By Vina Medenilla
Marilyn “Marz” Hortinela-Grafane, 31, is no stranger to farm life. She has never lost sight of her roots and embraces the lessons and influence that her parents gave her.
Being raised on a farm, for Grafane, meant following a healthy lifestyle and diet. It also meant learning the importance of hard work early in life.
“When I was in elementary school, I was fond of helping my parents sell our fruit and vegetable products. At that time, my parents were just planting vegetables on the roadside,” she said.
Despite their insufficient resources, Grafane’s parents rented a piece of land and managed to sustain their family through agriculture.
A fulfilled promise
In honor and memory of her deceased parents, Grafane followed in their footsteps and became a farmer. She farms on the same ground her parents used to rent for farming, except this time she already owns it.
In approximately 7000 sq.m. land she acquired in 2015, she populated it with assorted fruit trees as well as chickens, turtles, catfish, rabbits, ducks, geese, and pets such as turtles and dogs.
Grafane told Agriculture Online that her mini farm is currently planted with okra, string beans, tomato, chili, pechay, and eggplant. These are either used for personal consumption or shared with neighbors.
Grafane, who’s also an online seller of clothes and accessories, offers her produce as freebies to her customers.
When it comes to being a farmer, Grafane is actively involved in developing her mini farm, which is conveniently located next to her house.
In addition to her property, she rents a 3.5-hectare agricultural lot for rice and mung bean production.
All of the mentioned crops are naturally kept. Every day, Grafane cleans the animal pens for three hours or so. She feeds the animals twice a day. For the rabbits, she nourishes them with grass and vegetables from the garden.
Except for other commodities, she sells rice, monggo, and catfish.
Seedlings of pomelo, tamarind, duhat, guava, pechay, chili, and more are readily available for those who love or aspire to farm.
“Every harvest, I reserve 10 sacks of [different crops] in preparation for the flood and/or to distribute to unfortunate families needing our help.”
Grafane is the youngest of 16 children and is the only one who carried on the legacy of their parents. Prior to this endeavor, this nursing graduate worked as a pharmacy assistant.
Grafane admits having access to more housing and employment options today given her current financial situation, but her love for farming keeps her coming back to the farm, where dreams and fond childhood memories were built.
Photos courtesy of Marilyn Hortinela-Grafane