New training centre at Pedalling Eco Farm

Columban missionary Fr. Oliver McCrossan set up an organic farm to help struggling tricycle workers in the Philippines. Virgie Vidad writes about the latest developments at the farm including a new training centre. The December 2021 Far East magazine first published this article.

In 2019, the Pedalling Eco Farm was set up for tricycle drivers. The aim was to create an organic farm managed by the families of the tricycle drivers which would help support them as well as those with disabilities.

On the farm, organic vegetables such as kangkong, radish, lettuce, kale, beans, pachoi, herbs, fruit trees, ornamental, eggplant and many more are grown. A portion of the farm is utilised for aquaponic, where waste from fish is used to fertilise the vegetables.

During the pandemic, this Pedalling Eco Farm programme showed how growing vegetables, even in a small area, helped a lot to the families. It is run as a profit-sharing venture.

Recently, people have begun coming to the farm for training in organic vegetable production, organic fertiliser production and to learn how to grow vegetables using aquaponic. Seeing their needs, we tried to share our expertise to help them with income generation but also to teach people about care for the earth and protecting the environment through farming that avoids chemicals in the growing of vegetables.

On the farm, we use compact features such as raised beds, container gardening, and a vertical garden using bamboo and organic materials. We also produce organic fertilisers and concoctions using fruits, plants, seaweeds, fish amino and indigenous microorganisms (IMO).

Our previous training programmes were run using a small cottage as our venue or sometimes under a banyan tree. Now there are more people coming who want to learn about our technology, and so we needed a larger training centre to accommodate them. With the help of Fr. Oliver McCrossan and his supporters we were able to start construction on this new centre.

The training area will cater for up to 50 people, with a mini library for those undertaking the courses in farming, two dorms for male and female students, a kitchen, a dining area, a storage room of farm tools and equipment and a dedicated room for the preparation of the organic fertilizer. At the moment we need help in finishing the roof and constructing the first floor to enable us to use it.

The Pedalling to Live programme is grateful to those who have financially supported us and helped us to fund this construction. Your support has made our dream come true and helped us support many poor families to produce their own food.

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