Sustainable Agriculture for the Community of Baluno | Feb 02, 2011

Farmers are among the most involved, hands-on caregivers of the earth. Fr. Sebastiano D’Ambra, PIME, the founder of

Silsilah, intuitively recognized the need for small farmers to be trained so they become conscious tillers of the earth, and with dignity and compassion give their contribution in caring for all of God’s creation. This is the reason why Silsilah is strongly pushing for the Dialogue with Creation (DWC) program within the Movement.

Through a holistic ecological active harmony approach, the DWC program provides humanitarian extension work for the farmers, giving them technical assistance, training and support services.

Through the DWC farmers are trained in biodynamic agriculture and other methods in alternative agriculture towards a living-agriculture system and continuing “best indigenous practices” orientation. Training is done out of the Escuela del Siembradores (EDS), a farm school. The farmers go to the school and the school goes to the farmers –and practical hands-on learning experiences are made concrete, the better for the farmers to understand all aspects of life-giving processes in nature.

Formation of the whole person is a key area in the DWC program. Farmers/fisher folk are given knowledge and increased awareness of the ecological active harmony approach in a culture of dialaogue. Qualified farmer leaders are trained as resource persons for Sustainable Agriculture and Community Organizing. Technical assistance is given with appropriate technology for the conversion of farming from the use of chemical treatment to an organic way for enriching the soil, with conscious effort at action research.

To help the farmers gain knowledge and skills which will help improve their existing practices on rice and corn production, the farmers underwent a seminar on  “Dialogical Approach on Sustainable Agriculture for Harmony and Peace” on January 27-31, 2011 at the Harmony Village in Pitogo, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City.

The learning process on discovering and re-discovering the gifts of God in nature, starting from one’s own land and cultural heritage, will be an emphasis to find life-giving solutions to answer existing problems affecting food security and ecological harmony.

In an interview with Ms. Josephine Cagurangan, an avid promoter of environmental conservation and is the coordinator of DWC, she said that among the objectives of the seminar are to teach the farmers “how to be consciously tending the soil with integrity in a holistic dialogical approach”. The farmers will also be taught that “what is observed from actual farm experiences and what one can read in the phenomenal formative forces of nature are important skills to be enhanced.” She also said that “… Culture of Dialogue will be discussed as an important learning foundation to be lived on a daily basis in a farming community.”

At the end of the seminar, the 30 farmers from the community of Baluno individually presented their own farm plan of action on how to build a healthy living farm that would sustain a healthy dialogical life style.

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