Macor and Anne Martinez: Foodie Sisters and a High-Tech Farm

Our desire to have a healthy food source routed us to try farming. We are foodies, and at the same time, we also want to ensure that what we take in is safe and healthy. Being at home during the pandemic allowed us to explore how else we can have a sustainable life. With a limited space at home, we tried hydroponics and microgreens. While we have been planting since we were kids, hydroponics and microgreens really started in 2020 where our harvests are for our personal consumption and most of the time, being shared to our neighbors.

Eventually, we realized that there’s a market for it – like us, people are becoming more conscious about their food intake and thereby, establishing Mizu farm in April 2021. This opened a lot of opportunities for us meeting and connecting to more people – from priests who are also passionate about sustainability, pastors who we have the same interest in hydroponics, restaurant owners like us who have been experiencing difficulty getting fresh
and reasonable priced veggies supplies, chefs, food enthusiasts, and known personalities in the food business whom we share our respect to clean and healthy produce – and yes, our admiration to microgreens! Agriculturists and farmers who we share hitches for every cycle of farming and a lot more. These people and the continued need for healthy and safe food is what drives us to continue learning and exploring new ways of farming.

Trials and Triumphs

Unending trials! 

From lack of resources available in the current market, high priced items to use in the innovation of farming, crops not growing well due to a lot of factors
like change of season, sun exposure, humidity, other external factors like pests, fungus, plant vitamins and growing mediums, market need and timing – these are just a general note of issues we have experienced since we started farming. And these concerns can always come back in different forms and ways. So farming is indeed a lifelong learning experience.

Social media has been a great help in the learning process. Joining communities of farmers and a lot of research has helped us a lot in handling these concerns. But the best process in overcoming them is really experiences. Trials in farming don’t end. So everyday, every sowing, every germination, every growing and every harvest is a new experience. Even marketing your produce is a whole lot of oceans to explore and experience trials. Hydroponics, just like the traditional farming is not exempted to these concerns and will always be affected by the law of supply and demand.

Lessons Learned

1. The lesson we can share is probably to never stop learning. While there are hundreds of ways to make things right, there are also a thousand new ways to try and explore.

2. Connect and learn from people who have the same passion as you!

3. Record! it’s always best to note and record all your farm activities, your concerns and how you managed to overcome them. Record even the best harvests so you can always replicate.

4. Do not be afraid of failures. Not all seeds will germinate, but hey! You can always sow another batch.

5. Be inspired by other farmers – never treat them as competitors.

6. Know your market. Just because most farmers produce lettuce, you should follow. Check what other crops your market needs and learn to grow them.

7. Always plan two steps ahead. Farming takes time before harvest, so study the timeline and prepare. It’s always best to check the calendar and note what crop would be best at a certain time.

And 8. Think of your consumers as your family. You wouldn’t feed your family with bad chemicals, so please always put safety in mind in farming.

Dreams for the Future

We always dream of living in a sustainable home farm, but with the growing market, we see that the community indeed needs to have a food source that’s safe and secure – just like how we were encouraged by the Inspired Learning Tour we attended in Chonburi, Thailand. Our country needs to have the same mindset as Thailand. We know we cannot turn the tables around and be like the Thai in a snap, but we can always start and inspire people to do the same. Mizu farm will continue to do its best to learn more and produce more. We see our farm growing into a community where our produce would be sufficient for those we can reach, be the go-to for healthy and safe food and at the same time, to provide employment within our area. We hope to grow our farm not only to produce veggies but also to other livestock that can help sustain our communities’ needs.