Giving urban areas a touch of nature:
The Department of Agriculture hosts the annual Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF), which opened the door of opportunity to the youth to venture into agriculture-related business.
Through the YFCF Program, five young agripreneurs who were declared as Regional Level winners representing the National Capital Region—Anna Beatriz Suavengco, Jerome Sombilon, Aisha Cruz, John Eric Aggarao, and Beatrice Xzandrine Roces—were able to start not only a profit-making business but also a movement that invites more youth to be involved in Philippine agriculture.
Modern farm in the city
The City Farm in North Signal Village, Taguig City is an enterprise that boasts three striking features: the Go-To Store, the Garden Classroom, and the Farm Park. City Farm was indeed able to establish an online store for its consumers and provide beginner-friendly and immersive hands-on training to those who are interested in farming.
City Farm brings people closer to their food source and produces hyperlocal food that reaches tables within 24 hours of being picked and packed. Powered by state-of-the-art watering technology, it offers clean, fresh, and pesticide-free lettuce of different varieties.
The team of five are experienced in urban horticulture, landscape design, content marketing, customer relations, and financial planning. They are also backed by the Taguig City Government and an American hydroponics company. City Farm has been invited by several students from different universities to participate in their research paper, and this shows the recognition of their target market for the business. Its Facebook page already reached 1,092 followers, while its Facebook group “Hydroponics and Gardening Community” is comprised of 263 members.
Envisioning the future
City Farm champions the Grow Your Own Food movement in land-scarce and highly urbanized cities like Taguig. From building do-it-yourself greenhouses to sprouting and harvesting, it teaches everyone how to turn any space—big or small—into a highly productive garden that grows food all year round. It also offers a veggie box, a biweekly subscription box that is full of healthy, hydroponically-grown greens.
Inspired by the traditional paiwi or paalaga system, the farm gives opportunities for the urban farmers to earn and the customers to own a mini edible space at the farm. City Farm strongly believes that urban farming is more than just-food. With this, City Farm’s goal is to combine urban greening with therapeutic horticulture and to use it as a tool to improve mental and emotional wellbeing and social participation in the community.
As a team that values creativity and innovation, the five agripreneurs are also working toward building a farm that exemplifies sustainable, modern, and smart farming #agriculture4.0. They launched the soft opening of produce last December 2021 to January 2022, where they sold out all of their produce from their initial production. City Farm also campaigns for #agriCOOLture that captures the attention of the youth. This is where they started to involve themselves by participating in retracing and strengthening Philippine agriculture and promoting the concept of “farming is sexy.”
Together with 91 youth volunteers, City Farm is spearheading the urban farming movement in the city and is working toward the bigger goal of making the Philippines enter the global urban farming landscape along with Singapore, Paris, New York, and China. With its 2,000-square-meter urban farm at the roofdeck of the North Signal Barangay Hall, City Farm can serve approximately 300 urban families.
This is just the start. As City Farm expands and innovates, it will soon dominate all condominiums, subdivisions, and villages in Taguig such as the Bonifacio Global City, McKinley, Acacia Estates, and Camella. It aims to grow an urban farm community wherein anyone can enjoy, learn, and earn through agriculture. As this big mission requires a big team and a big investment, City Farm welcomes everyone who wishes to be part of their growing family in transforming one community, one city, one nation at a time. ###