The founder of Echostore is also a proponent of local agritourism
Chit Juan, the founder of the ECHOStore and a long-time supporter of the global Slow Food Movement, has long advocated for Philippine self-reliance in food production and local agriculture biodiversity. For her, giving local farmers ample support—not just financially but also in terms of education regarding organic farming practices and technology—would be a key to ensuring that our nation could feed its people without needing to rely on imported goods.
To increase awareness regarding Philippine agriculture and food production among locals and foreign travellers, Juan suggests bringing the Italian concept of agriturismo, or educational farm stays, into the country. Over the past few years, Juan has actively worked on educating tourists regarding biodiversity and regenerative agriculture. Her agritourism initiative of bringing local travellers to her coffee farm in Amadeo, Cavite, has given people a better idea of how organic farming works, how it benefits Filipino farmers, and how it results in products of exceptional quality. Juan also continues to build awareness regarding the organic movement through the products sold via the ECHOStore and a recent partnership with Naturland of Germany, the world's most extensive organic farming collective.
Juan, however, feels that more can be done for the Philippine agricultural sector, and government assistance could help grow agritourism throughout the country. "In agritourism, [the Departments of Agriculture and Tourism] must work hand in hand to achieve our shared goals to save our farmers, prevent them from leaving their farms, and properly address the threats to our food security and biodiversity."
Did You Know?
Chit Juan is also a published writer who has written books about coffee as well as newspaper columns about sustainable living.