Farm to market with ‘AMOR’

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CHIT JUAN

CHIT JUAN

AMOR or Amadeo Organic is a farmers’ association in Amadeo, Cavite whose members underwent training with the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Organic Program and also with Amadeo’s Rural Improvement Club. These 20 or so farmer families were taught to use only organic fertilizers like rabbit manure, vermicompost and organic pest management methods as well.

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Last month they related to me how difficult it is to get markets for organic produce in their area as some of their homes were far from the main highway. They asked for a small area and volunteered to manage a small weekend organic market in front of our property. They started selling their produce and encouraged other members to bring their other products like chili garlic oil, turmeric kimchi, peanut butter and even rabbits, and even rabbit meat for the health-conscious.

From seeds to market these pro-active farmers have come full circle. From planting organic vegetables, they now have ready supply of many other produce like carrots, spring onions, herbs, and fruits like jackfruit and coconuts. Their technician trainer Elsa stayed with them on the first weekend and until the next, making sure the members were supported by a steady stream of customers who were motorists on their way home from Tagaytay. The ECHOfarms’ façade is by the roadside on the highway that runs parallel to Aguinaldo Highway in Cavite—called Crisantodelos Reyes Highway. In fact many motorists take this shorter route from Tagaytay to General Trias where Eagle Ridge is located. And take it going up to Tagaytay via Brgy. Lucsuhin on Aguinaldo Hiway.

With its prime location, ECHOfarms played host to AMOR’s members and engaged the members in the now ‘everyweekend’ organic market.

I was with the AMOR members and they radiate a feeling that is all-positive—a sense of belonging to a group with the same vision—to increase the income of their members while following the tenets of organic farming. They have taken up different responsibilities from the making of banners to the preparation of prices, paper bags and even brewing coffee for their snacks while tending the market.

Marivic Sales, ECHO-farms’ manager, prepared lunch of vegetable lumpia and lettuce sandwiches so the members could attend our start-up meeting to plan for this project a few weeks ago. They had a dry run last weekend and towards the weekend of Valentine’s they brought more products and of course attracted more customers.

This group is an example of how camaraderie and cooperation can make all things possible. Now, the AMOR members have a regular activity every weekend, and they are able to showcase their farm produce to a wider market.

After being initiated by the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Program, the group carried on and brought their goods to market. Starting with a small weekend market, we may see more set ups all along Amadeo’s main Highway in the future.

And make Amadeo an organic destination for motorists and agri-tourism enthusiasts. We even chanced upon passers-by who came in to pick their own vegetables, much to their joy and amazement. It’s the new tourist trend: Pick and pay for your own food.

Thanks to DA, the Municipal Agriculturist Officer, and people like Elsa government and private sector can truly work together.

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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall and Davao City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at puj@echostore.ph

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