Mrs. Alicia Valdoria, 45 years old, learned about how well organic foods are for the body through training in her previous job in a non-government organization (NGO). Her journey towards organic farming, however, began in 2015 when her husband, Mr. Carmello Valdoria, 50 years old, was diagnosed with diabetes.

Instead of taking synthetic medicines for maintenance, they opted detoxification through organic foods and never stopped. Mr. and Mrs. Valdoria converted a threehectare conventional farm in Ilayang Bukal, Tayabas City, Quezon, into an organic farm, now known as Yumi’s Farm which was named after their only child, Naomi.

With the help of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IVCALABARZON, through appropriate training, assistance on necessary farm inputs, tools and equipment, and other interventions, Yumi’s Farm was able to take off the ground. DA through the Regional Organic Agriculture Program provided the organic seeds, concoctions, fertilizers, greenhouse, and other needs of the farm that Mrs. Valdoria said helped them minimize the costs of their production.

Today, Yumi’s Farm supplies organic crops, mainly iceberg lettuce, to the Tayabas City market and other sure buyers who are always waiting for their produce. The demand for organic produce has been astounding. They sell 50 kilograms of it almost every day at P200 per kilo. The farm now needs to work on a new system that would allow them to go on sustainable mass production of lettuce to be able to supply the demand of restaurants and M Yumi’s Farm Success Story: In Harmony with Human and Nature by: amylyn rey castro 12 hotels in nearby areas which already showed interest to have business with them.

Beyond just farming

Mrs. Valdoria was awarded as Outstanding Small Farmer (Individual Category) in the Regional Organic Agriculture Achievers Awards (ROAAA) 2018. She was also nominated for Outstanding Organic Farmer for Regional Gawad Saka 2018 – 2019. But the success of Yumi’s Farm goes beyond bringing organic foods to more consumers. It was instrumental in the formation of Ilayang Bukal Organic Farmers’ Association (IBOFA), helping about 49 families earn and put healthy foods in their table through organic farming. Through Mrs. Valdoria’s leadership, they also teach children about organic farming and conduct values formation for them. In fact, she first taught organic farming to children. They also send children of farmers to school and hope to be able to sustain the sponsorship until they reach college. Other opportunities have also opened to Yumi’s Farm. It has become a destination for retreats, camping, and team buildings, and a venue for various events like baptisms and birthdays. They are able to educate people about organic farming and bring visitors closer to nature. Located also in the farm are strawberry and herbs garden, air plants, mushroom, seed nursery, stingless beehive, organic vegetables, native pigs and chickens, and rabbit ranch. “Walang sayang sa organic. ‘Yong nakukuha namin sa kapaligiran ay ibinabalik din namin sa kalikasan,” Mrs. Valdoria said. “Kung hindi natin papalaganapin ang pag-o-organic, Yumi’s Farm Success Story: by: amylyn rey castro 13 balewala rin ang five percent na nag-o-organic. Dapat naiintindihan talaga ng mga tao ito,” she emphasized. Mrs. Valdoria hopes that Yumi’s Farm will become an inspiration for many people to cultivate their own organic foods. She hopes to duplicate the farm’s initiatives to other places because she believes that organic farming can help improve the lives of many families and address hunger problems.

Small efforts with ripple effects

Yumi’s Farm has come a long way in just four years, and Mrs. Valdoria says she is thankful for the DA’s help. “Kasi sila ang unang nakatulong sa ’kin para maabot ko ang lahat ng ‘to. Kahit na gusto kong mag-farming, kung wala akong mga gamit at interventions galing sa DA at kung walang trainings, ‘di ko makakaya.” She added that government agencies are of big help in providing training and resources. We can change the world through small efforts with ripple effects, and the government aids in making a bigger impact. “Lahat ng mayro’n kami na makikita n’yo ay galing lahat sa DA. Kaya no’n pa lang ay naengganyo na kami na magpursige.” Mr. and Mrs. Valdoria continue to manage and improve their Yumi’s Farm. Their 74-year-old father, who started farming when he was 20, has also shifted from conventional farming to organic farming. He and Mr. Valdoria do not take any maintenance medicine. “Yan ang magandang return on investment namin,” Mrs. Valdoria cheerfully concluded.

source: Regional Field Office Calabarzon