Gil Carandang: I have always said as a farmer and environmentalist, my advocacy is not in service of humanity, but rather in service of nature. If we take care of nature, nature shall take care of us.
It is the first 3-6″ of soil that really sustains us (humanity). Everything starts and ends with this “living soil”. The life in the soil, the “fire” in this soil, is the component of microorganisms. It is this microorganisms plus carbon (the basis of life) in the soil, that creates the “living soil”.
I’ve been working to promote farming techniques that create sustainable agriculture practices. Combining biointensive and microbial techniques, we can produce surprisingly large quantities of nutrient rich food per small land area.
When we talk about food produced in this fashion, we refer not just to food, but sustainable food, food that is produced to produce life not “death” like conventional agriculture. Food that produces life for us and life for the soil which sustains us.
Gil is the president of Independent Organic Inspectors Association of the Philippines (IOIAP) and Pilipinas Certification (PilCert). He is also an accredited international organic inspector of Ecocert S.A. of Germany. He was a former board member and technical director of Organic Producers and Trade Association of the Philippines (OPTA).
A Fulbright scholar and engaging teacher, Gil is a passionate advocate for empowering farmers to harness the indigenous life of the soil right on their farms. Mr. Carandang is a graduate of the Apprenticeship program on Ecological Horticulture from the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS) from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Committed to life-long learning, Mr. Carandang has studied under many renowned scholars such as John Jeavons of Ecology Action in Willits, California on Sustainable Biointensive Mini-Farming and Dr. Han Kyu Cho of the Korean Natural Farming Association on Natural Farming Systems for Crops and Livestocks. He also apprenticed with natural farmers in Japan and attended workshops on Biodynamic Preparation with the Biodynamics Association of Northern California and the Permaculture Design Course with the Center for Natural Design in Los Osos, California.
Gil has lectured extensively on beneficial indigenous microorganisms both in the Philippines and the United States. He brings the technology of using indigenous microorganisms as another tool for sustainable farming. He is a sought-after lecturer on intensive and microbial organic farming technologies, organic farm designing, planning and farmscaping. He co-authored the Philippine National Standards for Organic Agriculture and is considered the Father of Organic Farming in the Philippines. Mr. Carandang is 32nd degree Scottish Rite, Free & Accepted Masons of California.
That said, an important part of me always misses the country. I grew up in the woods, on 40 acres in the hills of rural southern Oregon. We had no TV growing up – we spent most of our time outside enjoying nature’s rich bounty of activities. We would build tree forts, fish for catfish and bass in our neighbor’s pond, play with the animals (pigs, ducks, chickens, sheep, pheasants, peacocks, horse, donkey, etc), hunt, camp, hike – whatever sounds neat to a kid with freedom and endless natural space to play in. What an amazing childhood that is.
Fast forward to 2009. After moving to the Philippines, I discovered Gil’s teachings through a friend and eventually became a student of Gil’s. I’ve been playing with his recipes for a few years now. I’ve seen his teachings’ effectiveness and I’ve had a ton of fun discovering all the different ways we can learn from nature.
With a background in natural science and a career in technology, I’ve been constantly looking for ways to unite my passion with my expertise. The more I learned from Gil the more I became wrapped up with the possibilities. He and I talked about a site and became very excited about all the things we want to share.
This site is the route I have found to utilize my skills in service of my ideals. I want it to grow and become a community, a place where people can come and share. Share ideas, experiences, knowledge, and passion. I want it to become a tremendous resource of “unconventional” farming knowledge, and an inspiration for those with the awareness to appreciate it.
These lofty goals boil down to a ton of hard work. I’ve poured countless hours into this, and I’ve only barely touched the surface of my goals here. It’s a good mission and I’m happy to be on it.