Gil Carandang, Father of Philippine Organic Farming
Almost everybody we interviewed for Pinoy Organics acknowledge Gil Carandang as their mentor and/or inspiration in the field of Philippine Organic Farming. Gil is regarded by colleagues and students in the agricultural community as the “Father of Philippine Natural and Organic Farming”.
He is a graduate of the Apprenticeship program on Ecological Horticulture, University of California Santa Cruz. He is a full-time farmer and owner of Herbana Farms and an Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP) inspector. He studied under John Jeavons of Ecology Action in Mid Peninsula in California on Sustainable Bio-intensive Mini-Farming and under Dr. Han Kyu Cho of Korean Natural Farming Association on Natural Farming Systems for Crops and Livestocks. He was an apprentice with Natural Farmers of Japan as well as at the Center for Agro-Ecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) of the University of California Santa Cruz in the field of Ecological Horticulture. He attended workshop on Biodynamics preparations with Biodynamics Association of Northern California and Permaculture Design Course with the Center for Natural Design, Los Osos, California.
He extensively lectures on beneficial indigenous microorganisms both in the Philippines and the United States. He brings the technology of using indigenous microorganisms as another tool for farming sustainably. People who have attended his seminars say that Gil is an extremely engaging, fun, and empowering teacher.
We were able to witness this when we met up with him in Salcedo Market few weeks ago. He was just unstoppable and it was almost impossible not to get inspired by this simple man to start farming, with or without hectares of farm land. The supposedly casual 15-minute chat lasted for about an hour that we almost forgot to buy his vegetable produce for our weekly consumption. After securing our basketful of organic vegetables, we bid him goodbye.
There was a commotion few minutes after we left his booth. The Mega Star Sharon Cuneta interviewed the Mega Farmer about his farm and the wide variety of local produce on the table of the Herbana Farms booth. Gil, as always, enjoyed explaining to Sharon the uses, benefits ad taste of each herb, vegetable and fruit she picked from the table.
If there’s one question that you can ask Gil, what would that be?