Backyard Farming

In Negros Occidental, a Space-Saving, Zero-Soil Farming System to Grow Veggies!

Lory Joyce Andagan | July 03, 2020

In Negros Occidental, a Space-Saving, Zero-Soil Farming System to Grow Veggies!

Lory Joyce Andagan
Lory Joyce Andagan | July 03, 2020

Imagine that your backyard is full of fast-growing vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, okra, sweet pepper, and pechay. Wouldn't it be great to have your very own farm to table experience in the comforts of your own home? In Negros Occidental, an electrical engineer but a farmer by heart made it possible for himself by planting various vegetables in his backyard. This is not an ordinary backyard farm, he uses urban agriculture techniques to maximize his space for planting!

Photo courtesy of Ian Fred Solas

With 700m2, Ian Fred Solas made his backyard into a vegetable haven. Instead of plastic pots, he uses recycled plastic bottles. He also employs a soil-less farming method called hydroponics where plants grow in mineral-rich water that does away with the need for soil. “We use discarded foam and coco pots as the base instead of soil. You just have to give the plants enough water supplement for it to be grown,” says Solas, adding that they also combine aquaponics practices in their system by using fish waste as fertilizer. 

Photo courtesy of Ian Fred Solas

“What’s good about it because the product of 1 hectare can also be produced within a hundred square meter space,” Solas relates. This self–sufficient hobby that he started way back 2007 turned into his advocacy when he saw the potential it can give to the community. “Last 2018, I engaged with the community in our barangay by helping them go back to farming for food security,” he said. After years of self- studying and research, he perfected the aquaponics technology and founded IF Green Technologies with the help of the Technological University of the Philippines-Visayas (TUPV) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its Hub for Innovation and Value Engineering (HIVE) project “The purpose of this is to teach the community the importance of urban farming and how it helps to have good security at any point in time,” says Solas.

[related: This Negros Initiative Turns Plastic Bottles into Sellable Items!]

Last 30 March 2020, Seeds of Hope was born, where free seeds are given away as part of the relief operations of Bacolod City during this pandemic. He partnered with Pickles Yee de la Cruz for this project educating the community to start farming as a means of giving them food security especially during this crisis. Who would’ve thought that this simple hobby of Solas became a great help in his community? During this time, one of the things that can help boost the economy is agriculture.

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TAGS: hydroponics,aquaponics,seeds,seeds of hope,ian fred solas,Bacolod City,community,soil less,farming,backyard farming,backyard,food security