On June 2-4 the ESSA Secretariat conducted it’s Sustainable Agriculture workshop for a class of high school students (and a handful of LGU officials and farmers) from Brgy. Cabugao, New Lucena. The training was initiated by Municipal Mayor and ESSA council member Liecel Seville, who also attended the training. She chose the students from the baranggay as they are the only area which provides the Agriculture strand as part of their senior high school program. Aeon Mapa and Enrique Canizares represented ESSA as facilitators and speakers.
The first day was held at Brgy Cabugao basketball court and the youth were briefed on the problems of conventional agriculture as well as the climate emergency. They were also taught the importance of working in harmony with nature and how the soil is a complete ecosystem which, when in good condition is enough to keep plants nourished.
On the second day, the participants were able to build a biodynamic compost heap. The activity was held in New Lucena’s municipal ecopark. The area was a flurry of activity as the students ran back and forth gathering the material needed to construct the 6x6x6 compost heap. It was quickly finished. The Mayor pointed out to the students the importance of hard work in creating successful farms, noting that you could make money just making compost. Afterwards the students were given a briefing on the intelligence of plants, and how they are able to protect and nourish themselves.
The third and final day concluded with the creation of a demo plot where the students could apply all that they learned. They learned to prepare permanent beds without heavy tilling, and how to plan based on the sun and slope. They practiced amending a bed using only composts and no fertilizer, organic or otherwise. The activity concluded with the planting of Adlai seeds, which upon harvest can provide the students with a starter supply to plan on their own farms. The final part of the workshop was the stirring of the Biodynamic preparations. The students were very surprised to learn that the preparation was so potent, and learned that this was due to the fact that we were working with energy, not just physical matter.
The activity concluded with a harvesting of realizations. Many of the students and some of the adults expressed that they now had a new outlook on the world. They realized that they needed to be more conscious of how they live and farm in order to heal the earth and create a better future for humanity.