The Espitals are Gio Paolo Espital, Laila Pornel-Espital, and their son, Seed Nayon. Gio is a farmer and community engagement officer of Good Food Community, alternative food distribution in the form of community shared agriculture that connects smallholding farmers and consumers. He also runs a service and retail brand called Elements of Tomorrow (ELMTM) which makes and sells bokashi composting kits.
Laila is a co-founder and outdoor teacher of Weekend Wild Child, a nature immersion program for families with children in the early years. She also teaches and holds workshops about healthy food preparation for infants and toddlers through Baby Food Project, an online support group for infant and young child feeding.
Their son Nayon is four years old. The couple practices Waldorf education and unschooling at home and in nature. “We spend a lot of time climbing trees, free play, expressive arts, learning life skills, managing big emotions and a lot of nourishing activities so he could have memories of a happy childhood,” Laila says.
The Espitals currently live in a bahay kubo with an urban garden in Taguig, where they used to stay on and off after Nayon was born and whenever the couple had teaching engagements in the metro. They moved back for good three years ago after working and living with a community in Mt. Banahaw.
CHOOSING FARM LIFE
The Espitals decision to live on the farm was borne from their background in community development. “Before becoming parents, our background is in community development, I teach livelihood diversification and biodiversity conservation while Gio teaches sustainable farming and livelihood linked to eco-tourism,” Leila says. “Both of us have seen how small communities changed for the better by protecting their natural resources and starting an organic farm as their livelihood. We wanted to apply the learnings we had from those years of work and see if this lifestyle is doable for our family.”
The many positive experiences in their work led them to decide on an agricultural path for their family, even before their son Nayon was born.
“First, we have control over our health and healing. Growing our own fruit and vegetables gave us a variety of food each day. It tastes better because we always have them fresh and it is safer to eat because we do not treat them with chemical pesticides, which are linked to numerous diseases.
“Second, we find peace being surrounded by nature. It makes us happy to see the garden grow that soon attracts birds, butterflies, frogs, worms, and bugs. Working with the soil sparks the wonder of our child helps decompress our minds from whatever worries we have and lets us be present in the moment.
“Third, we got to save and earn. Instead of spending the biggest chunk of our budget to buy vegetables, we can allocate them for other utilities at home and add to our travel fund. It is also a joy for us to have a source of income that offers health to other people through farm produce and composting kits.
“But above all of this, we decided to lead this lifestyle because we believe that it is our moral imperative to take good care of our planet and our way of participation is make the soil healthy and grow food without harming nature. It is our duty as parents to model to our son the meaningful work that farmers do for their families and society. And lastly, to spread not just the awareness about food systems but to actually help in closing the loop of sustainable consumption through composting and regenerative practices,” Laila says.
EVERY DAY IS AN ADVENTURE
The family believes in “practicing a rhythm at home,” and have been doing so even before the pandemic. This means having a set schedule they rarely deviate from. It’s making sure that the proper activity is done at the corresponding time of day to allow everyone to get to do what they need and want to do, at the same time injecting a sense of fun and wonder into daily living.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
TWO AGRICULTURISTS THRIVE DURING THE PANDEMIC BY GROWING ORNAMENTAL AND FOOD CROPS AT HOME
THE WORLD is facing an extreme challenge brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Food security has been compromised and the stability of the world’s economy has been threatened.
FAMILY REST HOUSE IS NOW AN AGRITOURISM SITE THAT OFFERS A TASTE OF REAL FILIPINO CHARM
ALMOST EVERY FILIPINO dreams of someday retiring into farming where they can relax in close proximity to nature, feel satisfied with growing plants, and even spend time with their family away from the usual bustle of everyday life.
PROLIFIC MILLENNIAL FARMER FINDS FURTHER SUCCESS IN INSPIRING VIEWERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
WE OFTEN HEAR that children of farmers don’t want to follow in their parents’ footsteps because there is no money in agriculture. In the case of Reden Mark F. Costales, not only does he manage the family farm, he’s also become an internet celebrity, instructing and encouraging Filipinos to go into agriculture via The Agrillenial, his YouTube channel whose videos are also available on Facebook.
OFW ESTABLISHED A GREENHOUSE IN SWEDEN TO SUSTAIN HER THROUGH LONG WINTERS
SWEDEN is a country in Europe with numerous coastal islands and inland lakes, along with mountains covered in both ice and snow. Due to the cold temperature brought about by being close to the North Pole, Sweden experiences long, and sometimes harsh, winters.
URBAN MICRO GARDEN: START YOUR GARDEN EVEN WITHOUT DIRECT SUN
IN GARDENING, “There are four important elements: sunlight, water, nutrients, and time. There is no such thing as green or black thumb,” this is what Liezl Rivera, an IT Project Manager and gardener from Taguig believes in. Same goes for space; gardening does not require a wide area to begin with. In her case, to maximize her balcony garden, she opted for the vertical technique.
MILLENNIAL TURNS BACKYARD GARDEN INTO SMALL FARM
DURING THE EARLY MONTHS of the COVID-19 pandemic, community quarantine was imposed in Luzon, and other areas in the Philippines to contain the spread of the virus. One concern during this period was of food security.
CANCER SURVIVOR CREDITS GARDENING WITH CONTRIBUTING TO RECOVERY
THE CRISIS that COVID-19 has brought to the world has made more individuals see the importance of nature and environment. But this is not a new trend. Many people have already realized the joys of tending plants and growing their own food even before the global health emergency has occurred.
CULTIVATING A FOOD FOREST: BOHOL PERMACULTURE FARM PRODUCES AWARD-WINNING TABLEA
NOT EVERYONE gets into farming voluntarily at first but there are many who come to realize that it is actually their calling.
COUPLE WITH NO AGRICULTURE BACKGROUND DEVELOPED A FARM FOR RETIREMENT
MANY PEOPLE INVEST in agriculture as part of their retirement plans. The same went for Jessie and Lea Dealas, both 60, who ventured into farming to secure their life after retirement.
AFTER 30 YEARS, A FARMER NOW OWNS THREE GARDENS AND PROVIDES JOBS AMID CRISIS
THERE’S NOTHING MORE SATISFYING than seeing the fruit of your hard work, especially after long years of failing and learning.
ODDS ARE AGAINST NEWLYWED SEAN!
CRADLE ROBBER CAN’T SEEM TO KEEP A GIRL
Leila Sabet Crowned Miss Florida Citrus After Virtual Pageant
Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani In theaters April 3
Sama Group Is Redefining What It Means To Be A Not-For-Profit Business
Two seasoned travellers give you a heads up on the common blunders we tend to make while vacationing abroad.
Historians should not allow biases in their work: Novelist
Leila Al Mutawa, who supported the idea of the evolution of history, called for examining history from different perspectives
HOW WOULD SCHOOLS CHANGE WHEN THEY RE-OPEN?
While we wait to find out what the announcements will be regarding schools re-opening, one thing is for sure - both the schools themselves and the students will have to operate very differently going forward.
‘Your life could be destroyed...'
Billie Piper on playing a child star-turned-actor whose private life is made VERY public
Life laid bare
Billie Piper plays a former child star-turned actor who finds herself publicly exposed...
SEAN SECRETLY MARRIES HIS AUSSIE GIRL!
The 59-year-old ties the knot with his much-younger girlfriend
The future looks bright at Brewery Square
Brewery Square, a vibrant shopping and leisure centre in the heart of Dorchester, has recently announced that is has filled all of its shops, now let to the most diverse range of retailers, restaurants and leisure facilities available locally.