A Mother’s Journey to building her family's future through farming
Getting Started as a Farmer
With their children’s future in mind and wanting to help her husband who worked as a carpenter, Jocelyn started her garden with just 100 square meters of land. She thought of farming because that was the only option she had as a stay at home mom. She tended to her garden while her child was asleep. Good thing they had the garden near the house. If she had plenty to do for the day - Jocelyn would wake up at dawn and work hard at her garden and later sell vegetables to the neighborhood, friends, and in the market.
As a simple farmer she thought earning Php8,000.00 for 15 days was already a huge amount. She was satisfied with what she was earning, thinking all she wanted to do initially was to help her husband provide for their family needs. However, Jocelyn was removed from the organization she was working with, and fell into rough times and once again, she had to fight back and stay motivated - but one thing’s for sure, farming was the way to go.
Not everyone gets 2M as a gross income for a year
She felt that being out of the organization she had before was a blessing. In May 2019 she was invited by an institution for a seminar and a friend of hers from OMAG (Office of the Municipal Agriculture) introduced Session Groceries. In July of that same year, Session Groceries was looking for a vegetable supplier. She said “this is what I’ve been waiting for”.
Before Jocelyn has started to successfully deliver, it has been delayed twice due to her crops & her husband's accident. December of 2019 was the perfect time she was able to provide vegetables to Session Groceries.
It was never easy for her to start from scratch with a new company to work with. She was very determined, and continued to learn things about agriculture. She attends meetings, training and seminars even when she has to walk 2 kilometers away to go home after 9:00 in the evening. She even said she was walking that far with no street lights and no transportation available.
And after this hardships, Jocelyn was able to reach a gross income of 2M in a span of 1 year. Ortega farm has a clearer picture of what the future gives them, they have used the income wisely. It was no regret for them to spend this amount of money for investments & to make the business better. Right now, Jocelyn just needs to raise additional funds to sustain the business.
To be an inspiration to my co-farmers
Session Groceries taught her a lot of things she will definitely need along the way. She learned how to use an ATM card, Social Media, proper recording of sales, Costing, and personality development. Her mindset was all about getting profit but realized it was not just about the sales. She felt the benefits of the seminars and training, she was taught how to be a successful & goal-oriented farmpreneur. She learned to record properly and saw the progress of the money invested in their small business. She said that she and her co-farmers were taught how to focus on the business, to set goals, and how to be able to achieve them. "Session Groceries showed me all things I thought were impossible, are right in front of me".
If 2019 was a setback and at the same time motivation for her, 2020 was a breakthrough for Jocelyn. She felt the opportunity given was the chance for her to introduce her products to a larger market which is NCR. She reminisced about her small market back then, where it was only in Baguio - to her friends and neighbors. She even encouraged her husband to do farming too, in that way they work together while spending time with their children.
Jocelyn is the same simple farmer but now with a new mindset and wants to inspire other farmers.
She’s motivated because of what she’s been through and always says to herself that she cannot stop. "Right now, I am my own boss and I am with my family". Farming is what she loves. She wants to be a provider of chemical-free and healthy vegetables to everyone. She feels productive and has achieved her goals because of farming. She imagines being more successful 5 years from now and dreams to have an Agri eco-farm as her end goal. Jocelyn doesn’t consider herself successful just yet, but she shared her fruits of labor: an expanded farm, a car, machinery, and equipment needed for farming. They were able to put up a store near the highway and were able to save money for their future.
She is very thankful for being part of the Session Groceries team. Aside from the advocacy, it helps farmers and also teaches the local consumers to support local farmers.
Jocelyn also wants to encourage and inspire other farmers to be successful And wants to tell other farmers not to stop from what they have right now and what they know about agriculture. “Try to get out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, learn new things, and innovate,” she said. Don’t let an opportunity slip away, Jocelyn wants them to be patient and compassionate about farming. She wants all farmers to stop saying “Mauna ka na” when opportunity knocks because you might regret it in the end. Her advice to farmers without confidence is to focus on their goal, when you know what you want, it will lead you to the path of success. She believes in the saying “ang umaayaw ay di nag wawagi; ang nag wawagi ay hindi umaayaw”.