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GreenEarth Heritage Foundation is a holistic Christian organization whose MISSION is to preserve the environment, adhere to sound and sustainable agricultural practices and assist in alleviation of poverty through livelihood and community development.
It is our VISION to become the FIRST internationally certified center of excellence in organic agriculture in the PHILIPPINES with a holistic community development mission.
We are a farm, a burgeoning reforestation site, an organic agricultural development, a haven of peace and tranquility, and a promise of a better tomorrow for the members of our growing community. We are a non-stock, non-profit organization that was founded on May 22, 2009 upon receiving a donation of over 100 hectares (246 acres) of land at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains in San Miguel, Bulacan, Philippines. We are the only non-government organization serving this geographic region.
Over the last two years, we have busied ourselves with reviving our once arid and denuded land by planting thousands of forest hardwoods and fruit-bearing trees in order to turn our land into an Eden. We are determined to reverse the wanton destruction caused by deforestation in the area.
We discovered that many of the settlers in and around our donated land are not really farmers but illegal deforesters, idle rural folk and left-leaning insurgents. Because we came, those that have joined our programs have turned their backs from insurgency, idleness and environmentally destructive occupations. They have now embraced the organic agricultural way of life, and wholesome and responsible community living.
To date, we have a thriving and ever-expanding organic plantation of vegetables, herbs and root crops. We are now growing over twenty (20) varieties of organically grown produce that are distributed to an increasing number of farm-to-table customers weekly.
Because of this fair trade scheme, our beneficiaries' incomes have quadrupled from their pre-GreenEarth baseline and 100% of GreenEarth farmers have become voluntary contributors and beneficiaries of the national Social Security and Philhealth Programs, something they have never even heard of before GreenEarth came.
In February 2011, GreenEarth gained international distinction by receiving the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Organic GreenSeal. Through the help of the Organic Farmers and Processors Association of the Philippines (OFPAP), GreenEarth hurdled accreditation and certification standards of the Organic Crop Improvement Association, one of the world's oldest, largest and most trusted leaders in the organic certification industry. To date, GreenEarth is one out of only two USDA certified-organic Moringa farms and producer of Moringa leaves in the Philippines.
Aside from greening our donated land and providing vital training and sustainable livelihoods centered in organic agriculture to a growing number of farming families, we have simultaneously addressed the educational needs of our farmers' children and community service members.
Despite our serious challenges in agriculture, it was difficult to turn a blind eye to the plight of the children of GreenEarth. Many have to walk three hours round-trip, which includes crossing a bridgeless river and unpaved roads by foot, every single day in order to reach school. A majority are malnourished, extremely fatigued and with a high degree of absenteeism from school during the rainy seasons. It was not a surprise to us therefore to discover that majority of the children could not really pass age-appropriate cognitive testing when they were assessed by educators.
Aside from our intensive efforts at reforestation and establishment of livelihoods in organic agriculture, we launched two key programs to address the needs of the children of our growing community since our first year:
1. In February 2010, we launched GreenEarth's Child Sponsorship Program. For a mere PhP 5,000 a year or USD120 a year of sponsorship per child, sponsors are able to assist children on their big ticket back-to-school public school expenses in the form of school uniforms, shoes, slippers and additional project costs. Many of the children belong to large families. Receiving child sponsorship makes or breaks the decision to enroll in school. Because of this program, children that have stopped schooling have returned to school. The level of motivation to do well has gone up, believing that if they can display good performance, their sponsors will continue to support them the following year.
2. In August 2010, we launched an onsite Early Reading and Literacy Program. The children have very poor communication skills. Many cannot even read and write at age 9 and beyond. A majority of their parents are elementary school dropouts and so their homes cannot provide the stimulus for higher learning.
In line with our holistic approach, we seek not only to transform land but also to transform lives. We aim to promote Livelihood, Literacy, and God-centered Lifestyles.
- Mylene Matti
- (510) 759-9090
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