La Granja de Reyna: a Place for Planting and Reaping

Martina Reyna is an agricultural engineer by profession. She worked in government for four years before deciding to cultivate her in-laws' large plot of land in Tacloban City. According to her, La Granja de Reyna's original area was 15.8 hectares, the first property bought by her husband's parents in 1935 for P500 and a sack of rice. 

a view from the top of La Granja's hill
Many years later, as neighboring owners started selling their lands, the Reyna property expanded into 51 hectares with one hectare donated for senior citizens. Tina started developing La Granja and registered it with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 1994. It is now home to 13 varieties of fruit trees, 5000 coconut trees, high-value crops used as salad ingredients, and several kinds of livestock. 

one of the lettuce plots
The farm harvests around P2,000 worth of lettuce in a day and supplies these to Chowking and Ocho, a local restaurant in the city. It also produces a continuous supply of organic fertilizer totaling 500 bags per week, ready for delivery. 

a beautiful torch flower growing at the entrance of a hut
Tina's vision? "To show people that we can practice organic agriculture without going anywhere. If we plant, we reap," she told our group of Organic Agriculture Bloggers while touring us around La Granja.

see that hut on top of the hill? that's where I took the first photo above
We walked all the way up a hill where, at the top, we could see all the way to San Juanico Strait. We stayed inside a hut for a while and admired the lovely view of nature that surrounds the farm from all angles. 

a very fruitful jackfruit tree!
It's hard to imagine that three years ago, La Granja was totally devastated by Typhoon Yolanda. But, with the perseverance and dedication that I've seen in all the farmers I've met these past years, Tina and her staff of 18 were able to slowly rebuild and rise up from the ashes.

seedlings for transplanting
A wife to a lawyer and mother to three children, Tina admitted that only her youngest is interested in livestock. Her oldest child works in the academe while the middle child is a businessman passionate about photography. "We all have our interests and support each other's choices."

I ate these delicious freshly picked cherry tomatoes straight from the tree!
La Granja is a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certified farm and is a member of the international group Worldwide Organization of Organic Farmers (WOOF). With the assistance of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), it accommodates farmers' trainings every month and recently hosted the launch of the Organikong Magsasaka ng Rehiyon Otso (OMRO) Value for Money: Investment for Health initiative. You can read more about that worthwhile advocacy, here.

non-smelly pigs! :)
Tina moreover shared with us how much she put to heart what she learned as a agriculture seminar delegate in a South Korean university. She said a Korean leader's command to their farmers is to "fill the stomach of your people and progress will follow."

a heavily-laden papaya tree
True enough, if people are hungry, they won't be able to think well and come up with ideas! This is why Tina advocates for her fellow Filipino farmers to also help fill the stomachs of our countrymen. With more than 5000 agriculture enthusiasts who have visited La Granja and attended trainings there, she expresses with a smile, "When they say they're getting there, I am fulfilled." 

with Engr. Tina Reyna, one of my new inspirations
Ultimately, I hope all Filipinos, not just our farmers, should put into practice what Tina believes we are all capable of. And that is, "to be a person for others."

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