Ilocano organic farmer Nestor Acosta’s green message

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Old-style farming is considered to be modern again. The growing environmental concern in relation to unnatural farming practices such as genetic modification and the use of artificial chemicals has led many farmers worldwide to revert to quaint agricultural practices.

54-year old Nestor Acosta, a native of the town of Bacarra and a farmer for 34 years now, has gone back to the basics in regard to his farming methods. The year 2000 was a turning point in his life as a farmer. The words of a certain public servant — “Agpaili koma ti saba, ngem tattan isumetten itti agpaaway. Awan kadin itti daga itti away? (Bananas should be sent to the city, but now they are sent to the countryside. Are there no more lands in the countryside?)” — were like thunder to him. He took the public servant’s words as a challenge. He worked up a plan, leased additional pieces of land, and went back to natural farming techniques.

He uses only chicken manure fertilizer in his 10-hectare veritable organic vegetable and fruit farm. Through integrated farming, he is able to yield more high quality, better tasting gourd, bittermelon, papaya and long green beans which he and his family sell at their vegetable stall in the Bacarra public market. To date, he has 230 cinta and red lady papaya trees. His younger guapple trees are nearing maturity.

Manong Nestor has earned several awards for his outstanding efforts in sustainable agriculture. Four years in a row, from 1990-1993, he was awarded an Outstanding Farmer in Region I. He is also a Gawad Saka awardee for converting a wasteland into a year-round green integrated farm. In 2008, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Foresty, and Natural Resources Research and Development – Department of Science and Technology (PCARRD-DOST) sent him to Korea for a study-visit. “I learned much from that visit. It was an exchange of organic farming ideas between the Philippines, which I represented, and Korea,” he said.

I asked him what are the usual problems he encounters and he said, “So far, none.” He humbly adds, “It is good business for the family.”

Young red lady papaya fruits

Quality sitaw or long green beans

Balayang banana tree. Balayang banana heart is excellent for Filipino kare-kare dish.

Gourd (also known as patola or kabatiti) and ampalaya leaves are Ilocano favorites

“The whole town of Bacarra, as well as the entire nation, should adopt organic farming practices for better health and longer life,” Manong Nestor said when I asked him what he wanted to tell his fellow Ilocano farmers.

Nestor Acosta, Brgy. 40 Buyon, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, Philippines 63-926-6157764
Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

BE INVOLVED! — A reminder from Pagudpud

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We chanced upon this poster on the main entrance of Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpud, a town in Ilocos Norte with clear-cut objectives toward environment protection and conservation. To the LGU of Pagudpud, again, our congratulations on this great initiative. Clap, Clap, Clap!!

Learning from the Oidas: Working in harmony with nature

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A Mini Ecosystem

A Mini Ecosystem

surfers Mike and Alma Oida

surfers Mike and Alma Oida

Mike and Alma Oida of Kapuluan Vista Resort in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte are  synonymous with green. Their eco-design resort continues to attract the environment-conscious, the lovers of nature, healthy food, peace and tranquility. Now, they have managed to create their own organic garden. (Click to read related story)

On our recent visit to Kapuluan, we discovered great green gardening ideas that we need to share with you.

vermicomposting

vermicomposting

natural non-toxic fertilizers that don't smell or attract flies

worm castings, natural non-toxic fertilizers that don't smell or attract flies

cayenne pepper

cayenne pepper

swiss chard, also known as, silver beet or spinach beet

Swiss chard, also known as, silver beet or spinach beet

coriander

coriander

greenhouse gardening

greenhouse gardening

When we asked Mike what is the secret to raising healthy vegetables, he answered, “Basically, looking back where we left off… the classic style.” He and Alma grow sweet corn, cucumber, lettuce, spinach, chili, pepper, coriander and Swiss chard. Alma says, ” We are able to grow only for the restaurant, but that’s for now.” About the benefits of eating organically-grown veggies, Mike says, “It is believed to be more potent with nutritional values.” How does he deal with pests? “Gardening cooperatively with nature. Just leaving the pests alone.”

the green and delectable Hummus Burrito from Kapuluan's kitchen

the green and delectable Hummus Burrito from Kapuluan's kitchen

For the resort, we asked Mike what other eco-friendly practices  have they adopted lately — and he says, “EM, or effective microorganisms in organic waste management.” EM control odors, do all-purpose cleaning, reduce or replace all the cleaners, and recycle stuff like food leftovers, a good way to create a healthy environment. In gardening, EM cut on fertilizer costs, improve soil quality, soil health, and the growth, yield and quality of crops. These beneficial and effective microorganisms have many uses in other sustainable activities. “We’ve stopped using chemicals”, Mike added.

[photos by blauearth]

Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Click to read related post about Mike and Alma Oida