We care. You care- enough that you wish your flowers do little or nothing to harm the environment or your health, enough that the workers who plant, grow and harvest your flowers are happy. That is why you purchase eco-friendly bouquets that are sustainably grown. We celebrate nature, everything that is beautiful, vibrant and healthy.
What is Sustainable Agriculture? Our goal is to tread lightly on the planet. We are mindful of the acts we do in our Philippine Flower Farm, knowing that each act of tilling, growing, harvesting and packaging, can do damage or save the planet. One of the most concrete steps we do this is through implementing sustainable agriculture. When we grow or harvest our Philippine flowers, we remove some nutrients from the soil. If we do not replenish these, the land suffers and we can no longer use the soil for farming. Sustainable agriculture means replenishing the soil while minimizing the use of non-renewable resources, such as natural gas or mineral ores. We engage in concrete steps to ensure that our Philippine Flower Farm produces flowers indefinitely, without causing irreversible damage to the health of an ecosystem. This would entail redefining our practices and processes on the soil, to produce Philippines flowers and foliage that are not only profitable but also healthy. The second is socio-economic, where we enhance the quality of life of our farm workers. Sustainably grown goes beyond organic, as organic refers only to specific chemical and pesticide free practices. Sustainability embraces a much broader perspective and deals not only with production but also in environmental and eco-system issues, and social matters such as the farm’s workforce and community.
We have been fortunate to work with and among Philippine indigenous tribes or natives. They have worked with us imparting the wisdom and heritage of their ancestors on Philippine flower farming. These include sustainable farming techniques that rely on natural methods handed down from generation to generation by the Talaandigs; the Higaonon; and Bukidnon farmers. Alongside their wealth of knowledge on natural methods, we have merged technology and science, to implement agricultural techniques that build our Philippine flower farm soil fertility, while protecting our air, water and wildlife. We have merged and developed a deeply rooted natural system of production, pest management, and weed and fungal control. Among these:
- We practice natural methods on cover cropping, composting, and crop rotation;
- Our main source of soil fertility is legume cover crops, which provide nitrogen, micro nutrients and organic matter. We use nitrogen-fixing and leguminous plants that are native to our farm, that form symbioses with nitrogen-fixing bacteria called rhizobia. These are plants that modern farming would have otherwise deemed as weeds. The natives have taught us to use these plants as a viable source of fertilizer. Also, the cover crops provide habitat for beneficial insects, keeping pests very low. Our farm prides itself with beneficials such as lady bugs;
- Our farm has learned to rely on natural controls for soil-borne diseases and to ward off pests. Among these, we use natural insect traps, neem tree extract, milk, fish emulsion and beneficial bacteria and fungi to treat our soil;
- Our fertilization methods use organic compost, fish emulsion and earthworm castings among other biological sources;
- We hope to eliminate the use of toxic and persistent chemicals found in industrial pesticides and herbicides. That way, we control pests and diseases with the least environmental impact, phasing in organic products over time;
- We harness nature by using natural organisms such as local earthworms to turn organic matter into fertilizer; and
- We have learned to follow the cycles and phases of the moon in scheduling our pest management and control, taking into account that the life cycles of these creatures that coincide with the moon’s phases.
We embrace these practices in our Philippine Flower Farm and adopt them in our daily tilling, growing or harvesting. By relying on the knowledge handed by those whom we believe are most in tune with nature and the earth, we build healthy and rich soils to produce Philippines flowers and plants that are healthy and thriving.
Resource Conservation and Energy Efficiency
Our Philippine Flower Farm encourages careful water use, energy saving initiatives, greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts and product packaging minimization.
- Our Philippine Flower Farm infrastructure has been planned and built bearing in mind our carbon footprint. Our greenhouses are built using renewable resources or recycled material. Among these are bamboo, wooden pegs, stones, old tires, and similar materials;
- We have designed and positioned our greenhouses to ensure that we use the least amount of energy for our crops. Our buildings use natural ventilation, and rely on the strength or gentleness of winds for its natural ventilation. Thus, we eliminate the need for energy-powered fans;
- We rely on the forces of gravity for our irrigation, taking advantage of the gift of natural spring water, and use trickle- irrigation to conserve water and prevent erosion;
- Our irrigation systems do not use more water from the natural spring than is naturally replenished;
- Our toilets do not use water, but use a mixture of sawdust and beneficial bacteria; and
- Our greenhouses are designed so we can harvest and utilize rainwater to irrigate our plants and treat our Philippine flowers.
- We wish to have minimal or zero waste on our Flower Farm and encourage composting and recycling of our agricultural and non-agricultural wastes;
- We recycle crop waste, weeds, twigs (almost everything!) and livestock manure for composting; and
- Packaging materials to send flowers to the Philippines nationwide are recycled and reused over time.
Because of our efforts to use natural methods and products, and our minimal use of heavy equipment or machinery, we protect the ecosystems around the Philippine Flower Farm such as rivers and streams. Our growing practices ensure the vibrant life of ecosystems around the farm so that each flower, plant, and root, along with every beneficial insect, bird, earthworm, earth creatures, and in community with our farmers, uniquely share and contribute to ensuring healthy soils and healthy systems. For example, legumes used in green manuring provide nitrogen. Root crops help aerate the soil. Flowers serve as homes for beneficial insects and birds. The insects and birds in turn repel the harmful pests. Nothing is wasted, as leaves, flowers and all organic matter goes back to the soil and the earthworms feed on them, fertilizing our plants.
Taking Care of our People
Your flowers are the result of the dedication and diligence of a handful of farmers in Bukidnon, a number of them natives. They are led by Toto, a native from Bukidnon, whose passion for growing flowers is quite infectious. Our women team are led by Dadang, whose green thumb magically turns every plant green. Our farmers harvest the flowers at their peak freshness early in the morning. We try to get all the flowers in for processing before lunch. Early afternoon, our farmers are able to go home to tend their own farms or gardens, or play with their children. Our Flower Farm prides itself in ensuring a safe, equitable and healthy work environment. We provide our farmers with access to the principal needs. We also support our farmers and their local community through preferential hiring, purchasing, infrastructure improvements and community problem solving. We believe in balancing work and play, having passion for what we do, and celebrating the fruits of our harvest.
The farmers are now eagerly awaiting the harvest of their vegetable produce. We have started planting in small vegetable patches, using indigenous and local seeds such as lentils, okra, tomatoes, carrots and squash. The harvest of these vegetable gardens will put nutritious food on the table. The farm is also slowly building a Steiner-inspired daycare for the farmworkers’ little children. Their 2-5 year olds can play in a nurturing, imaginative and rhythmic setting while the farmworkers are busily tending the gardens.
Each Flower Depot bouquet is hand selected, carefully arranged, and shipped fresh from our Philippine Flower Farm, with the dedication and commitment to wholly move our farm from traditional and commercial practices to sustainable farming. We hope to transition to a sustainable, organic or biodynamic agriculture in the future. Our ultimate goal is to protect our environment and also enhance the lives of our workers, as they are free from unhealthy and toxic pesticides. By practicing sustainable farming, we hope to build a better and more sustainable future, and lighten our footsteps on the planet.
Our farm is a happy and vibrant ecosystem. In fact, our farm is home to birds, toads, earthworms, snakes, bees and and many many more. What does this mean for your flowers? Since our flowers are grown from vibrant plants, our flowers are also healthy with rich green foliage and bright brilliant blooms.
Flower Depot Inc.