Before ABK3 came to Barangay Cayang in Bogo City, 34-year old Lenith Puerte earned extra income from selling produce from her small backyard vegetable garden, in addition to her family’s income as laborers in the sugarcane farms. When they became part of ABK3, they were provided training on Natural Farming System (NFS) and were given a variety of seeds and farming tools. Lenith was very delighted and excited that she expanded her backyard garden for the new seeds. She harvested vegetables thrice a week and sold them to her neighbors and through her mother’s vegetable stall at the public market, earning her P100-200 per harvest. But that was before Typhoon Haiyan hit Visayas in November 2013.
The northern part of Cebu, including the coastal city of Bogo, was one of the badly hit areas of Typhoon Haiyan. Lenith’s family was among the thousands severely affected by the disaster. Power and water supplies were cut off, establishments were paralyzed, livelihoods were destroyed and food supplies became scarce. Lenith’s vegetable garden was among the casualties. During that time, families badly needed food to survive and were sustained by the aid that came from various organizations. But relief support only lasted for a few weeks. Affected families needed to get back on their feet and start again.
When ABK3 initiated the ALSA, Lenith’s family, along with 474 households in Bogo City, received new sets of seeds to help them re-establish a source of healthy and nutritious food for the family. But more than the food it aims to provide, the seeds became a symbol of hope that motivated mothers like Lenith to start again.
Nearly a year after the destruction of Typhoon Haiyan, Lenith’s vegetable garden is once again lush and thriving. The additional knowledge and technology she gained from trainings and seminars on Natural Farming the past year helped increase her harvest. Lenith’s enthusiasm for the Natural Farming System has spread to her children. As a result, fifth-grader Roneth, her eldest daughter and an ABK3 assisted child, will be competing in the Regional Investigatory Project this November 2014 in Cebu City with a fermented plant juice (FPJ) organic fertilizer as her entry.