When you’re called to do something good, everything falls into place to make it happen.
In the case for Charlene Tan and her team over at Good Food Community, this did not come easily nor quickly.
Good Food Community bridges local farmers to the market of Metro Manila through organic farming
Tan got the idea to set up the Good Food Community during one of her meetings with her church prayer group. The idea was to connect local, small-time farmers and farming communities in provinces to the bigger and more profitable markets in Metro Manila. This would give them an opportunity to increase sales, grow their farms, and be connected to the metro.
This was easier said than done.
Since most of the team were volunteers and doing their roles part time alongside full-time jobs, it was hard for most to commit to the community. With that, Tan decided to focus full-time on Good Food Community while gaining the financial and moral support from her prayer group partners as they build the bridge between local farmers and Metro Manila.
Good Food Community’s efforts would eventually make its way to help the lives of the farmers they sought to provide support. One farmer, Nay Mary Culay-an, remembers how life was before Tan and her team came in to help. Culay-an, a local farmer in Tawang, La Trinidad, Benguet, recalls how the local community, with her included, was already aware of organic farming, but some slowly returned to conventional farming due to the hardships they found in finding buyers for their organic goods.
At one point, Culay-an said she found herself giving away thecrops to her neighbors since she could not sell them and would rather put them to good use and not to waste. This was where Tan and the rest of the GFC team would step in. Culay-an said that because of GFC, their produce now has a steady demand since GFC is marketing them to restaurants and other clients in Metro Manila.
Aside from that, Culay-an said that Good Food Community has helped them adjust appropriately to the produce their market needs in Metro Manila. They connect her with her buyers, restaurants such as Purple Yam and Wildflour, and advise her what kind of vegetables they need so that she can provide.
She no longer needs to worry about having to find buyers for her produce or guess which crops will sell more. Because of GFC, she’s able to optimize her farm in order to maximize profits whatever it yields.
“GFC shows its transformation from a simple idea that had good meaning in it to a business that is helping transform lives and bridging communities.”
She said that by finding them a market of buyers and helping their logistics, GFC has inspired her and her fellow farmers to do their day-to-day jobs of producing fresh, local, and organic produce that gives them the most out their hard work.
The same can be said for another farmer in Capas, Cavite. Lady Yalung, chairwoman of the Capas Organic Farmers Producers Association, said that Good Food Community has helped inspire people to go organic. At first, the required three-day seminar and training was seen as a hindrance.
However, Yalung said that despite the initial doubts and the required training, she’s thankful she pushed ahead with learning the trade of organic farming because she now has a steady demand for her produce. She no longer has to go to local markets to sell her produce herself as orders are already steady due to the clientele of the Good Food Community.
Layung also mentioned that aside from the steady market GFC provides, it has also allowed her to grow her farm through financial assistance. She said that through GFC’s financial aid, which provided her a loan at 0% interest, she was able to purchase a greenhouse that allowed her to improve the quality and amount of crops she can grow. Yalung also commended Tan and her team for the method of payment they accepted to pay off the loan; she mentioned that they only took a small percentage of earnings from the produce, ensuring that she had majority of the profit and allowing her to live comfortably.
It’s safe to say that Good Food Community has successfully bridged local farmers to the market of Metro Manila. Aside from their dayto-day efforts of running the business, Tan and her team have executed events that allow people to meet the farmers and know the produce, while connecting them to other local communities outside farming.
With the advent of better technology, Good Food Community has expanded to a more dynamic online store that allows it to cater to the everyday Filipino and not just restaurants and businesses. With this, GFC shows its transformation from a simple idea that had good meaning in it to a business that is helping transform lives and bridging communities.
Tan and the rest of the Good Food Community are now facing a brighter future, with more people interested in the service and goods they offer as well as investors who want to help their cause grow and expand. Culay-an, Yalung, and the other farmers in the community are excited and happy to be with GFC as it grows onto the next level, and they are excited to show more people the importance and worth of fresh, homegrown produce.
At the end of the day, no matter how big or small GFC gets, it will always ensure that its cause is at the heart and the forefront of its crusade: to improve the lives and livelihood of local farmers and connect them to the rest of the Filipino people
This story is part of a series of articles written by GO NEGOSYO writers being published by GoodNewsPilipinas.com as part of our support to Philippine businesses.