Going Organic, to Tell the Truth

Three great days in Bacolod. Taking part in a once-in-a-sweet-while workshop on organic agriculture in beguiling, bountiful Bacolod gave me three good reasons to go gaga over organic.

First reason. It’s health-promoting. Sans synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and genetic reengineering, organically grown foods are more nutritious and safe. It’s been said that people get sick because they have a genetic predisposition to a particular illness, or their lifestyle kind of did it for them. A big part of one’s lifestyle is the way one eats, or does not eat.

Second reason. Going organic speaks of a personal philosophy to be basically beyond the ballyhoo. Of course, carried to extremes, going organic can become excruciatingly fussy and fastidious. With the best of intentions, without big business or paranoia coming in, going organic speaks of the purest intention to go clean living and follow God’s natural laws.

No “specially formulated” fertilizers and pesticides, no genetically modified organism to grow oversized, instant, or cleverly manipulated produce. As we know, if we do not want to be intentionally obtuse about it, synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs bring a lot of uncalled for negative effects. Going organic shows that you care about yourself, others, and the environment.

Going organic is a principle of life by itself. If you seriously follow God’s natural laws, you choose NOT to create false impressions by deceit, half-truths, selective telling of information. If you are seriously going organic, you seek integrity, not just popularity. Going organic is a way of thinking and a way of life. (That is, if you’re in it as a matter of principle, not just for the show or the money.)

Grounded on this tenet, organically-growing farmers seek to make their products safe and healthy, even without a certifying body hounding their backs.

Third reason. People with the best intentions to help farmers, consumers, and the Philippine economy in general are going organic – not finicky organic but doing ethics-based growing and marketing organic products. Ramon and May Uy, as well as Ramon Peñalosa are agri-entrepreneurs (a phrase learned from Mr. Peñalosa) and Negros-based healthy farming advocates who come to mind.

They have embraced a well-intentioned mission to help not just themselves but others as well. Their successes sprang from a need and desire to overcome some form of beating from fate.

Many memorable moments linger long after leaving Bacolod. One of these is a powerful advice from Ramon Peñalosa, a true-blue Magsasakang Siyentista, for all of us seeking to make life worth living in this world: “If you want to succeed, have the following: one great love, one great passion, and many great rebounds."

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.