This week in the Flog:
- Natural Farming’s Real Value (sustainable, profitable, responsible agriculture)
- Gil Carandang’s activities in the Philippines
I’m writing a quick post this week highlighting the activities of Gil Carandang, my teacher in natural farming and the inspiration for this website.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m running the TUF website and weekly Flog. Gil stops in periodically with a few comments but mostly I’m running the show online. My expertise is IT and my passion is gardening so this is a great fit.
I really want to bring Gil’s stuff to the international audience. You guys reading just reinforces that and helps keep me motivated despite the periodic long hours. This site will always be 99.9% free, but later on we’ll be releasing some premium products with some really awesome information and techniques. At some point I will be able to work on the site full time – the things we’ll accomplish then will be amazing!
For Gil’s part, he is focused on the Philippines. He is called ‘the father of organic farming in the Philippines’ and his focus is really on making a difference here at his home. He spends most of his time away from his own farm in fact, flying around the country speaking at conventions, organizations, government posts, etc. From the public to the private sector, he educates on organic farming and helps the country move towards a sustainable future both economically and environmentally.
I rarely get to see Gil because of his schedule, which is why you don’t get many updates on his whereabouts. But I did get a chance to meet up with Gil the other day and got some info to share with our international audience.
Among Gil’s normal activities like the periodic training seminars, certifying local organic farmers, consulting with the Philippine government on agricultural regulations, and more, this year for Gil has been about helping the efforts to rebuild after Typhoon Haiyan (locally called typhoon Yolanda) devastated central Philippines last November. For those who don’t know, this was the strongest storm ever recorded at landfall. The strongest storm ever recorded. It tore a path through the center of the country, disrupting agriculture, displacing families, and destroying livelihoods.
Among others, Gil has been working with the Land Bank of the Philippines. The Land Bank is a government financial institution that balances developing rural areas of the Philippines with economic stability. The organization works to build up rural areas through economically viable initiatives. Gil has been working with this organization a long time, training farmers on how to use natural techniques to grow more food on less land, thereby earning more money for their families.
In Tacloban, the city most devastated by typhoon Yolanda, there have been many initiatives started this year. One such is the Sustainable Integrated Organic and Natural Mini-Farm Program. This is one of Gil’s projects, operated by members of a local military headquarters under the direction of Gil, which serves as an example farm where local farmers can come and learn the techniques and see them in action.
There is a natural piggery – you can see the way it is constructed to maximize airflow and minimize sun exposure. We’ll discuss this technique in detail when we cover Natural Piggery later on.
Here are some happy pigs in their deep litter style pen. There are a myriad reasons why deep litter is better than cement or hard earth, we’ll cover this technique later as well.
Using raised beds and double-digging technique is part of the method of producing more food on less land. You can see Gil in the distance teaching a small group about the technique.
Every training includes hands-on instruction. You can see here Gil using local ingredients to make a recipe for use on the mini farm.
The farm has been a great example of organic natural farming in the area. The military personnel, trained under Gil, teach local farmers the techniques and help them re-establish their livelihoods after being wiped out by the typhoon last year. They distribute seeds for free at every training, and assist farmers in rebuilding wherever possible.
Through Landbank sponsorship and military participation, these projects have been initiated all over the central Philippines region which was severely damaged last year during the storm. They are amazing resources for farmers struggling to rebuild after having their livelihoods destroyed last year. Gil travels around the region, stopping in on the operations frequently to ensure everything is going correctly, answering questions and running additional trainings. Farmers using these techniques have been able to not only rebuild their farms, but are now earning more money from higher profits derived from higher output!
Pretty awesome stuff. It makes you realize how important this stuff can be, rather than just a really interesting, cheap, and environmentally responsible way to grow your farm!
Keep on growing