WEATHER »

Final Report "Eco Farm"

Final departing report from Rowland Lane Anderson, site naturalist for Eco Farm Pawpawan

Consistent with your desire to have real tests conducted on the property I want to propose something. The materials on pineapple indicate it is a bromeliad and does not need much root space so one test I propose is letting a portion of the pineapple coexist with the plowed cogon grass without poison or root removal. I think this should be the portion that has been plowed and planted in a way that will maximize erosion…the cogon may prevent some erosion. I also would propose that an equal or proportional area have the roots removed by hand as all the organic advisors have advocated. This should be an area plowed and planted on level contour. I oppose the use of the poisons but if they are used they should be used sparingly and the cost should be reflected in a equal or proportional area of pineapple. One of my primary concerns is the reputation of SBBFI in the community of Pawpawan. My discussions with two of the residents of the village indicate that they are very distrustful of SBBFI because they feel that it only benefits the richest family in the area, the Ramon family. The bamboo seminar got representatives of the five extended families but none came for the vermi compost seminar, according to Reagan, because they felt that they were used for free labor while Ramon’s family were paid. I think the participants should be paid and told that in the future seminars will have no paid laborers. Ideally the SBBFI manager should manage the hiring to make sure that all of the families/clans of the area get a fair chance of employment and benefit. During my stay I have made mistakes but also have got some things right. Mostly I have admitted my mistakes as I reported to you because it is good for the soul and character to do so. I want to clarify some things so that there is no misunderstanding about the potential of things I tried to advocate. Cogon grass will compost but it contains no nitrogen and so a lot of nitrogen containing waste must be found. When we purchased thousands of kakawate branches I asked several times for the leaves to heat up the compost pile but I got none. Kakawate leaves are among the best sources of nitrogen. Another organic source is banana trunk. There is a lot of banana trunk lying around on the property so again I asked several times to have it chopped into the compost but never got help. I chopped for several days but injured myself due to inexperience with bolos. I feel that the composting might have been more successful had I had some cooperation. Today the agriculturist said that the worms won't leave if the pile has good things for them. While on the topic I hope you will check this out: Google Hugelkultur -- creating water-conserving, nutritious planting beds by gathering brush and wood and covering them with earth. This can be done by digging a trench in the ground or building up the mound on top of the ground. (http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/) With this I was able to combine several ideas, the remote composting at the site of brush clearing and ending the fires as they cannot burn it if it is covered with earth! I think vermi composting is a good idea but will not deal with our acreage or amount of organic waste. I continue to think that bamboo is a better product than pineapple for our property. It will thrive in cogon grass, as will lemon grass and vetiver grass. All three should be tried in areas where the cogon is thick. Bamboo does not need plowing, irrigation, fertilizer, herbicides or pesticides. We get enough rain enough of the year to grow it anywhere on the property. I hope I am wrong but I think the pineapple will take more than a year, consume lots of petroleum (already has) and lots of poison, which will probably get into the drinking water as it is the same water shed. This is the poison recommended: http://www.pesticide.org/get-the-facts/pesticide-factsheets/factsheets/diuron Diuron is also called Karmex and is the herbicide that the provincial agriculturist will recommend. The other poison currently being applied to the property, also on the same watershed as the spring is Round Up: http://www.organicconsumers.org/monsanto/roundup.cfm My best sources say the thing to do is to remove the root systems by hand while they are exposed, using a fork or hoe. Instead we will use poison and support Dow and Monsanto? The rain water would have none of the poisons in it and could be run through filters before drinking. Remember too that we will have at least three more large roofs to collect rain water and that there was only about six weeks without rain this year. I have from the beginning recommended hand dug shallow wells at the bottom of the property for irrigation and fish tanks. The water source we call the "spring" is seepage about a hundred meters below the village in the same watershed as all their toilets and the poisons we are applying. The water has never been tested but now we are spending a lot of money to get it up to the buildings as drinking water?....or maybe another half million to drill a big bore deep well now? This project may be a good place to compare and test different approaches to agriculture IF all expenses are accounted for. There should be a way of including the expense of polluting the water and soil with poison and polluting the air with exhaust from the tractor, generator (which is run for hours to charge cel phones) and the weed whacker, not to mention the truck....but I do not know how to calculate that. The truck may be necessary and the big generator when arc welding is going on but the weed whacker with its two stroke motor produces more pollution than the truck or generator for a job that could be done with bolos. Solar operated pumps can be used in stages to get water where it is needed if gravity does not serve. Your crew, Ernie, Jun, Nikki and Juanito, are great guys and hard workers! They smoke and drink too much and it will take a toll on their health. Ernie asked me today what penance they need to make. I would only say take good care of the puppy and sometimes pet her, she enjoys a human touch. Dogs are people too! I plan to return sometime after the rainy season ends, again thank you all!!

Best wishes and God Bless, Rowland Lane Anderson, naturalist

event calendar sponsored by: