GreenEarth Heritage Foundation

My friends know that I'm a frustrated green thumb. I know the basics of planting-- or farming if you may-- because my father's an agricultural engineer. When we were little, he would teach us how to properly water seedlings and aerate the soil around their roots.

I learned how to take care of seeds until they germinate. He taught me how to transplant seedlings without damaging their roots. My father even gave tips on when to best leave young plants under the sun and when to put them under the shade.

Despite his coaching, however, I never succeeded in mastering this craft. I remember planting sunflowers and Mr. & Mrs. (it's an ornamental plant), but that's just about it. The rest of my attempts failed. A cactus even died under my "care" because of too much water.

But the earth, the soil, trees and plants continue to fascinate me. I remember attending a forum when I was a freshman in U.P. where I learned about the "healing wonders of plants." The speaker, a tree doctor, said we should hug trees when we're depressed to "transfer the negative energy." Looking back, the idea now sounds like New Age to me.

It's funny, however, how, after thee years, Ate Jacq and Ate Janet would find a tarpaulin with a young boy (he looks like me-- the complexion and all) hugging a tree. It's part of a collection displayed around the Acad Oval in UP Diliman.

So, why am I suddenly writing about plants and trees and the environment? It's because of GreenEarth Heritage Foundation. I'm not really a member of the group, but Kuya Butch asked me to help him write their annual report. I'm doing nothing at home so I said, "Sure, why not?"

After two hours of checking their website and monthly reports, I grew fond of the ministry. The foundation's very young-- a little over a year old-- but its goals and vision are inspiring.

GreenEarth aims to transform a piece of land into a thriving organic farming community centered on Christ. I'm not sure about the entire project, but so far, they're tending organic gardens and selling the produce for the benefit of around 15 farming families.

The foundation also engages in reforestation efforts, planting hardwood like acacia and fruit-bearing trees like mango. I find their choice of the acacia tree interesting. Acacia was God's choice for the construction of the Ark of the Covenant which held the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

"In honor of Him who is the grand designer of the heavens and the earth" GreenEarth volunteers planted acacia seedlings around the community's perimeter. During their clearing operations, the group also discovered a century-old mango tree that still bears bounty. This, together with several other mango trees of varying ages, was labeled as part of the community's fruit-bearing assets.

I'm still learning about the community, but more than the environmental and social advocacies, GreenEarth's greatest gift to its beneficiaries is the spiritual transformation it points to Christ. This sets it apart from other environmental and socio-civic groups. Whereas most foundations bank on hard work and dedication, GreenEarth rightly brings the focus back to God. After all, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it (1 Cor. 10: 26)."
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