Making a lasting impact to community, environment:
BAHAY TEKNIK: A GARDEN TO KITCHEN SOCIAL ENTERPRISE
The Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) National Level finalist Sandino M. Guinto, a 298-year-old agripreneur from Daet, Camarines Norte, was a young college student when he started to find his niche and realized that what he actually wanted to do in life was to uphold his family’s advocacies on environmental conservation.
“Sa dinami-rami po ng problema sa Pilipinas, I decided na i-build up ‘yong advocacies namin sa family and ‘yong business namin dito sa family, para ‘yong business ay hindi lang para sa kumikitang kabuhayan kundi nakakatulong din siya sa makakalikasang adbokasiya para may sense po,” Guinto said.
Advocating for an environment-conscious lifestyle
With strong influence from his father, who worked in several non-government organizations prior to teaching Agriculture in Camarines Norte State College, Guinto has found his purpose: to make a positive impact to his community and to the environment. This inspired him to establish Bahay Teknik: A Garden to Kitchen Social Enterprise in a 1,000-square-meter area in Barangay Mancruz, Daet, Camarines Norte.
After graduating from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, licensed landscape architect Guinto worked as a permaculture designer and trainer at the Philippine Permaculture Association in Marikina City, where he immersed in integrating permaculture to various farms nationwide. Equipped with skills in participative design workshops, community-based planning, and permaculture training, he decided to develop the business model for Bahay Teknik Product Development Services when he moved back to his home province before the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was imposed. Having a family who has diverse gifts but mutual advocacies worked to his advantage as they shared ideas and strategies on building the agribusiness during family dinners.
“Habang namimili sa palengke, napansin namin na napakaraming basura. Mula sa prutas, sa gulay, maski sa isda, sa iba’t ibang materyales pa na itinatapon lang. Nakita namin na ang laking sayang at ang laki ng impact nito sa ating kalikasan,” Guinto said.
Bahay Teknik, which Guinto personally manages, is a social enterprise that aims to provide practical solutions to issues confronting Filipino families. Registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) since March 2020, the enterprise has three business components: organic gardening, brick stoves and ovens, and waste recycling. Kitchen waste from cooking is recycled, while vermicast and compost are harvested and added to the garden to increase soil fertility. Garden produce is then harvested and cooked using a brick rocket stove and oven. Currently, the social enterprise offers easy to use products to help farming and gardening enthusiasts start their own organic gardening journey. It also promotes efficient cooking using cheap fuel, clean rocket stoves, and wood fired brick ovens. Bahay Teknik also produces efficient tools for waste to resource production.
Its existing product lines include pocket gardens or multi-storey gardens available for Php 1,500, worm buckets to make vermicast using kitchen scraps for Php 850, potting mix which costs Php 210 per 30-kilogram sack, and briquette press designed to turn scratch paper into fuel or seedling pods for Php 6,500. They also sell pizza hex ovens (Php 8,000), portable fire brick ovens for pizza making and rocket stove for efficient, non-charcoal cooking (Php 4,500), 13-diameter pizza stones (Php 500), double deck ovens (Php 10,000), and large dome ovens (Php 35,000). Among Bahay Teknik’s new income streams are vermicast for Php 25 per kilogram, black soldier fly box for Php 1,500 per unit, and dried black soldier fly larvae for chicken feed available at Php 300 per 500 grams.
Currently, Bahay Teknik’s market includes middle to high income households with access to the internet and are connected to their social media accounts. They plan to engage in Farm School on Wheels to promote its advocacies on organic farming to more rural communities in the province and establish its social capital. It also intends to serve as a marketing strategy by introducing Bahay Teknik’s innovations and products to more markets and building more networks.
“‘Yon ‘yong target namin sa business, na hindi lang kami mag-function para maging sustenable sa usapin ng pera kundi makatulong din kami. ‘Yong maka-integrate ‘yong waste recycling and waste reusing mula sa ibang industriya, magagamit namin tapos pagkakakitaan pa,” he said.
Finding an ally in YFCF
With the Php 50,000 cash grant he received as a Provincial Level awardee of the YFCF Program, he was able to start the construction of a small warehouse, develop a garden, fabricate his own compost tumbler or sieve, and pay for professional product shots of his existing product lines.
“Napakagandang inisyatibo ito ng DA para ma-push ‘yong mga like-minded youth para sa food sustainability at mga adbokasiya natin sa agrikultura. Malaking tulong ‘yong grant kasi napabilis at napaayos ‘yong operations namin,” he related.
Guinto shared that it reduced their product losses and provided a better and healthier working environment for his co-workers. Currently, Bahay Teknik employs four full-time workers and one part-time laborer.
As a young agripreneur, Guinto hopes to achieve his social and environmental goals of reducing improperly disposed kitchen waste in the municipality while increasing urban gardens. By doing this, he also aims to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Climate Action.
“Magkakaibang sistema pero magkakakonekta, ‘yon ‘yong Bahay-Teknik! Teknolohiya mula sa kalikasan para sa bayan, patungo sa kinabukasan,” he added.
Guinto and his enterprise also claimed one of the three YFCF Regional Level awards in the Bicol Region.
A friendly advice
Guinto advised his fellow youth to be diligent and to seize the opportunities being offered by the government to develop their potential. He also encouraged them to use their energy, time, and skills to make a difference in the community.
“Ang dami-daming problema ng Pilipinas na nakikita natin sa news, sa Facebook. Hindi sapat na mag-comment, hindi sapat na mag-share, hindi sapat na simply mag-like sa Facebook posts para mabago ang Pilipinas. Maliban sa pagboto sa darating na eleksyon, hanapin natin kung saan tayo magaling at gamitin natin ‘yung skills na ‘yun. Hanapin natin kung saan swak ‘yong ating skill set para makatulong sa kapwa. Hindi tayo nabubuhay para sa ating sarili. Gamitin natin kasi nakaka-fulfill sya emotionally, spiritually, tapos dahil ginagawa nating enterprise or business, hopefully, financially nakaka-fulfill din,” he added. ###