The Reaping

You reap what you sow. And reap we did as we harvested the rice we helped plant three months ago.

Taking an early morning bus trip from Manila to Capas, Tarlac, I got re-acquainted to the rice farm as my two feet plunged into the mud and started cutting rice stalks using a sickle. This didn’t entail much leg bending compared to our rice planting experience and I easily got into the grab-cut-toss rhythm.

The overly bright sun was up so sweat trickled down my forehead the whole time. I didn’t mind the itchy scratch of the plant as I gained some “battle scars.” Frogs, grasshoppers, and snails were everywhere as I trudged through the cool mud. I quietly, with serious concentration, I might add, worked on five lines or so of rice stalks. It took me around an hour to complete that. Typically, the 200-square meter area would be harvested by a farmer for two hours.

We then had to haul the harvested rice stalks, dry them up, and remove the grains from the stalks. These later on would still have to undergo the de-hulling process before they can be ready for cooking.

I asked how much rice we would be able to produce and was a bit surprised to learn that it’s just a cavan or roughly 60 kilos which would cost about P1,600. All that time, work, effort, and sweat for that amount of money!

Bawat butil ay mahalaga (Every grain is important). This line resonates with me even more as I got to see the behind-the-scenes of rice production. In a culture of excess such as ours where food is taken for granted and is thrown away or wasted, I wish everyone would be required to grow their own food so we could realize how difficult it is.

In a culture of excess such as ours where food is taken for granted and is thrown away or wasted, I wish everyone would be required to grow their own food so we could realize how difficult it is.

The rice harvest farm trip organized by Good Food Community was participated in by more than 20 individuals. It was refreshing to see kids joining in the fun.

After the day’s hard work, we rewarded ourselves with a boodle fight style lunch of rice, fish, and fresh organic vegetables. Rice couldn’t be tastier at that time. And of course, there was no rice or food wasted at all.

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The Farm Trip participants.

Photos by Marvin Almonte

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Author: Ryan Bestre

Environmentalist. Teacher. Writer.

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