To reclaim the farmland that has been lost to chemical pesticides and fertilizers, the female farmers of Sarilaya are going organic.
People of the world naturally assume farmers are men but in Sarilaya, quite the opposite is true. A large part of the farming in the country is done by women and for twenty years now, Kasarian-Kalayaan, Inc. has been training rural community women the methods of organic farming. The idea is to promote healthy living through nutrition and women empowerment; to help them broaden their abilities and augment their family income with these skills. According to GMA News who published a report on March 12, Sarilaya recently organized Earth2Plate to help raise funds to train female organic farmers in these often drought and typhoon stricken farmland communities. Contributors at Earth2Plate were served full-course dinners of fresh, organically grown produce. Female organic farmers grew all the ingredients while raw fruits and vegetables were sold in a mini-marketplace adjacent to the venue.
Margie Lacanilao, former commercial farmer turned Sustainable Agriculture Coordinator of Sarilaya, says farmers should not go after quantity alone. They must also produce quality produce and switch to organic farming. “We used to focus on profits alone, and it was enough that the produce we consume was safe,” she says. “Farmers need to understand the effects of these chemicals on the environment and the people—this was why we went organic.”
Surprisingly, many commercial farmers do not consume the produce that they sell. “We don’t eat chemically-sprayed produce; vegetables for our family’s consumption have always been separated from the produce we bring to market. Usually the supermarkets demand smooth and perfect looking veggies and fruits, so that is what we deliver to them,” Lacanilao, a former commercial farmer shared. Brightly colored, super sized, blemish-free fruits and vegetables require chemical-based pesticides and fertilizers. Farmers continue using these harmful products because consumers demand produce that looks good but they do not know what they are really buying.
Switching to organic farming is very challenging, Lacanilao admits, “Plenty of farmers backslide after the first or second year, because it could take at least three years before a piece of chemical-rich land is ‘cured,’ and during that period your harvest and income will definitely suffer.” The process takes a lot of work. Many beneficial living organisms in the soil die from the chemicals, including the earthworms. Exposed to chemicals for many years, the land becomes very hard, like cement. This doesn't have to happen with this Vitamix promotion code.