Christina Pabor, a trainee-alumna of SM Foundation’s KSK-SAP, joins the SM Sunday Market at SM City Calamba.
For many, farming is a way of life. They gain a profound sense of purpose when they cultivate the land, plant seeds, and harvest fruits and vegetables that will nourish not just their families but an entire community.
It has also since emerged as a viable social enterprise. Through trainings, farmers have learned business principles and saw livelihood and entrepreneurial growth opportunities while also becoming aware of the impact of their choices on the environment.
Cristina Lumor-Pabro, a Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture Program (KSK-SAP) farmer, knows just this. After becoming a KSK-SAP farmer, she felt that a career in farming offered her a sense of purpose, community, and fulfillment.
Pathway to a fulfilling life
As the family matriarch, Christina chose to get a job with a consistent monthly salary, entering a casual position in a local government despite her passion for planting.
“Ako po’y nagta-trabaho bilang empleyado, ngunit hindi po sapat ang kinikita ko para sa aming pamilya. Sa kabila ng mga pagsubok at lungkot, nakahiligan ko pong magtanim sa aming likod bahay. Lumiligaya po ako tuwing nagtatanim ako,” Christina said.
In 2019, she learned about SM Foundation’s KSK-SAP and was part of the program’s batch 188–an opportunity that would soon be her pathway to a fulfilling life.
From a humble backyard planter, she became an agri-preneur equipped with farming and marketing know-how and was empowered to cultivate the small plot of land they owned using her knowledge from the training.
“Mula sa simpleng backyard gardening, nagkaroon ako ng dagdag kaalaman tungkol sa tamang proseso at pamamaraan ng pagtatanim. Dito ko rin mas na-appreciate ang pagpapahalaga sa kalikasan na nagbibigay buhay sa atin kaya’t sinisikap ko po ang pagco-compost upang makagawa ng organic na fertilizer,” she shared.
Christina and her fellow farmers prepare to sell their tomato harvest.
KSK-SAP opened more doors for her. It was her pathway to becoming a member of farmers’ associations–groups that later became her family where she shared her farming knowledge. To further support her farming endeavors years after KSK, she also registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to become a Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (BMBE).
“Nagkaroon ako ng community na lagi kong nakakasalamuha. Masaya kami tuwing aani na kami ng pananim dahil nasa puso ko po talaga ang pagtatanim. Kaya’t simula noong sumali ako sa KSK, nagiging masaya ako sa kabila ng bawat pagsubok ng buhay,” she said.
Aside from allowing her to do what her heart desires, the opportunity paved by KSK-SAP provided her a reliable, additional income. She now actively joins local trade fairs and SM’s farmer’s market initiatives, including the SM Sunday Market. The money she earns from selling fruits and vegetables goes beyond sustaining the needs of her family–she utilizes it to support and improve her farm.
Christina (sixth from left), SM City Calamba employees, and other KSK scholars proudly show the products at the SM Sunday Market.
“Malaking tulong sa aming mga KSK farmers ang SM Sunday Market. Dito namin naipakikita na quality ang aming pananim. Fresh o bagong pitas ang mga ito kaya na ibebenta namin sa aming mga customers sa patas na halaga. Dahil sa maayos na kita, nakakatulong ito para mapalago ang aming farm at maisaayos ang buhay ng mga kapwa kong magtatanim,” she said.
Today, the program continues to serve as her inspiration: “Kaya’t naging inspirasyon ko ang KSK. Isinapuso ko ang programa dahil alam kong makakatulong ito para umunlad ang aking buhay. Sa pagtatanim ko rin natutunan na kayang maging matatag anumang pagsubok ang dumating sa buhay.”
Since 2007, the KSK-SAP has fueled the farming and entrepreneurial capabilities of over 28,000 marginalized rural and urban farmers nationwide. Some of the farmers’ training graduates have become seasonal suppliers within the SM group and other local markets.
SM Foundation’s KSK-SAP is conducted in partnership with SM Supermalls, TESDA, DA, DSWD, DOST, DTI, and partner farm schools.