Manila, Philippines – In response to the ongoing community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Woven partnered with the SEARCH Foundation to provide Bahay Kubo Farming Kits to at least 100 artisans and their families. Each Bahay Kubo Farming Kit is good for a small 300-square meter backyard garden. With an expected yield of 400 kilograms of crops within three to four months, the garden can support a family of five for roughly three months. Customers can help by buying Woven products or by donating directly to the project.
How Can You Help?
In particular, net proceeds from any purchase from Woven’s Hapag Kainan Collection will be donated to the project. The Hapag Kainan collection features 5 different Yakan patterns that you purchase individually at Php499 each or buy as a set of 6 for Php2,800. If customers opt to purchase from Woven’s regular collections, 20% of sales will be donated to the project. The regular collections include colorful round or rectangular banigs (ranging from Php1,200-2,400), cardholders using leather and indigenous fabrics (Php499), mobile phone wallets (Php399) and the bestselling Liham (Php1200-1300), Lingkat (Php1,550-1,650) and Abre (Php1,099-1,499) banig laptop sleeves that the brand is known for. Donations can also be sent directly to John Francia through BPI (Account No. 9609-0828-33) or BDO (Account No. 0062-6008-3164). As a service, customers can even choose to donate in the name of a loved one.
What is the Bahay Kubo Project?
Woven and the SEARCH Foundation conceptualized the Bahay Kubo Farming Kits after hearing the concerns of the artisan communities in Samar and Basilan. The problem is, most farming in Basey is geared towards cash crops such as rice and coconut. A portion of their annual rice harvest is kept for their family’s consumption, while the rest is sold for cash, which is then used for the purchase of necessities such as meat, vegetables, and other household goods. Very few farmers practice the bahay kubo style of farming – named after the song – where all of their food requirements are grown in the farm.
Woven Co-founder Trish Lim explains, “Unlike urban communities where supermarkets and other goods are nearby, those in the provinces typically rely on inter-city or inter-island travel to source food and supplies.”
In Basilan, Yakan community partners reported an increase in the cost of everyday goods. One of their leaders shares,
“Namomroblema na nga kami, baka paubos na rin mga gastusin namin habang patagal nang patagal ang quarantine.” [We are worried because our money is running out while the quarantine keeps taking longer and longer.]
As its name suggests, each Bahay Kubo Farming Kit is designed to improve food security for these families by helping them create backyard gardens. Each kit is worth Php 1,100 and contains seeds for varieties of root crops and vegetables, a faming manual, and some working capital for fertilizer. It is a way for farmers to survive and even thrive regardless of their income level or the state of the national economy. And with the economic downturn caused by the much needed quarantine, our rural communities need to practice farming for self-sustenance more than ever.
According to SEARCH Foundation Executive Director and Woven Co-founder John Francia, this Bahay Kubo style farming is integrated and diversified farming. That means that the kits would allow the communities to grow crops, such as cucumber, kalabasa, sweet potato, cassava, eggplant, tomato, string beans, bitter gourd and pechay. The variety of crops will provide high nutritional value and can serve most of their food requirements. Any additional meat or produce could then be used to supplement what they can grow in their gardens.
When the communities make their first harvest in three to four months, Woven and SEARCH Foundation hope that they will gain peace of mind in knowing that they will be able to put food on the table for their loved ones. Although it’s a small project, both organizations hope it will be a big step on their journey towards long-term food security. xxx
What is WOVEN PH?
Woven Crafts is a compassionate crafts company that designs hand-in-hand with Filipino artisans for the modern lifestyle. It started in the town of Basey, Samar after it was devastated by super typhoon Yolanda. While doing research and area development plans there, the founders came upon the banig weavers who created beautiful mats made from natural grass materials called tikog and buri. With the help of various NGOs, the enterprise organized the artisans into community craft associations, maneuvered an increase in the industry price of banigs, and raised individual incomes by more than double.
SEARCH Foundation specializes in planning, implementing, and documenting community-based enterprise initiatives.