By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao 

More people are beginning to realize the benefits of naturally-grown food. Aside from improving one’s well-being, it also lessens the use of chemical farm inputs, thus promoting healthy consumption and environmental-friendly farming. 

But how can the consumers tell if their produce is naturally-grown especially if there’s no certification that indicates so? 

Reden Mark F. Costales, the CEO of Costales Nature Farm in Majayjay, Laguna, says that there is one way to find out if produce is both safe and healthy and that is by getting to know the farmer who grew it. 

“Go to their gardens or farms and try to interview them. Ask them how they produce [their food], what kinds of fertilizers do they use, how do they deal with pests, what kind of medication to they use when plants and animals get sick, etc.,” Costales said during Slow Food Youth Network’s We Feed the Planet Philippines, their newest campaign to highlight the essential role of biodiversity and the Filipino youth in feeding the hungry planet.

He added that if the farmers follow natural farming practices such as composting and bokashi, then the consumers are in good hands. 

(Read more about composting here.)

“If you consume food, you have the responsibility to know how to produce food,” he said. 

A farmer by nature 

Reden Costales is the son of Ronald and Josie Costales, the couple behind Costales Nature Farms. This family farm is well-known as the pioneer in agritourism since it was the first to be recognized for its efforts. 

(Read the article about Costales Nature Farm here.) 

Costales Nature Farms is also a Certified Organic Farm that commercially produces organic high-value vegetables and herbs, as well as organic meat. It even supplies several big restaurants and supermarkets in Metro Manila. 

Hailing from a family of farmers, this millennial farmer has his fair share of farming experience and knowledge. So to share all this, Costales started vlogging around August of last year. 

Known as “The Agrillennial,” Costales caters farming tutorials to the Filipino market. 

(Read more about Reden Costales and his vlogging efforts here.)  

Other ways to secure safe and healthy food for consumers 

Aside from knowing the farmer, Costales pointed out several other ways to secure safe, fresh, and healthy food for the public.

This includes buying local produce. Not only will this result in fresher produce due to the minimal travel and storage time that the food has to undergo during the traditional supply chain, but it is also beneficial for farmers since they can directly sell their produce to the consumers at fair prices. 

Costales said that the ideal short supply chain starts with the farmers and ends with the consumers. A retail market can serve as a bridge but it’s better if the farmers get to sell their produce directly. 

Another way is to engage in community-based gardening. The idea behind this is that a community can grow their own food and they buy their own as well, creating a sustainable cycle that also provides livelihood for members of society. 

Lastly, Costales advised that those who want access to safe and healthy food can start their own backyard. This has a lot of possibilities depending on the available resources of the consumer. They can start container gardening if they are low on space and want to recycle used materials, and they can even use their kitchen wastes as compost or other farm inputs to help their produce’s growth development. 

These are only some of the ways that we can secure the quality of food that goes in our bodies. After all, we are what we eat. 

Watch the full video here