With almost 30 years in the farming industry, one thing that Renato “Ato” Belen summarizes his learning, “go to organic farming.”
Ato Belen’s Farm started in 1987 as plant nursery and later on developed to a full farm with mostly fruit-bearing trees in place.
It was only until 2006 after typhoon Milenyo took a toll on the farm, that Ato Belen’s Farm embraced the conversion of the property to an integrated and diversified organic farm.
True enough, that the organic agriculture proved to be more rewarding in the long haul for the farm as it made Ato Belen’s Farm more sustainable and self-sufficient. The 1.2-hectare farm is now one of the ATI’s learning site in Laguna.
Brian Belen, one of the son’s of Renato, is currently taking the lead in developing the farm after turning his back from the corporate world embraced the soil. For years now he is continuing main goal of the family farm : for every Filipino not to go hungry ever again.
The farm implements a zero-waste management program that’s why Ato Belen’s Farm is utilizing every bit of natural resources to make the farm productive. Portions of the vegetable and fruit harvests go to the animal feeds, while the animal wastes are used as part of the fertilizers for the vegetables and trees. Same with the water supply of the farm, part of it is now pumped using solar-power. While biogas from the hogs are being produced as well.
Though the 1.2 hectare space might be small, as compared to big farms within the region, but with the proper spacing of the farm, the land area is very much utilized at the same time organized.
Ato Belen’s Farm has area for green houses that serve as planting area for high value vegetables like lettuce. The green houses are joint investment project of Ato Belen’s Farm with overseas Filipino workers.
The other sections of the farm have the piggery, vegetable seedling, tree seedlings and the urban farming area. I find the container gardening of select crops to be a good sample for people who want to go into farming but do not have enough space yet.
Some of the successful crops in the containers are: black pepper, chico, avocado, ginger, lanzones, Japanese orange, proving that there’s a way to growing plants and trees, even with less space.
As part of the farm’s social responsibility, Ato Belen Farm’s partnered with the local government of Laguna to teach drug “surrenderees” about container gardening as a livelihood program.
Currently, Ato Belen’s Farm is entertaining visits to the farm. The farm is open from Monday to Sunday from 8am-4pm.
Well, how I wish we are relatives so at least I could have free supply of organic vegetables and fruits. Hahaha!
But seriously, after the hearing the lessons from both Ato and Brian Belen, there is no denying that going back to basics, to the natural course of farming is THE way to go. This is to rehabilitate our lands, make food supply more sustainable, healthier produce and better earning potential for farmers.
Ato Belen’s Farm
Brgy. San Juan, San Pablo City, Laguna
Phone: ( 049 ) 562 1215
0917 676 1915 ( Sales )
0917 676 1908 ( Marketing )
For trainings and learnings on organic farming, contact the Agricultural Training Institute for teaching sites near you.
Agricultural Training Institute
ATI Building, Elliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City 1100 Philippines
Trunkline: (63-2) 9298541 to 49
Fax no. (63-2) 9209792
1800-10-982AGRI (or 1800-10-9822474) – for provincial toll-free calls
02-982-AGRI (or 982-2474) – for Metro Manila