically viable for them.”
Good Food Community works with a number of farmer groups, each with its own story of friendship. The farmers in Capas, Tarlac were the first; their strongest producers, Chico River Organic Producers Organization, they met through the Episcopal Church; and the Dumagats from Rizal they connected with through a UNDP project.
CONTACT: (02) 8285-5074 / (0939) 934-4663 / email@example.com
FOLLOW: Facebook / Instagram / Website
Founder Nicole Olbés Fandiño shares that from its conception, Real Food was really meant to be brick-and-mortar grocery with healthy, clean food. “We envisioned a store where we wouldn’t have to pull out sugary cereals and neon colored snacks from our kids’ hands at the check out counter, or feel like detectives trying to figure out which foods were antibiotic-/hormone-/pesticide-/preservative- (you name it) free.”
Before opening their Alabang store in 2016, Nicole went to the Department of Agriculture and several markets to build her network of partner farmers. Nowadays, Real Food works with about two dozen farmers from all over the country. Some have large farms with a wide variety of produce, while others are weekend farmers who just grow their own food. Farmers deliver fresh produce to the store everyday, from usual fruits and veg to more exotic products.
Real Food also extends their passion to sustainability by using more earth-friendly packaging. (Although, Nicole admits that it continues to be a challenge.) They wrap their produce in banana leaves and pack their grains in recycled flour packs. They also encourage their customers to avoid plastic by setting up bulk bins at their stores, and rewarding customers who bring their own bags and containers.