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As the pandemic encouraged teenagers to engage digitally through social media platforms, Kyler Sy, 17, thought of a solution to improve the status of farming in the Philippine­s.

Sy started a farm-to-table social movement by opening a website community, Green Gulay. The project allows farmers in far-flung provinces to market their goods.

The website is a platform for nontech-savvy farmers to sell their products online. In a country where it is a challenge for farmers to deliver goods, Sy has attempted to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers, while serving fresh produce at every Filipino table.

“The farm-to-table social movement really resonated with me,” says Sy. “I had firsthand experience of enjoying the benefits of this ideology. My farm and my table are just a few meters from each other, and I can clearly see the benefits, not only in knowing the source of my food but also on the environmen­t.

“Imagine the amount of carbon emissions eradicated by this approach. In addition to this, it helps small farms who have minimal access to markets where they are often left without a channel to sell their products. This makes small farms susceptibl­e to unscrupulo­us traders and agents who do not give them fair compensati­on for their crops.”

Green Gulay has partnered with several farms from Baguio, Cavite, Taguig, Rizal and Bulacan, among other areas. The project has improved the economic status and business returns of farmers.

What keeps Sy motivated despite the geographic­al challenges is his passion to consume and serve natural produce. “Seeing my plants grow is very rewarding. Vertical farming allows you to grow multiple plants in a plastic drum. It is a time- and space-saving farming practice. I plant simple produce like peppers and cherry tomatoes to ease my stress from online classes and enjoy the ‘fruits of my labor.’”

The idea came from his personal experience and understand­ing of the online marketplac­e for farm produce.

“I was surprised that there wasn’t any way to find sustainabl­e fresh produce online. I decided to develop this marketplac­e for farmers to post their products and for consumers to find them directly. This is howgreengu­ started.”

To ensure that consumers are dealing with authorized farmers, Green Gulay ensured a safety registrati­on process of all partner farms. “I encourage everyone to check out the website and support our local farmers. If you are a small-scale sustainabl­e farmer, please register and let consumers know about your products.”

Sy is an Internatio­nal School Manila Grade 12 student and an avid video game player who has successful­ly organized video game competitio­ns for public school students.

 ?? ?? Kyler Sy’s drive to start Green Gulay started from his small vegetable tower in his backyard.
Kyler Sy’s drive to start Green Gulay started from his small vegetable tower in his backyard.

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