By Emiko Perea
In the Philippines, you’ll see hills of rice fields and other farmland with dedicated farmers working on them, providing crops for their families and communities. Even though the country relies heavily on its farmers, according to the Phillippine Statistics Authority, the poverty rate among farmers in 2015 was about 35% due to a lack of funds and support from the government. To make matters worse, the soil became overdosed with chemical fertilizers and pesticides from decades of farmers using them for crops, which not only harms the health of animals and people but also hurts the overall environment.
In July, Global Peace Foundation’s (GPF) ongoing All-Lights Project helped farmers grow vegetables organically to be sold at the organic market every week. GPF joined the committee of the National Empowerment and Development Exchange (NEEDEX) as a partner among a network of organic farming practitioners. While GPF trained the farmers, NEEDEX provided the farmers with the seeds for organic farming and created the organic market the produce was sold, even buying leftover produce. The push for organic farming has been an important aspect of sustaining the natural environmental cycle. Besides creating healthier conditions for the local community, this project is helping farmers provide wealth for their families and stimulate communities.
GPF and NEEDEX spread the message on organic farming to parents and teachers during the Camp Tinio Elementary School’s Parents and Teachers Association General Assembly. The community was taught that organic farming had lasting effects that would improve their quality of life and preserve the environment.
The All-Lights Project volunteers and staff are committed to providing ongoing service in the Philippines, meeting with the Municipal Mayor of Bongabon to provide updates and helping the local council manage the continued development of communities. Recently, the All-Lights Project has also helped upgrade the water facility, as well as replacing solar panels, resulting in the continued production of clean and safe water.