MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center
“I strongly believe that family farming is an excellent driver for rural development and sustainability. I see a wave of "family farming revolution" coming with many of our returning Filipinos and Overseas Filipino Workers going back to rural communities and tracing back their roots. I don't see them retiring ... I see them starting a new career in family farming. Bringing in their skills and expertise in many different industries and marrying them in agriculture.
It will be an exciting time for agriculture in the Philippines! An engineer-farmer; a doctor-farmer; a teacher-farmer. I was in the apparel business before I farm and I was able to bring all my skills and industry experience from fashion to farming! If these new breeds of family farmers start employing an average of five people in the community - it will make a significant contribution to generation of employment in our countryside. Add to this, is the possibility of sustainable farm tourism and agribusiness operations - I am truly excited! If as parents, we can show excitement in farming, we don't need to force agriculture to our children, the appreciation in farming will grow in them naturally. - Ka Gigi Pontejos-Morris
MoCA Family Farm RLearning Center started as a small hobby farm for the Morris Family. It was originally a mango orchard when Gigi Morris acquired the property. Her sister, Mimi Castor, also bought the land next to her. It became a weekend destination for the family, and they fondly refer to the place collectively as MoCa farm for the first syllables of their last name.
Gigi later on decided to spend more time in the farm and started few hobby farm projects, like conducting meet-ups, connecting Farmers with the Chefs. This led to the publication of "What Happens When the Farmers Meet the Chefs Cookbook" a compilation of recipes develop in the farm and their farm events.
Then, she embarked on its first flagship project, The Robby Rabbitry. In 2012, it wasn't yet a popular idea to incorporate rabbitry in farming in the Philippines, especially the use of certain breeds intended for meat production. The Robby Rabbitry was one of the primary destinations for most enthusiasts when they visit farms.
In 2014, Typhoon Glenda, created a havoc in several Calabarzon areas. For MoCA Family Farm, the rabbitry was their major casualty. About 30% of their mango trees were also uprooted.
This was the turning point for the Morris family, deciding what to do with their family farm. Adopting "repurposing strategy" in their planning and decision-making; the major decision to incorporate their family core priorities became the central focus of their farm operations.
5Fs and 1E stands for FAMILY, FARMING, FOOD, FUN, FAITH & EDUCATION. These are the core priorities of the Morris family and has been the basis of all their plans and strategies. Then MoCA Family FARM RLearning Center was officially conceived.
In 2015, the farm started its journey to become a Technical Vocational Institute providing Agritourism-related trainings. They received their initial program registration from TESDA in 2016.
In 2016, MoCA Family Farm became a learning site for Agricultural Training Institute Region IV-A and slowly transition to an Extension Service Provider capacity in 2017.
MFFRLC remains a strong advocate of family farming, with the farm starting the 1st Small & Family Farming National Conference in 2017 at SEARCA in UPLB. Together with other family farmers and family farm owners, they started a network called Pamilyang Filipino Farmers. The primary goal is to provide an inclusive platform for family farmers to learn and support each other.