NEHEMIAH GABROS, OPC
"Being burdened by the medical condition that the nature of genetics brought to him and his own family, Jemuel “Jem” Gabuna, an organic farmer located in one of the busy streets of Marikina, ventured on a healthy lifestyle. His main issue is the source of organic and nutritious food, which based on his experience and study, the commercial markets could no longer provide. This prompted Jemuel to join a wellness group that hosted Dr. Gina Caballero, Dr. Des Dolohan, and Life Coach Edgar Ramos as main speakers, challenging the members to plant for themselves their food to eat.
Catastrophe, most of the time, breeds opportunities. When Typhoon Ondoy landed on the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), flooding the village that Jemuel was living in by half a meter, eighty household owners withheld their interest in building their own home in that same village. This caused many vacant lots to be idle. However, amidst the negativity brought by the seeming devastation, on September 25, 2010, Jemuel decided to awaken the idle soil in the village and tilled approximately 240 square meters of land lying right in front of his house. On this ground, he put up a vermihouse that cultured African Night Crawlers (ANCs) which in return provided a natural fertilizer, vermicast.
For further enhancement of his knowledge and skills on organic farming, the Agriculture Training and Institute (ATI), located in Quezon City, sent Jemuel to Costales Nature Farms studying the production of various crops organically.
As Jemuel’s knowledge on organic farming grew, so did his garden. Not being able to do the work alone, he hired 3 other farmers residing nearby, and they are currently worked on a 1,500 square meter arable land growing crops like Lettuce, Spinach, Arugula, Kale, Upland Kangkong, and many others in variety.
Through producing crops for his own and setting them as organic as they can be on his plate for every meal, Jemuel soon discovered that his medical condition"justify-content: center;" was getting better. This stoked up the passion in his heart for the organic farming of crops. What once was just a personal hobby, Jemuel’s garden eventually turned into the Ateneoville Urban Organic Garden. His endeavor and accomplishments reached the ears of former Secretary of Health who asked Jem to rehabilitate his farm in Tagaytay City. This was the start for Jemuel, and his other coaches, in helping out other communities improve their lives through the means of organic farming; encouraging them to go back to our roots of livelihood – farming; and help them see that the wealth of our people, the Filipinos, is found in farming.
As time went by, there were hurdles and challenges along the way that even sidetracked his goal. But he acknowledged that everything happened according to God’s sovereign will. As he hoped and waited on God, Project Nehemiah was coming into place. His passion for fresh, natural, and organic, along with his experience in business, grew on him a desire to use his vision to serve others—offering organic products to consumers and helping our Filipino farmers."
Please watch all of the episodes on our YouTube Channel Farmer Jem TV for more details about organic farming and Nehemiah Superfood.
THE NEHEMIAH SUPERFOOD JOURNEY: THE HAVEN FOR THE ELDERLY PROJECT
Way back in 2014, Farmer Jem Gabuna volunteered as a member of the Men@Work Ministry to extend assistance to the Haven for the Elderly, Tanay, Rizal in terms of providing hands-on training on organic farming. Haven for the Elderly is a residential facility set up by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to provide temporary care to abandoned, neglected, and unattached older persons ages 60 and above. It implements center-based residential programs and services for older persons in compliance with the requirements of the Standards Bureau of the DSWD for Level III accreditation.
Having been contacted by Director Ricky Bunao of the Haven for the Elderly, the Men@Work Ministry visited the elderly facility on July 19, 2014, to discuss the details of the assistance to be provided to meet the objectives of defraying its food expenses and producing plants grown without synthetic fertilization, genetic engineering, irradiation, or chemically based pesticides.
The Men@Work Ministry entered into partnership with the Haven for the Elderly through the “I Care For My City Foundation” (ICCF), which was headed by Dr. Gina Caballero. The partnership was named “Project Haven,” with Men@Work responsible for the orientation and training on organic farming and the ICCF providing seminars on work values.
The Men@Work Ministry also made a commitment as part of this partnership to construct a greenhouse where the center can grow seedlings for organic farming. The said construction started on January 19, 2015 and was completed on February 7, 2015. Farmer Jem Gabuna spearheaded the design and construction of the desired greenhouse.
Even after the completion of the greenhouse, Farmer Jem Gabuna continued to train and guide the assigned staff of the Haven of the Elderly on organic farming until they were ready to be on their own.
On April 29, 2015, the Men@Work Ministry and the ICCF were presented with a Certificate of Recognition and a Plaque of Appreciation, respectively, by the Haven for the Elderly for their invaluable contribution and partnership in the implementation of social welfare services.