Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Organic farm in urban Davao

MOST organic farms are located in rural areas. The farm of Dr. Rodelio Dalisay is an exception.

Dalisay put up his organic farm in the heart of the city.

Dalisay converted his grandfather's resthouse, at Regina Dalisay Compound in Bsjada into an organic urban garden.

He said organic farming was just a hobby when he started in 2012. Starting off with a small plot, planting it with tomatoes, lettuce, cauliflower, and broccoli, which are not commonly grown in the tropical climate of Davao City.

"I started with a small plot because when I go to the groceries, I cannot find organic produce and then the trend of organic vegetables started at that time when I left the United States, so I started my own," he said.

The following year he added kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, and endives to his farm.

"From one plot, then it became two, three, then four until I expanded it," he said.

On January 2014, Wynward Organic Vegetable Garden was opened to the public. Dalisay promoted the farm through Facebook (

Recently, he started planting zucchinis, kalette, and sage. He is also growing tomatillos, sugarbeets, salad dandelions, swiss chards, and the dark cherry tomatoes.

Dalisay, who holds a doctorate in Plant Pathology with a cognate in plant biochemistry, plant breeding, and genetic engineering from The University of Kentucky in Lexington, is also a chef.

Using the skills and training he gained as a chef during his stay in the US, he opened up a bistro at the farm offering healthy meals featuring vegetables freshly harvested from the farm.

Dalisay said being in organic farming is no easy task, since one has to take care of each plant individually.

He also makes his own organic pest control techniques like covering the fruits with newspaper and using marigold as a deterrent. He also makes his own compost using the dried and dead leaves of the plants and food scraps mixed with goat manure.

In maximizing the space of his urban farm, Dalisay practices tower gardening, making use of old plastic jugs and bamboo.

In a bid to promote organic and urban farming to Dabawenyos, Wynward Organic Vegetable Garden opened its doors to farmers, students, and individuals who want to learn.

"People are now opening their eyes to going organic," Dalisay said.

Some of the groups that have visited his farm are the Kiddie Chefs of Italiannis summer camps, farmers from Barangay Tagbaobo, Islang Garden City of Samal, students from Ateneo de Davao University, and students from the University of Southeastern Philippines.

Dalisay and his farm has been featured in multi-awarded television progam Agri Tayo Dito of ABS-CBN.

Wynward Organic Vegetable Garden was a finalist for the 3rd Lunhaw Awards, held last March 13. The farm also received a special award for Urban Organic Vegetable Gardening.

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