Moms turn to organic farming to give chemical-free food to their children

By Roxanne Angelika S Dela Cruz | Field and Emergency Communications Specialist

NORTH COTABATO, PHILIPPINES — Mothers Soraida, 38, and Hasna, 32, have been practicing the basics of organic backyard vegetable gardening after learning the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers and pesticides can do to their children.

“I want my children to grow healthy and safe from chemicals,” shares Hasna.

 Both women also work in a community garden, applying and learning about the effect in plants of organic fertilizers and pesticides made from fermented plants and fruits. For months, they observed how plants would react to organic concoctions.

“We noticed that organic fertilizers made our plants grow abundantly,” shares Soraida.

She admitted not knowing anything about organic farming. It was only after joining a training with World Vision and its partner organization, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), did she found out about it.

World Vision and PRRM are currently implementing a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) project in Soraida and Hasna’s community funded by Germany’s BMZ or the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development which has been advocating for climate change adaptation.

CSA promotes climate-resilient practices in agriculture to address the challenges from climate change and food security.

With their vegetables flourishing abundantly, both Soraida and Hasna’s earnings also increased.

“We used to earn around Php200 ($3) in a week. After our plants grow healthy and abundantly from the chemical fertilizers that we applied, we’re earning on average Php2,000-3,000 ($35-50) in a week now,” Soraida says.

Hasna, on the other hand, sells vegetables and earns roughly Php50 ($4) a day. Previously, she would just earn less than that.  “There’s a great difference from my income now compared before,” she says. The family’s income from vegetable sales helps them to significantly save a portion of their earning from corn harvesting, which is their primary source of livelihood. She adds, “I also don’t need to worry about the danger of eating vegetables.”

Soraida and Hasna are now instilling what they are learning in their sons, Hannad and Spike,  who mostly play in the garden whenever the boys join them in planting and harvesting.

The community’s garden has been Hannad and Spike’s playground, feeding the fishes in the fishpond and playing with kittens have been part of their routine whenever they join their mothers in planting and harvesting. The boys would also help their parents collect seeds for the seed bank.

 Spike, 4, Hasna’s son, even asked to have a farmer’s hat for himself and had his name written on it.  “Spike enjoys collecting kadyos (pigeon peas), while his younger sister likes to chop papayas, which we would use as organic fertilizer.”

Hannad, 6, also learned how to harvest vegetables and extract seeds from their pods for later storage in the seed bank; skills he learned from his mother, Soraida. 

“As a mother, it’s fulfilling for me to learn something like this and be able to teach them to my children,” Soraida says.

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