Maxima grows her family’s future with organic farming

A grandmother in the Philippines has learnt to improve her family’s income by adopting organic farming practices.

With hard work and training in sustainable agriculture, Maxima has been able to fund the education of her grandchildren and become an advocate for organic farming.

Maxima lives with her husband Roberto and three of their grandchildren. Both in their sixties, Maxima and Roberto work hard as farmers on land they cherish. When World Vision began to train members of their community in sustainable agriculture, Maxima thought it sounded like a good idea.

“World Vision trained us in organic agriculture and supplied diverse vegetable seedlings,” says Maxima.

After the training, Roberto divided their farm into two smaller plots, then planted one half with rice and the other with vegetables. While Roberto works the fields, Maxima cultivates the vegetable garden. She avoids the use of fertiliser and pesticides and grows different kinds of vegetables which can be sold at market during harvest season.

“If anything is left over, I cook it for dinner,” she says.

When Maxima and Roberto began to implement the organic farming techniques they had learnt, they found that their rice and vegetable harvest increased.

World Vision also supported the community in starting a savings bank. The reserve of money can be used to invest in new projects and for emergencies, and has helped Maxima improve her family’s income.

With this extra money from organic farming Maxima and Robert have been able to fund the education of their 10 grandchildren.

For Maxima, education is the best gift she could leave for her grandchildren and is something that cannot be taken away. So even if the farm life is hard, she won’t stop ploughing the fields in order to give a bright future for the children.

“Grandmother Maxima has a special place in my heart,” says 10-year-old Jack who lives with Maxima and Roberto, along with two of his siblings. “She teaches me about hard work and being grateful of what you have.”

Jack, a sponsored child who’s now in grade four, gets his inspiration from his grandparents and enjoys helping out at the farm in the afternoon and on weekends.

Maxima is glad that Jack is enrolled in the World Vision sponsorship program. With the support of sponsors, Jack has received school bags and supplies and has joined a children’s saving group. Like his grandparents, Jack is learning to save money for the future.

Maxima has become an advocate for organic farming in her community, sharing innovative methods for growing vegetables using environment-friendly and sustainable technologies. “Organic farming provides farmers an ecologically-friendly and sustainable lifestyle,” she says.  

TOP LEFT: Maxima and Roberto have learnt to breed pigs, which provides extra income. Photo: Crislyn Felisilda/World Vision. TOP RIGHT: Maxima, Roberto and Jack work together on the farm. Photo: Crislyn Felisilda/World Vision. BOTTOM LEFT: Sponsored child Jack helps his grandparents in the farm on weekends. Photo: Crislyn Felisilda/World Vision. BOTTOM RIGHT: Maxima and Roberto noticed a real increase in their harvest after switching to organic farming. Photo: Crislyn Felisilda/World Vision.