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Our3Q – Good Food Community, Philippines

Charlene – founder of Good Food Community is about growing a sustainable society that nourishes everyone—you, the farmers, the land and generations to come. The multiple crises of our age serve as an invitation to evolve a new system and culture—one that puts the planet and people first.


Q1: What do you appreciate yourself in the business mainly for?

For me, in some way, this is the life I would dream of. When I was in high school and I would imagine myself doing what I’m doing now, well, seems pretty cool. If you distance yourself from all the challenges and day to day problems it’s really amazing: all the people you meet, kind of conversations and relationship you have and how the community grows out of this initiative… it’s just great. Sometimes we are cutting vegetables with the farmers, sitting at the same table, talking and, all in all, it’s exactly what we wanted.


Q2: What is the biggest challenge for you now?

We have to deal with different groups. One of them is consumers and urban communities. We have to educate them how to cook different vegetables and be flexible with what they get from farmers instead of strictly following a recipe. The first thing is to let it be, not controlling every step and appreciating what nature gives you. We do what we do, not only for social good, but also for environment, we teach consumers to be more conscious, satisfied with what they have without wanting always more and more. The second group we work with are the farmers. They speak a different language. I have a framework how I see and describe the world: social justice, sustainability, social enterprise, bottom line… But when I’m talking to farmers I have to figure out what language they speak and adjust to it. Be open to their world, their way of thinking and their attitude.


Q3: What advice do you have for yourself in this situation?

My dream is to make a change in the way we relate to each other, transforming farming into relationship. How to do it? When we meet people who live another way and see it’s possible. We start to think that we may also try to live differently. And treat other people differently. And that’s how friendship and community start. From a more professional point of view we feel that in this moment we have to concentrate more on the business side. At the beginning it was a lot about building relation with farmers, now it’s more about getting customers, people who want to buy their products.


Would you like to add something else?

When I started with this idea I didn’t know anything about business, I just wanted to do good. Now we have around 60 farmers on different level of participation, from 3 different communities, which means also different background, different strategies. And we didn’t have any matrix, basically we did not know really what we were doing. I just envisioned it would be great to have vegetables directly from the farmers, share them and build a community out of it. Wouldn’t it be nice? 5 years later, 2 breaks down later… I still believe it’s worth. I don’t know if I believe in purpose in life but there has to be something that makes you to be you. You should pay attention to it. Trust it. Try to be the best person you can be. This is our world. Make your contribution.


The questions were asked on our behalf by Anna and Andrea from How to (ex) change the world.


Manila, Philippines, 13th March, 2016

ID: 036/100


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