By Jabez Joshua M. Flores
It’s the same old song. The farmers are getting older and the kids are getting smarter. So they flee from the “probinsya” to pursue dead-end jobs in the city. Everywhere in the world it’s the same. Farming, as a profession, has never really gotten any amount of “cool” compared to mainstream professions such as engineering or medicine. Farming has always been known as something that you do when you don’t finish school. Farming is what happens when your teacher angrily tells you to “go home and plant kamote.”
But like everything in this world, change is bound to happen. And people are starting to understand and see life in its entirety rather than in bits and pieces; holistic systems thinking in place of analytic linear thinking; advocacy rather than ambition; and spending time instead of spending money.
However, these changes did not happen overnight. And it’s not going to be a fad either. Mother Earth herself is pushing us to change our ways. The way we farm, the way we eat, and the way we live.
Enter the Nu Wave Farmers—by strict definition, farmers born in the 1980s (hence the Nu Wave label referring to the popular music genre of that decade), but also includes new organic farmers who emerged from the early 2000s to present. Enlightened, inspired, motivated and artfully cash-free, these farmers see a bright new future for farming. And not just any kind of farming but ORGANIC farming.
When Organic Agriculture was first offered as a 16-week non-formal/continuing education course at the UP Open University in 2012, it signaled the beginning of a new era for organic agriculture. An era wherein tech-savvy farmers, young and old, armed with digital cameras, smart phones, and crazy social networking skills would begin to make noise and buzz en masse like a cloud of bumblebees.
The online course itself was a radical step in the first place. While searching for a venue to teach the organic agriculture modules, university researchers Dr. Blesilda Calub and Dr. Edna Matienzo of the Agricultural Systems Cluster in UPLB, made a left turn to UPOU and turned to the Faculty of Management and Development Studies, headed by Dean Dr. Inocencio Buot Jr., for some love and appreciation. The course was accepted and after producing four batches of organic agriculture graduates since 2012, I guess it’s safe to say that things really worked out well and even exceeded the course’s expectations.
Who are the Nu Wave Farmers and what do they do? You’ll find out soon.
Kids who got tired looking for decent-paying jobs in the city;
Kids who got fed up with office work and routine;
Kids who felt that they were meant for so much more;
These are smart kids who long to express themselves and make a difference in this monochromatic world.