Flashback to three weeks ago. I received a letter from the Filipino Channel asking if they could visit the farm in Santa Cruz where I apprentice. They were interested in showing Adobo Nation viewers what a sustainable farm could look like. Would I be willing? Siyempre!
The morning of filming, I met the friendly Racquel and crew of two in the parking lot. As they pulled out sleek cameras, tripods, and gear, I realized I was still clutching a wet cilantro box and thought how people should really do things like clean their nails, wear makeup, etc. if they are going to be on TV. Well...
The can-do crew toured the farm for 3 hours, walked paths wet with last night's rain, admired bell peppers (did you know there is NO SUCH THING as a ripe green bell pepper?), the solar shower (that didn't make the segment), and my not-so-fresh tent cabin (that did). They somehow positioned us to sit on buckets and chat as naturally as possible while school field trips unfolded around us. I felt very fortunate to hear some of the crew's personal stories on farms, farmworkers, and what organic could mean to our communities, and I only wish I could've turned the lens back on them.
I would like to think I lost my fear of public speaking after being torn apart and glued back together by the honesty of young children. But yeah, I was nervous. It was an out-of-body experience to go from the daily work to talking about it, and I heard myself scraping for words. Who was I to say anything about farming? How to talk about irrigation in a non-nerdy way and without words like "goof plug"?
If I had one wish, it is that segment could've kept the message about how the sustainable food movement stands on the shoulders of elders and cultures that traditionally have always taken care of the land. But overall, how cool is it that The Filipino Channel wants to address sustainability in its programming?
While the mainstream may not perceive Asian Americans as being at the forefront of the environmental movement, in California 83% of Asian American voters identify as environmentalists, compared to the state's overall 52%. Asian American farmers and growers are sowing organic crops, choosing traditional varieties, and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) models, as the old school way and not simply to ride a newer wave. We are a vibrant part of the movement for ecological sustainability.
I'm very thankful to have had a chance to meet the wonderful folks of Adobo Nation, and to share a little slice of the farm. TFC crew, if you are somehow reading this, maraming salamat po!
More: Adobo Nation has a range of programs, from features on the culinary arts, to interviews with youth workers. The crew mentioned an earlier feature on the history of Filipino farmworkers in Stockton, which I'm now going to search through their archives for. If you find it first, please post the link!