Since the days that the current millennial – and younger generations – were children, they were told that farming is a job for the poor. That one should only consider farming as a last resort to earning a living.
The result of such thinking has had dire consequences across our country. The Bible verse that says, “…the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” apply both figuratively and literally in our country where the average age of a farmer settles at an alarming 57 years of age.
The youth are not interested in a job that people think is for the poor. Trading lands in any part of the country for pristine offices and uniforms in the big city, a life in the farmlands where the work is depicted to be hot, hard, and unfruitful is unappetizing to the younger generations that are said to be the hope of our nation.
This is exactly the kind of perspective that endangers the food supply of the otherwise well-provided-for Philippine country. And it is this same perspective that the 4H Club of Northern Mindanao have set out to change.
Last April 9 – 12, 2018, the 4H Club of Region 10 along with the Agricultural Training Institute held its 5Th Regional Youth Camp. With relevant lectures on subjects such as:
- Social Media and how it influences us,
- the opportunities for learning that ATI offers to 4H Club members,
- and how the government is pushing forward a more fruitful avenue towards making farms more profitable – namely, farm tourism –
There was plenty for the participants to think and ponder on regarding where they were in their lives and how they could change for the better to benefit, not just them, but their families, and communities as well.
The program also included contests that challenged the youth involved to bring out the best of their ingenuity and cleverness. The Edible Dish Gardening Contest, Farm Layout Competition, and Indigenous Plaque-making Contest were especially useful in demonstrating how we can make marketable and potentially income giving products and ideas out of materials and resources that are readily available to us as farmers.
The last night of the camp included the 4H Candle Lighting Ceremony, which was eventful for participants, organizers, and mentors alike. All were reminded of how we, as youth, must let our light spread in order to be a blessing to all those around us. This was followed by a bonfire in which a representative from each province was given time to tell others of how the camp had changed them. Many shared that their perspectives on farming were changed for the better, that they realized that farming was more than just digging in the dirt, and that they could be the change that their families and farms need.
These are the kind of changes that the 4H Club are bringing to our youth as they spread their influential message across cities, provinces, regions, and nations. May it continue to change perspectives among the younger generations in order that many will choose to go back to the noble art of farming and provide for peoples in the now and in the future.