CITEM: Local Farm Connects with Nature Through Eco-Farming

Pasay City, Philippines, July 09, 2010 --( Driven by how the Earth is exhausted from the mismanagement of its resources, the people from Herbana Farms in Calamba, Laguna uphold sustainability through the agroecologic approach to farming, which provides a fuller view of agriculture’s relationships with plants, animals, humans, and the rest of the surrounding environment.

Herbana Farms is a 4-acre ecological organic demonstration farm with a vision to build the “greenprint” for the self-sufficient organic lifestyle of the future, and as such has a two-fold purpose: to produce medicinal and culinary organic crops, and livestock; and to cultivate agroecologic wisdom in the fertile minds of locals who wish to learn the different natural farming technologies like Permaculture, a traditional garden design considered to be the most productive and efficient among gardens.

“Sustainability is the ability to sustain production in perpetuity,” said Gil Carandang, owner and lead farmer of Herbana Farms. “In sustainable agriculture, the focus is the soil, its ability to produce food forever.”

As a full-time farmer and Fulbright scholar, Carandang conducts 6-month apprenticeship programs in Herbana, as well as seminars and workshops on topics including sustainable bio-intensive mini farming, ecological architecture and organic landscaping, and mushroom culture, to name a few. He is also a passionate advocate of using beneficial indigenous microorganisms found in the soil like ginger-garlic fermented extract (a bionutrient and natural antibiotic dietary supplement), banana squash papaya (BSP; a flower-fruit inducer), and the beneficial pest (a natural pesticide plant extract), as tools for farming sustainably.

For Carandang, there is “no other way but to be sustainable. The impact of Ondoy and Pepeng tells us [that]… whether we like it or not, the norm of the future is green.”

Other amenities to be found in Herbana are roofless solar showers made of recycled pine wood and pebbled stone floorings that use solar energy for heating; and the rocket oven, which generates a roaring, rocket-like sound as the heat from burning wood is sucked from a smaller chamber to a bigger one, creating the venturi effect that increases air velocity.

Eco-tourism options are also available that provide such packages as “Own a Farm Over the Weekend”, seasonal garden plot leases, and guided tours.

Herbana Farms is a member of the Organic Producer Trade Association of the Philippines, the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines, as well as the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement.

More to gain in going green

In August, Herbana Farms will be among green-driven businesses, eco-entrepreneurs, government advocates, industry organizations, and green representatives from the academe, in joining the first Philippine International Eco-Show (PInES) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. Carandang, a member of the event’s Advisory Board, hopes to enlighten the public on green issues, and consequently pave the way for the trading of green merchandise and services.

“There is the need to adopt natural capitalism as the [future] direction of industries… [as] the green industry is definitely lucrative,” he said. “As we move on to this green philosophy [that is] a paradigm shift of minds, then the industries supporting this philosophy and goal will [also] be in the front run.”

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the current global eco-market amounts to around 330-410 billion EURO. For 2010, the market is estimated to hit US$50B in Southeast Asia alone.

“Through the Philippine International Eco-Show, we hope to raise awareness and inspire change in the way people treat their environment,” said Thelma Dumpit-Murillo, Deputy Exec. Director of the Consumer Business Department of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, and main organizer of the event. “We are looking for partners for this project who share the same vision of a greener world.”

For information on how to participate in the event, log on to

Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions
Denise Melendres
(632) 831-2201 to 09