Farm to Fork Journey of a Cowpea
The Farm to Fork Advantage
More than bringing our fresh produce from Good Food Farm – Magdalena to the hands of the nutritionally at-risk communities we serve, our farm to fork approach makes way for a sustainable food cycle that assures food is produced and consumed as needed—minimizing our carbon footprint and reducing food wastage.
It Starts With A Seed
The journey starts with the small, humble cowpea. Despite its minute appearance, cowpeas are one of our most practical produce at the farm, lending itself to a number of uses from it being a great source of high-quality plant protein and other vitamins beneficial for both human and animal consumption, to its nitrogen-fixing properties that is especially helpful for soil improvement.
Its short maturity, low fertility requirement, and resistance to dry weather conditions also makes it a perfect inclusion to crop rotations—a sustainable practice we apply at Good Food Farm – Magdalena where a variety of crops are planted in the same area across seasons to maintain soil health and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.
50-60 days after sowing (DAS) the seeds, the first round of cowpeas are harvested as soon as the pods form a firm body. They can be harvested fresh or green, or they can be left on the plant to dry.
At the Good Food Farm, we harvest the cowpeas when they have reached maturity and we then leave them out to dry to ensure that none of the pods will sprout while in storage. Once dried, our farmers pick out the peas one by one, a process that usually takes about two days to accomplish. In a week, around 10-20 kgs of dried cowpeas are harvested to support our feeding operations.
At Rise Against Hunger Philippines, the produce from the Good Food Farm is sent directly to our Good Food Kitchen, located at the heart of the communities we serve. This includes our Kain Tayo Mobile Kitchen, a customized jeepney with a fully-equipped kitchen, which serves freshly cooked, hot meals to 500 individuals twice a week in different barangays across Metro Manila.
With its goal of providing nourishment for communities with the highest concentration of nutritionally at-risk members, our cowpea harvest is cooked along a meticulously planned out menu made by our nutritionist to ensure we’re fulfilling the nutritional needs of our community.
How good are they? While there might have been apprehensions on having the humble cowpea for a meal, our mobile kitchen’s Chicken Curry with Cowpeas has become a community favorite, enjoyed by both children and adults!
From a Farmer to a Community
When the news on how the cowpeas they have been planting turned out to be a big hit among the families in the communities we serve, one of our farmers, Tatay Nerdo, couldn’t help but share his elation.
“Masaya [kami] dahil napapakinabangan ‘yung ating mga na-aani dito, maraming nakakakain,” [We feel happy because we know that our produce were made use of and is now feeding plenty] he says, expressing how big an impact this must have to the thousands of Filipinos who still go hungry.
For Tatay Nerdo, all his hard work feels rewarded knowing that their harvest has come a long way to meet the needs of many.