On  March 9, just before classes and office work were suspended due to Covid-19,  leaders and  resource persons   of the Homenet Producers Cooperative(HPC) , Live Green International, Sarilaya, Capas Organic Farmers Producers Cooperative, and Freedom from Debt Coalition  (FDC)  shared ideas and experiences in a roundtable discussion (RTD)  focusing on -supported organic agriculture (CSOA) .

 The RTD was   spearheaded by the Asian Solidarity Economy Council (ASEC) Philippine Network  (APN) and the Center for Women and Gender Studies of the University of the Philippines  (UPCWGS)  at the UPCWGS Conference Hall.  It served as the opening activity of the UPCWGS Women’s Bazaar in celebration of Women’s Month, wherein the HPC also participated as an exhibitor and seller.

Dr. Benjamin Quinones Jr., co-convenorof  APN, introduced the solidarity economy framework for promoting  CSOA, and showed the potential of the HPC as the base group for its realization.  ZoniaNarito, chaireperson of HPC, presented a case study of the Coop, highlighting its current products and activities. 

MoninaGeaga, former secretary general of the ecofeminist group Sarilaya but now more active in the Capas Farmers Coop, shared about how she and her husband slowly transitioned from being consumers to producers, living off grid (having solar energy as the only source of power), and helping reorganize and strengthen  a coop of backyard organic farmers  with the support of local government.

Marketing staff of Live Green International, which produces and markets organic vegetables to a wide variety of outlets, presented a new and exciting marketing platform called “Better Baskets.”  Through this platform, producers can promote their products, and these products can be delivered door to door.

Rene Ofreneo, president of the FDC , expounded on the principles and strategies of a “people’s economy” which FDC is promoting as the economic alternative to the mainstream development framework  which has resulted in more poverty, inequality, and environmental degradation.  He said CSOA  fits very neatly into FDC’s overall advocacy.

Co-moderators for the forum  were Dr. ExcelsaTongson, UPCWGS Deputy Director, and Dr. Rosalinda Pineda Ofreneo of HPC.

The HPC, together with FDC and other coalitions, have been instrumental in reviving and strengthening the ASEC Philippine Network in the context of the forthcoming World Social Forum on Transformative Economies to be held in Barcelona in July.

Dr. Quinones, Dr. Ofreneo, and Dr. Nathalie Verceles of the UPCWGS, serve as co-convenors of APN.