The name seems to be a misnomer, for nothing is really grown or raised at the Urban Farm. On second thought, however, it is when you talk about entrepreneurs who are planting the seeds of tomorrow by offering lifestyle choices other than the usual.
The Ancient Bakery, Cotton & Canvas and Project Luntian are three of the most interesting vendors at this Saturday morning-only market at the Greenfield District Central Park, where residents from Mandaluyong and Pasig can buy fresh produce along with ready-to-consume products and household items.
Behind these products are separate but almost identical advocacies. For Ancient Bakery, it’s about healthier bread. For Cotton & Canvas, it’s helping community-based PWD (persons with disabilities) earn a living. And for Project Luntian Ph, it’s about environmental awareness and sustainability.
Before husband-and-wife tandem Dieter Walz and Mayette Salle established The Ancient Bakery, they were looking for gluten-free bread that was nutritious and easily digestible. And when they couldn’t find anything in the market, they decided to make it themselves.
“We make bread the traditional way — no instant yeast, no baking soda or baking powder and all coming from a good organic starter,” said Mayette, who revealed that they use different kinds of flour, namely, coming from spelt, buckwheat, rye, eikorn and farro that are all imported, particularly from the United States and Europe.
Her husband Dieter does the baking based on the orders the following day to make sure that the bread is made fresh upon delivery.
Prior to setting up a space in the Urban Farm, they were already taking in orders through Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TheAncientBakery).
“Online is easier because you can reach a lot of people, but we do plan to come up with a physical store in the future. I guess the market is not yet ready for a premium type of bread. It tastes a little different because it’s a little sour compared to the sweet bread. It is also a bit hard because it has more protein so it is little bit heavy,” she said.
The couple and many of their clients attest to the bread’s health benefits. For her part, Mayette explained: “There’s a very big difference. My stomach is settled, I feel lighter, I have no joint pains and my skin is better.”
Gifts that grow
Advocating zero waste living, Project Luntian Ph offers items such as pencils, gift tags and product labels that will live longer than their intended uses.
Project Luntian Ph’s Paula Limbang said that these are no ordinary pencils as the caps contain different seeds from flowers, herbs and vegetables.
“The plantable pencils are fairly new. Instead of throwing the pencil after using it, you can just plant it. You can also easily take the cap off so you can get the seeds inside,” said Limbang, who added that these pencils cost P35 each and could be a good gift option for the holidays.
The Christmas gift tags and the product labels for the premium Arabica Coffee bags contain mint seeds and can also be planted instead of being discarded.
Other curiosities are the Stevia-sweetened oatmeal cookies with malunggay, iced tea and peanut butter (called Peanut Better) and the market bags.
“We want to help the environment and reduce the use of landfill. We also want to spread awareness and inspire others that instead of using plastics, they can use reusable and washable options,” said Limbang, who transacts business online through Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/projectluntianph).
Business that helps
Chicky Cabunagan, whose family is in the customized t-shirt business, embarked on her personal advocacy to provide livelihood to people with disabilities at the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Rehabilitation Shelter Workshop in Quezon City.
The business of Cotton & Canvas goes beyond eco-bags as the product list includes polylinen table napkins, water-resistant fabric placemats, bags, pouches and laundry bags.
“We think about the concepts, the PWD are the ones who do the sewing, and my husband does the printing,” said Cabunagan about the two-year partnership with the DSWD shelter.
“I wasn’t really expecting that much since our main business is in t-shirt printing. I just wanted to try it but I’m glad it has taken off. Nakakatuwa that you can help and earn as well,” said Cabunagan, who also sells online through FB page (https://www.facebook.com/cottonandcanvas.ph).
Going back to roots
Condo-dwellers who live around the Greenfield district get to re-experience what marketing in the old days feels like, when one has time to buy fresh ingredients for meals in the early morning before the advent of refrigerators.
The weekend market, which is open from 6 am to 12 noon every Saturday, has gourmet coffee, breads, organic produce, jams, jellies, cured meat, cheese, olive oils, spices, pies, pastries, muffins, mushroom chips, honey, truffle, fruits and vegetables, and even poultry, seafood and rice.
“Given the growing community here, we thought about offering something fresh, a farm-to-table concept that would cater to the community. The condo dwellers around don’t really buy five days’ worth of groceries. They just buy something that they can cook for a few days, so that’s why we have fresh seafood, poultry, and hopefully later on, some meat,” shared Michael Andan, Greenfield Development Corporation’s Head of Marketing Communications.
Andan said that the Urban Farm vendors (34 on opening day) were carefully curated and they prioritize local and small businesses that push sustainable, healthy and zero-waste living.
“Urban Farm encourages people to live a healthier lifestyle. It is also committed to helping local and small businesses to thrive. It is also set in finding ways to make the weekend shopping experience plastic-free and zero-waste,” Andan added.
Photos by Lourdes Florian M. Hernandez