Novel Agritourism Destination In The Making In Bacolod

MAY’S ORGANIC GARDEN  is an innocent sounding name for a novel concept of an organic farming-based tour destination in Bacolod City. One would think it is just like one of those ordinary projects being put up in different places in the country today.
But the place, a 3.9-hectare agritourism project, would be different in many ways when it will be finished by September this year. It will showcase many doable technologies needed to succeed in organic farming and gardening.
The place is owned by the family of Ramon Uy, the inventor of shredders and many other agricultural machinery. He usually quips, however, that he just happened to be married to the lady who owns May’s Organic Garden, the young-looking May Uy.
While the whole project is still under development as of this writing (June 6, 2012), there are a number of sections that are already functioning. First is the May’s Organic Restaurant that serves dishes using organically grown vegetables and other ingredients. There’s also a weekend market where organic vegetables, herbs, organic health and wellness products are sold.
On display are a couple of windmills in operation, fabricated by Ramon Uy himself. A third one will soon be installed. One is providing irrigation to a mini version of rice terraces planted to organic rice.
Then there is a low-cost pump called Elephant Pump which is made of recycled rubber tire and steel pipe. There is no engine needed. It is operated manually and is ideal for drawing water from a source like a canal. It can bring up water for irrigating garden plants 3 to 5 meters above the water source.
There is also what Ramon calls Rope Pump which is easily manipulated by hand to lift the water from a well. It provides an easier way of drawing water from the well than the traditional system.
Right now, there are already different vegetables and herbs being grown the organic way in sections of the property. These include pechay, eggplant, okra, tomato, camote, mustard, sitao, lemon grass and many others.
There’s a showcase of sweet corn where camote is intercropped for the production of tops for salad and some for root production. There is a shredder stationed in one place shredding coconut husks for use as mulch in plots planted to eggplant.
There’s a greenhouse where  growing seedlings of vegetables are showcased so visitors may learn to germinate their seeds properly. There are also culinary herbs cultured in the greenhouse.
Also to be installed will be the lemon grass oil distiller which is also manufactured by Ramon’s RU Foundry. This is one invention of Ramon Uy which is providing livelihood for upland farmers in Brgy. Camalandaan in the upland town of Cauayan in Negros Occidental.
The upland farmers grow lemon grass for oil extraction in Ramon Uy’s distiller and the oil extracted is sold at P1,500 per liter. The extracted oil is used in making health and wellness products like massage oil, bath soap, shampoo, and the like. An anti-dengue organic spray using Citronella oil is also now being developed with the help of a UP scientist.
Organic fertilizer production by means of vermiculture will be another attraction in May’s Organic Garden. Ramon’s shredders are efficient in shredding farm wastes and other materials which are fed to earthworms for the production of vermicompost. Visitors will be able to learn the art of making organic fertilizers right there. 
In the middle of an artificial lake or lagoon, a two storey building is being built as of this writing. This will serve many purposes. It could be a venue for conferences, celebration of special occasions like wedding receptions, birthday parties, reunions and others.
The lagoon which occupies big space could be used for boating. The water could be stocked with fish and leisure fishing could be one of the attractions later.
What Ramon considers significant will be the seminars on various topics in organic agriculture that will be regularly offered. Experts from different lines of specialization will be invited to conduct seminars and demonstrations.
Chefs from Manila and other cities could be invited to conduct cookfests using organically grown materials. The ideas are practically limitless.
Ramon Uy behind a full-grown lemon grass.


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