Shangri-La Hotel, Makati City---Retired Colonel Honorio S. Cervantes of Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro City recently nabbed The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines (TOFARM) Award (Urban Farmer Category) with a cash award and plaque of recognition at the TOFARM Search and Award ceremony held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.
Mr. Cervantes is an organic farmer practitioner and a proponent of square foot gardening. He is a sought after Resource Speaker on Square foot Gardening, a credit securely tucked under his belt aside from earning a Doctorate Degree in Crisis Management in Australia. He retired from the Philippine National Police in 2012 and was promoted to General.
When asked why he ventured in square foot gardening, “I went into it because of my passion for planting. Since I have only 300 sq.m area, I decided that square foot gardening is most appropriate for me. I’ve researched about it and studied it in the internet. Gardening for me is therapeutic. After all the chaos that I was exposed into when I was still with the Philippine National Police, I now crave for calmness and serenity. When I look at my garden and see the profusion of colors---green, yellow and red (tomatoes and pepper), I experience a different kind of peace. I feel stress-free and full of energy and enthusiasm. It is as if everything is alright in my world.” Mr. Cervantes said.
Another farmer partner of the center who emerged as national finalist under the Urban/City Farmer Category is Mr. Junah S. Bayag of Jaya Secret Garden in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. Junah is a graduate of BS in Education, with a passion for arts and culture. With his background, handling agriculture was a great challenge. With the help from the City Agriculture Office of Malaybalay, Junah learned agriculture and established his five-hectare lot teeming with greeneries as well as practicing his knowledge in Urban Edible Landscaping.
Meanwhile, Ms. Nemia Penita A. Buhian of the Buhian Diversified Farm in Initao, Misamis Oriental was 2016’s TOFARM Award and distinction winner (Woman Farmer Category). The 1.4 hectare Buhian Diversified Farm is one of the center's Learning Site (LS) partners with developed coconut-based products ready to enter the local market. Their products include virgin coconut oil, coconut vinegar, sweet tuba, coco bread, coco jam, coco sugar and a plethora of kakanins.
TOFARM is a project spearheaded by the Junior Chamber International Philippines (JCIP) and the Universal Harvester Inc. and is conducted every year in recognition of the resiliency, ingenuity and the strength of the country’s hardworking Filipino farmers.
The 2018 TOFARM Search and Award ceremony transpired on Monday, November 19, 2018.