Ato Belen’s Farm: Changing Lives Through Organic Agriculture
Organic Agricuture has changed so many lives already through the years here in the Philippines and even abroad. I’ve heard different success stories about organic farming that are very inspiring and worth sharing to the world and one of them is Ato Belen’s Farm (ABF) in Brgy. San Juan, San Pablo City, Laguna.
Ato Belen’s Farm (ABF) is a 1.2-hectare farm land managed by Renato “Ato” Belen which started as a plant nursery year 1987. After the onslaught of typhoon Milenyo in 2006 which left significant damages to the farm, Ato Belen’s Farm farm shifted little by little to organic farming. Of course shifting from traditional to organic farming takes time and will not happen overnight. So it took them years before the farm became a full-scale organic farm.
Ato Belen’s Farm has been accredited as one of the learning sites of the Agricultural Training Institute(ATI) in Calabarzon area which practices Integrated Diversified Organic Farming System (IDOFS). It’s also been accredited by the Department of Tourism and currently open for tourists and health enthusiasts for guided tour inside the farm from Mondays thru Sundays, 8AM until 4PM.
As we toured around Ato Belen’s Farm, we saw the containerized gardening area where lots of fruit-bearing trees planted on pots such as lemons, pomelo, wild cranberries, black pepper, chico, avocado, ginger, Japanese orange, lanzones, among others are displayed.
I never thought that you can raise a fruit-bearing tree in a pot and if you will look closely, most of them are already bearing fruits even if they are not on full size. Through grafting, the time to wait for the tree to bear its first fruits shortens, making you enjoy the harvest earlier than usual. WoW!. I want to start my own plantation already in our yard hahahha!
On a more serious matter, through the urban containerized gardening concept, the farm is planning to help the former drug surrenderees and will give them livelihood to help them start over again. Wow! ABF does not only mean business, they also want to share these natural blessings to others for social development.
Going back to our farm tour, ABF also has a plant nursery area which is also one of the main features of the farm.
Ato Belen’s Farm also raises livestocks like pigs and chickens to mention a few. As the farm applies zero-waste management practices, all waste materials from the poultry are being used to other purposes like for composts, vermicast, etc.. Also part of the farm’s zero-waste management activities are biogas production and solar-powered water supply.
ABF also offers farming inputs for NATURAL FARMING SOLUTIONS such as:
- VERMICULTURE(Vermicast, African Night Crawlers)
- EFFECTIVE MICROORGANISMS(LactoBac LAS-1, LactoBac LAS-1 Activated Pure Organic Compost)
- Fish Emulsion Concentrate
On the other hand, it’s ABF’s vision to have no Filipino family to go hungry again. That is the very reason why they are promoting family-based and sustainable organic agribusiness enterprises which they believe is a vital tool for economic empowerment. It does not only produce safe and healthy food for the family, but will also give or open an opportunity to earn for those who will pursue it and make it as a business.
In connection to what I said above about business, these green houses are part of ABF’s joint investment project for vegetable production with the overseas Filipino workers. Imagine, the fruits of their hard work will not go into waste since they invested to something productive and income generating.
Summing up, all the organic farming practices of Ato Belen’s Farm are anchored under these three dimensions of sustainable agriculture: Environmental development, Economic development, and the Social development. And as they continue to apply these things, definitely, can change so many lives for the better.
HOW TO GET THERE:
ATO BELEN’S FARM
367 BRGY. SAN JUAN SAN PABLO CITY, LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES
Contact Number: ( 049 ) 562 1215, Sales: 0917 676 1915, Marketing: 0917 676 1908
For more information about Organic farming, you may visit:
Agricultural Training Institute | Home of e-Extension in the Philippines
Elliptical Road, Diliman Quezon City 1100 Philippines
Trunkline: (63-2) 9298541 to 49 1800-10-982AGRI (or 1800-10-9822474) -for provincial toll-free calls 02-982-AGRI (or 982-2474) – for Metro Manila
Fax no. (63-2) 9209792
Department of Agriculture www.da.gov.ph