By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Ivy Sibincic is a Filipina journalist who is married to a Bosnian-Serb agriculturist, Slave. They have two daughters, Sofija and Natalija. Aside from sharing a bond in matrimony, the newlywed couple also has an affinity for farming and living sustainably.
They manifest this interest by turning their house, located in a village in the European country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, into a small farm.
“We grow a wide variety of native fruit trees, heirloom vegetables, nuts, berries, and annual crops for their year-round food supply that’s spread out over their property,” Ivy said.
She added that they also share their land with chickens, pigs, cows, and sheep which provides them with the meat that they need for consumption. Her husband Slaven also started beekeeping recently.
Just last year, the couple’s household was recognized by their municipality as “The Best Organised Country Home/Village Home.” With that recognition, the Sibincic family hopes to become an inspiration for others to start their farming dreams and lead a sustainable life.
But aside from promoting sustainability and farming, Ivy also has another item on her agenda.
“As a Filipino, I grow almost all the Asian vegetables available and I proudly share these with the people here in Bosnia. They are all aware of the benefits of each crop as I always promote it to them. The most favorite of my family and friends here is the bitter melon (ampalaya) and sweet potato (camote),” Ivy said.
She added that they love to share and provide their family, neighbors, and friends, especially other Filipinos, with the produce from their harvest.
But Filipino vegetables aren’t the only things that Ivy shares with others.
“At the present, we share our excess seeds and seedlings with other families, friends, and neighbors, and we have gradually witnessed a rise in the number of kitchen gardens. The demand is increasing and we also decided to venture into selling heirloom seeds and Asian crop seedlings to other people,” she said.
Why she grows Filipino vegetables
One reason why Ivy grows Filipino vegetables in their European community is that it reminds her of home.
“It takes double effort to grow Filipino vegetables here but the deep joy and fulfillment of successfully growing them are immeasurable. It is like I am just still living in the Philippines,” she said.
Sharing their harvest with others also inspires her to keep planting vegetables from her own country because she can see how they appreciate it and respect her roots.
To further promote the growth of Filipino vegetables on foreign land, and to give other Filipinos a taste of home, Ivy saves the seeds from her harvests and shares them with others so that they can grow them themselves.
The 5Rs in their household
Since Ivy and Slaven both promote sustainability, their two daughters, Sofija and Natalija, are also being taught some ideas that they can implement at home. And according to Ivy, they practice the 5Rs: reduce, reuse, repurpose, repair, and recycle.
“We try to reduce our ecological footprint, in any way we can. We save items from throwing in the trash and instill new life and purpose many times over. We compost our wastes to turn them into organic fertilizer for our crops. We turn our food waste into healthy soil to grow. We support local farmer’s markets, our eco-bags are always handy when we go buy something, and we recycle as much as we can,” Ivy said.
Ivy added that they plan to switch their home to using renewable energy and to register it as an agricultural home with multiple small agribusinesses as a way for them to forge a career that completely revolves around sustainable food production and gardening.
As a family, the Sibincics have a goal of inspiring people to live a happier, healthier, and more sustainable life with their family as an example of how it can be achieved as well as how satisfying it can be.
“We want to show that starting in our household, we can adapt to act locally while rippling out globally. Every action, big or small, we all have the power to make an impact and inspire others and we start it within our own family,” Ivy said.
By growing their food at home, the Sibincics have managed to lessen their carbon footprint and help the environment, at the same time, they also enjoy fresh, healthy produce that they can enjoy and share with others.
Visit The Sibincic Family on Facebook for more information.
Photos courtesy of Ivy Sibincic.