“It’s not going to work”, with a mocking smile, my sister-in-law told me “You don’t have a business mindset.”
Early this year, my husband and I have decided to take a leap of faith and get a loan to buy farmland. I want to do organic farming. This is something that I’m very passionate about, and it’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Every time I pick fruits from our trees and take eggs from the coop, I feel so blessed and grateful. It strengthens my faith and removes all my anxiety.
Ever since the pandemic hits, I became obsessed with gardening. There’s always something new to discover in our small backyard.
This is me and my sister after removing the concrete floor to expand our garden.
We’ve got beans as our vines.
Eggplants and Okra as our perennials.
Petchay as our annuals.
Check out Pasture Cropping Online Course by Colin Seis to learn more about mixing perennials and annuals and animals.
But since we still got other work, we can’t work every day, so we got some helpers.
We hired compost worms as our recruitment team – YES! They produce micro-soldiers to be released in the field that will fight against pest and diseases. And what’s great about our recruitment team? Is that they also are our garbage and waste management team. AND they don’t need a lot of attention, just leave some food scraps and water. That will make them very happy.
Check out Compost Worm Online Course with David Davidson to learn how beneficial are worms and to start your worm farm.
We also hired chickens and ducks that do the pest control, aeration, and pruning of leaves. We put their manure back into the soil, and the soil gets a new batch of nitrogen and microbes, and the microbes deliver the nutrients to the plants.
The soil feeds the plants. The plants feed the animals. The animals feed the soil.
That is a Win-Win-Win!
Check out Soil Food Web Online Course by Dr. Elaine Ingham to learn more about life in the soil and why you don’t really need fertilisers.
One day, after a productive farm exercise, my sister and I had an amazing discussion.
*PLEASE SKIP THIS PART IF YOU DON’T LIKE MATH*
Currently in our 100sqm. backyard, we produce:
- 10-20 pcs of eggplants PER DAY out of 15 plants
- 10-20 pcs of okras PER DAY out of 15 plants
- 5 straws of beans PER DAY out of 10 plants
- 160 petchay for every 45 days, although we harvest almost every day since they don’t grow all at the same time.
- We still have some new batch of eggplants and okras coming too so we’re still not yet in 100% production.
- 30 chickens (20 hens and 10 roosters)
- 6 ducks (4 females and 2 males)
What if we multiple this 100sqm garden into 1,000sqm farm (which is multiple of 10)
Here’s our computation in the lowest possible produce with the lowest market price range here in the Philippines (1 US$ = 50 PHP)
- 100pcs eggplant is approximately 10kg. Price: $1.50 per KG. Total: $15 x 30 days = $450
- 100pcs okra is approximately 10kg. Price: $1.50 per KG. Total: $15 x 30 days = $450
- 50 bean straw is approximately 5kg. Price: $1.50 per KG. Total: $15 x 30 days = $450
- 1600 petchay. $0.10 per pc. Total: $160
PER MONTH: That is $1,510 for only 1,000 sqm area. So if we get 10,000 sqm (1 hectare) that’s $15K per month!
Note that the chicken and duck eggs and meats are still not included in there!
In a 1 hectare, if we have 1,000 chickens, with low average egg production of 50% (500 per day). Price: $0.10 per eggs. Total: $50 x 30 days = $1,500 on top of the crop produce.
Note that this is all in the lowest market price in the lowest average production.
And the good news with no-chemical farming is because it’s regenerative, you’ll expect to get higher and better yields each year.
Unlike fertilisers, when you apply it the first time, you’re plants are great but each season, your production gets lower and lower and your plants get worst and worst. You get more pests, so you have to spray more pesticides (additional expense). You get more diseases, so you have to spray more fungicides (additional expense). Your weeds are getting tougher so you have to apply more herbicides (additional expense). That is not profitable.
More expense means less profit.
I don’t want to end up like that. Farming is something that I want to do for the rest of my life so I want to enjoy farming! And I want my kids to appreciate this too.
Debating if organic farming
is a profitable business
Yesterday, I visited my in-laws and the topic arises about the farm that we are purchasing. I told them I’ll be doing organic farming and they were strongly suggesting that the plants won’t succeed without fertilizers.
My husband, although we have the same dream, he doesn’t believe in organic farming as a business. His family is firm that organic works only as a hobby but not as a business. They believe in the conventional method of farming is a sure way of making a profit. And I can’t blame them because that’s what everybody is doing. You will be ridiculed if you do otherwise. They know some people who got rich because of this method and they don’t know anyone who succeeded with organic farming.
And while I was explaining why I don’t want to use fertilizers and pesticides because it’s not healthy and so so, my sister-in-law ridiculously smiled, “That’s not going to work, that is not business. I work at the market, people don’t care if it’s organic or not. They’re not asking where it came from. In business, you need fast production, expense is always a part of it. Other people will outrun your success if you think like that and you will be left behind.”
I told her, “It’s not only the expense. Our generations, especially our children, they will be the one who will suffer if we don’t change our ways. We don’t need a lot of money to be successful. ” And she said, “You probably don’t need a lot of money, how about your children? What if they get sick, you need to prepare for them.”
“They won’t get sick, because I am preparing them to be healthy,” I said. “Well, you never know.” she teases.
And this is where I left saying, “We all have our own principles and I don’t care whether I make a profit or not. But I want to sell food that is healthy because I believe you should do what you know is good and God will take care of you.”
I feel so anxious to make this no-chemical, all organic farming work and I want to show them that it is actually better!
So yeah, I probably don’t have a business mindset as they do but I think I have an investor mindset. I look at long-term gain instead of short-term profit.
And I have faith that I’m not the only one.
Do you have this same conversation with non-believers of no-chemical farming? Let’s hear it in the comment.
That’s my son enjoying harvesting eggplants.