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Journey’s Farm:

A paradise in a backyard

Can you imagine a paradise in your own backyard? Even with a 1,200-square-meter lot, you can transform a small area into just like the Journey’s Farm.

Journey’s Farm in Iba, Zambales with variety of flowers, vegetables and fruit trees; a fishpond; native pigs and chickens; and, rabbits. Owned by Joey Alvior and his family, the farm is named after the couple’s fifth child—Journey

Walking the talk: the beginning of Journey’s Farm

Joey is a 44-year old, Agriculturist II of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) in Zambales. He has been in the government for 22 years. Joey is the Chief of the Crops Division and also the Alternate Focal Person for Organic Agriculture in the OPA. He attended the Training of Trainers in Organic Agriculture and Training of Trainers in Integrated Diversified Farming Systems conducted by Agricultural Training Institute (ATI)–Regional Training Center (RTC) III in 2011.

As a trainer, Joey saw how the farmers accepted the techniques in organic farming and applied them in their farms while the others did not. Then he realized that to be an effective trainer and advocate in organic agriculture, he must walk the talk.

Joey decided to put up a farm to be able to convince farmers to practice farming and for them see and believe on what he preached. This is the beginning of Journey’s Farm.

Joey and his family planted various vegetables applying the different organic farming techniques. Then he proposed it to become one of the ATI’s Learning Sites on Integrated Diversified Farming System in 2013. The ATI provided a P60,000 worth of farm inputs: native pig, native chicken, vermicompost, and other organic inputs.

The family that works together beats the challenge

Putting up a project like Journey’s Farm while working as a trainer for the local government unit is a challenge. As a farmer, he needed to wake up early in the morning to work in his farm, then go to the office. After office work, Joey goes back to his farm to feed his livestock herd.

His family became his partners in their farm. His wife, Melody, and children: Mark Christian who waters their crops, Neil Edrian helps in planting while Joy, May, and Journey are tasked to feed their rabbits and harvest vermicast.

With the savings earned from the income of the farm, the family was able to expand the farm to 200 square meters more. This was allotted for native pig raising and mushroom production.

The Journey’s Farm aims to showcase the Integrated Diversified Organic Farming Systems. Different stakeholders from other regions, farmers, enthusiasts, students, and even neighbors who are willing to go into organic farming come to visit the farm and learn from the techniques of Joey’s family in maintaining an organic farm like Journey’s Farm.

In 2015, he proposed a project to the ATI. The “bahay-kubo” briefing area became concrete and a nursery shed, a mushroom area, and a comfort room for visitors were constructed.

Aiming high — Journey’s Farm

As the time went by, Journey’s Farm did not only become a source of income, but more importantly became a venue for bonding moments of the Alvior family.

From a mere Learning Site, the Alvior family aims to make the farm a School for Practical Agriculture of the ATI and soon as a site for Farm Tourism. With this, Joey knows that they need to enhance the farm by adding more “bahay-kubo” for the lodging of visitors who wanted to stay overnight and to cater more clients. At present, aside from organic agriculture briefing, Joey offers consultation for free.

Creating a paradise in a backyard Joey says that “Una, dapat nasa puso mo at masaya ka sa ginagawa mo at pangalawa, dapat ma-involve ang pamilya mo sa mga proyekto.” You don’t need to find paradise, you can create one on your own even in your backyard.

Story by: Marife D. Cariño

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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.