Agro-eco tourism site GAIA to rise in Zarraga

As a result of its sustainable integrated area development (SIAD) process, the town of Zarraga finally breaks ground, August 10, for Garden Area for Initiatives in Action (GAIA), an agro-eco tourism site that includes a research farm, a green house, vermin-composting facility, organic agriculture center and other sustainability-aligned activities.

“It will be a dynamic showcase for walking the talk in caring for the planet. It will be a place to visit by Zarraganhons and non-Zarraganhons alike, to learn for students and farmers, and to enjoy for the whole family,” said Mayor John Tarrosa.

GAIA has nine components. First is the research farm, which will be the venue for all crop related researches while utilizing organic agriculture technologies that will help farmers increase their income.

Second is the model farm, which will be the site for testing and showcasing organic agriculture technologies prior to their implementation in the various organic farming communities.

Third is the Iloilo Provincial Environment and Natural Resources-funded Vermi Composting Facility. This will host the vermi-composting structures for research and production of vermi-compost which serves as an integral part GAIA’s organic agriculture projects.

Fourth, the Organic Agriculture Training Center where participants and trainees can observe the technologies and practices being promoted by GAIA.

Fifth, the Green Library that will host books, papers and researches on organic agriculture and nature conservation. It will be open for educational trips of local students and potentially foreign visitors.

Sixth, the Garden for the Senses will be a haven of flowering and ornamental plant varieties. It is a component of the butterfly farm.

Seventh is the Herbal Garden, which supports the town’s healthy living initiatives. It will have garden plots for the production of medicinal and culinary herbs.  It aims to inspire farmers to venture into this project as an alternative source of income.

Eighth is the Wellness Center. The municipality and TESDA have conducted numerous trainings on therapeutic massage, massage oil and essences production. This center shall provide a venue where the various graduates could practice their acquired skills and earn extra income.

Ninth, is the organic restaurant where GAIA guests can enjoy local dishes made of produce from the organic farms. It will showcase organic products that guests can take home.

Meanwhile, Mayor Tarrosa appeals for everybody’s support. “GAIA needs your support. We need resources to fund various initiatives to be installed here. Currently, the LGU is starting to raise funds and resources to fully establish GAIA. Although there are some commitments already in place, and some funding in the pipeline, we still need support to realize the full blooming of GAIA. Those interested to support GAIA can contact the GAIA Development Committee at lgu_zarraga@yahoo.com,” he said.

Tarrosa said that a few months after the groundbreaking, GAIA will be opened to the public.

Meanwhile, Zarraga also held a soft opening of its Organic Trading Post which will benefit organic farmers as well as Ilonggos who want to avail of healthy, organic products./

LINKS
Liwanag 2014: From Chaos to Rebirth
KKK: Mga Kaibigan ng mga Kabataang May Kanser
iSTAND: Iloilo Students Alliance for Nature and Development

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