TURNING farms into tourism attractions is one of the sustainable practices that can benefit both the business owner and the community.
Danny Ortiz, owner of the Adlawon Vacation Farm, said the involvement of the community is crucial to the success of farm tourism.
“If you want your farm to succeed, you need to earn your people’s trust. You have to be committed to them and to the farm,” he said, during the Cebu Business Month’s Tourism Innovation Forum.
Ortiz, a lawyer, said he bought a property with his wife, who is a doctor, so they could have a place where they could relax from the stress of the city life.
“Like many city dwellers, we purchased the farm with the romantic notion of having a refuge from the rigors of the city life and at the same time recover the investment,” he said.
To help the community where their farm is located, Ortiz said they began reaching out to the farmers and their wives for livelihood programs.
“The wives are left to take care of the house and their children, so we introduced a quilting course to them together with some of our Japanese friends. We use the quilts as bed runners and table runners and these are now being sold in Japan,” he said.
They also offered housing loans to farmers so they can improve their homes in the mountain barangay of Adlaon.
Ortiz said they also established a system where their farmers get a regular salary instead of only earning on the quantity of crops they produce.
They also created a cooperative to help augment the income of farmers and for them to not patronize the loan sharks.
“Deficit spending leads to endless borrowing so, we formed a lending cooperative where the profit goes back to them,”
The farm, which offers a relaxing retreat from the city and organic food picked from its own produce, grew into a destination well-loved by locals and tourists alike.
Ortiz said they had to work hand-in-hand with both the community and nature for the farm to flourish.
“You’re helpless with the whims of nature like drought. You cannot fight nature and you need to learn how to live with it and try to work with it,” he said.
Ortiz said they also involved their whole family in the management of the farm, saying that they want to leave a legacy for all to enjoy.
“We started to think of leaving it as a legacy for our children and our children’s children. And for our workers too, so that the benefits we have provided will be continued and for the farming community, who are our partners and for the general public to enjoy the farm,” he said.
“To leave this as a proper legacy, we decided that it should be a sustainable business and not just as a passive property,” he added.
The Adlawon Vacation Farm now serves as venues for retreats, birthdays, weddings and team building activities, among others.
Adlawon Vacation Farm is located at Sitio Proper, Adlaon, Cebu City.