Friends-of-Farmer: An update
Last June 2022, we launched a call for help as the climate crisis has grown in intensity and our small farmers bear the brunt of destructive weather. With no crop shelters or only makeshift ones, incidences of plant diseases, stunting, or damaged harvests are on the rise.
With Friends of Farmers (FoF) we wanted to help protect our farmers' livelihood and ensure their food and nutrition security (and ours!) in these extreme times.
160+ friendships for the farmers
Many of us rallied behind our farmers and showed our support in the multiple ways we know how. We celebrated the diversity and flavor of local and seasonal harvest in a successful salu-salo, and screenprinted and wore our gulay love on our sleeves.
We also had the chance to collaborate with partners big and small such as Komunal Market and SubZero Wolf who, with their support, amplified the call of farmers and civil society for systemic, sustainable, rights-based solutions to the climate emergency.
Og-ogbo benefit dinner with Toyo
Inspired by the Igorot principle of og-ogbo, which means collective action towards a common goal, our good friends at Toyo Eatery held a special dinner to help raise funds to build the much-needed rain shelters, fund farmer-led research work, and conduct workshops that will strengthen their climate resiliency plans. Artists donated their one-of-a-kind creations to the cause for a raffle that allowed more people to participate in the fundraising activity. Members of Barangay Toyo also had a chance to visit the farmers in the uplands and see firsthand the start of the construction of the rain shelters.
We've started construction!
Beyond the gratification of seeing the polytunnels standing in the different farms, equally important is how the project has helped build the strength of CROPO as a farmers' organization. As a community-led project, it meant conducting participatory dialogues and building consensus to be able to identify and take the next steps to become resilient and meet everyone's needs in the face of a fast-changing climate.
But the job's not done...
While we want to celebrate meeting the goal, we also know there’s much more we need to do. We know it takes more than rainshelters to build resilience.
Along with rain polytunnels we are continuing programs that will support our farmers through worsening climate conditions through sustainable and agroecological means:
Farmers' seed school training
Seeds are an important resource when talking of resilience. When seeds are freely saved and exchanged, they strengthen biodiversity conservation, culture preservation, and food sovereignty of a community--all of which are integral to mitigating the impacts of extreme weather and enhancing our abilities to adapt and thrive.
December of 2022, we partnered with Global Seed Savers Philippines and conducted CROPO's first Seed School, where the farmers re-learned and deepened their understanding of this ancient practice of seed saving, and reacquainted themselves to the rich bounty of possible food crops that we can grow to feed the country and become climate resilient.
Training on product & market development
Complementing our efforts to make our farmers' production practices resilient for better harvests is the creation of value-adding products that improve farmer income while addressing the needs of conscious customers living in the city looking for ecological and ethically made food products. With such training we hope to highlight local and indigenous varieties, celebrate culturally relevant food preparation and preservation practices that are also supportive of our health goals and minimizes waste.
There's still a lot of work ahead
Shaped by our conversations with our farmers, we designed Friends of Farmers to focus on strategies that recenter small farmers, promote local knowledge and appropriate community-led interventions, support women’s empowerment, and strengthen farmer-eater solidarity guided by the Pamayanihan model.
We look forward to replicating our climate resilience initiatives in Bauko, Mt Province, with our partner farmers in Capas, Tarlac, who face different climate risks to their farming and health such as extreme heat and drought.
Join our Friends of Farmers Circle
Friends of Farmers gathers conscientious eaters who wish to help Filipino farmers and support our campaigns and advocacy work. Receive updates and ways you can participate.