How We Work With Filipino Farmers
Filipinos are becoming more aware of the plight of farmers, considered among the poorest despite the Philippines being an agricultural country with year-round growing capacity and rich tropical soils. Agriculture remains a neglected sector with nominal contribution to the country's GDP.
Good Food's CSA model provides conscious consumers a concrete understanding of how we help farmers. For example, among the biggest challenges that small farmers face in the Philippines are the lack of access to credit and support in logistics and infrastructure. To address these, Good Food works with the farmers to create a supply plan together and agree on fixed prices and minimum volumes to purchase throughout the year. The purchase guarantee and stable demand, enabled by the prepaid subscription of consumers in Metro Manila, secure the livelihood of the small organic farmers. This economic arrangement strengthens the farmers' commitment to organic farming and allows them to save money and enjoy a living wage.
According to the organizer of one of the farmers’ groups, when they worked with Good Food, it was also the first time that they were asked what they considered was a fair price for their produce. Small farmers usually have little to no say when it comes to pricing.
We understand that while organic certification is the global norm for quality assurance, it can be very prohibitive for small farmers in the Philippines and small businesses like Good Food.
One of the primary tasks of the team is to work with the farmers to make sure that the requirements of the Philippine National Standard for Organic Agriculture are observed as minimum standards of practice. No chemicals are used, no new forests are cleared for the production, and all items are traceable to the farms that grow them.
In 2020, Good Food started to work with PGS Pilipinas for the installation of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) in the farmers’ organisations in our network. As an alternative tool (and also complementary, if needed) to third-party certification and as a quality assurance system, PGS certifies food producers based on the active participation of the various stakeholders of the local food system. PGS prioritizes solidarity as an approach and its processes are built on the foundations of mutual trust and transparency, the sharing of knowledge and decision making, sensitivity to local contexts and the development of local economies—all of which are principles that community-shared agriculture upholds.
All these make PGS one of the most promising and successful tools for developing organic agriculture that is within the reach of small organic producers. Both PGS and CSA believe that sustainable agriculture and access to safe and healthy food are possible when the community shares these goals.