Resource speaker Ferdinand Peran (standing, seventh from left), FEU Alumni Relations Director Celmer Santos (standing, ninth from left), and the members of the Kababaihan ng Payatas make the Tamaraw sign after the seminar. Photo by ARO.

Several members of the Kababaihan ng Payatas, led by Sr. Maria Lourdes Velasco, gained new skills after having participated in a seminar on soilless farming last March 15 at Far Eastern University (FEU).

During the seminar, they were introduced to the innovative livelihood program on aquaponics and hydroponics farming.

Through the expertise of the resource speaker, Ferdinand Peran, an aquaponics and hydroponics system practitioner and builder technician, the participants learned about different innovative soilless farming techniques and saw a glimpse of the meticulous yet enjoyable farming process—from seeds germination, transplanting, crop maintenance, to harvesting.

Peran also discussed how he set up his own system in the small space he had at home, and shared how it helped him weather the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial effects. He shared tips and tricks on how to make the system work, from strictly sorting seed quality, managing seedlings, proper handling of crops, up to devising alternative uses for surplus and overgrown harvests.

Members of the Kababaihan ng Payatas tour the FEU campus. Photo by ARO.
FEU Alumni Relations Director Celmer Santos explains the objective of the aquaculture project. Photo by ARO.

By learning the essential components of the aquaponics and hydroponics farming, the women of Payatas are offered with another means of income other than rag production.

This program was conducted by the FEU Alumni Relations Office (ARO), in coordination with the FEU Alumni Foundation, Inc. (FEU-AFI). It was made possible by the OneFEUfund campaign, a component of ARO’s livelihood projects for the partner communities of FEU. The office funds livelihood programs and conducts capacity building training to ensure the sustainability of the projects. Recently, ARO decided to concentrate its livelihood activities on urban vegetable gardening and aquaculture using aquaponics farming.

In the coming days, Peran, ARO and FEU-AFI are set to visit Payatas to survey the area and identify the necessary preparations in putting up the farming system. In the meantime, Peran has urged the participants to collect recyclable materials for the project, like plastic bottles, Styrofoam boxes, and plastic cups.

Ferdinand Peran discusses how to plant vegetables without using soil. Photo by ARO.