Main Office Address:
2500 W. Higgins Rd., Suite 340
Northwest Corporate Center
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Suzette de Mira Foroozan
SPUDAA-NA Board Chair
Main Office & Fund Development Contact:
Gloria Flores Millare, M.D.
SPUD Calo Organic Farm: A Living Learning Laboratory Towards A Sustainable Future
Since the last report in 2012, there have been many exciting new developments in the SPUD projects which SPUDAA-NA has been supporting. Photographs of the SPUD Calo Farm offer a virtual tour through the tremendous growth and long-range vision and goals of the 7 hectare Calo Integreated and Sustainable Demonstration Farm. The most exciting aspects of this project are how it is being integrated into the SPUD curriculums and the community health clinic, and how it is evolving into an entrepreneurial processing center that can have an impact as a model project with applications to higher learning institutions throughout the country.
SPUD President Sr. Nintha Lucilla Baldado, SPC, is also the current Director of the projects now generally referred to as ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP PROGRAMS and COMMUNITY EXTENSION PROJECTS (ESP/CEP). In October of 2013, we were accompanied by Sr. Lucilla and Sr. Mila Grace, the new Chair of the Nursing Dept., on a detailed tour of the Calo Demonstration Sustainable and Integrated Farm. The presence of Sr. Mila Grace was important, because towards the end of the tour, Sr. Lucilla explained how the Calo Farm will be integrated into the proposed community health clinic in nearby Amlan, and is asking SPUDAA-NA to be a partner in this unique and inspiring project. Calo Farm is now a successful and growing income-producing enterprise which can have an impact even beyond the walls of SPUD and the communities it serves.
Multipurpose Center: Sr. Mila Grace described the use of the multi-purpose center, which was just completed in 2012. She explained how it is used for seminars with staff, students, and local farmers; for group retreat and overnight stays in the adjacent (2) houses; and for storing and marketing products made at the farm, including vinegars, bags, and soaps, and for all food preparations for staff and visitors. We were served a delicious farm-raised lunch with fruits and vegetables and special healthy drinks made from teas with home grown lemon grass and herbs. The vinegar is especially popular, as it contains chili, ginger, and lemon grass from the farm. Be sure you get some when you visit, it’s delicious! The products are sold at the school as well as from the center.
Compost: Crop waste from the food and food scraps from SPUD canteen are used for vermi-culture organic fertilizer production. The SWARM operation formerly at the SPUD campus has been moved to Calo Farm, and expanded to provide organic fertilizer, essential to sustain an organic operation. Every 6 months, waste from the piggery is also composted and used for fertilizer.
Livestock: Calo farm has poultry, goats, pigs, and cattle, all providing marketable products and a growing source of income. The Calo Farm is co-managed with another staff person by Joseph Natiago, along with 17 other employees. Both are professionally trained, and are products of a SPUD recruitment and training program. There are now 130 goats providing milk, and 160 pigs. The piggery is a state-of-the art operation based on the principles of Korean-style, waterless organic pig farming. The pen area is covered with sawdust, charcoal, and salt, keeping the piggery odor proof and clean. Water is used only once every 3 months. The pigs are in demand and are used at the SPUD canteen and sold to local buyers. There is a “wet piggery” section where the 14 pregnant females were kept during our visit. No one can enter without first cleaning off their shoes to prevent transfer of germs.
Vegetables, Medicinal Herbs, and Fruits: The list is too long to include, but the Farm has dozens of varieties of vegetables which are sold locally and used at the SPUD canteen, providing organic and nutritious food for the students, faculty, and staff. Ginger is being developed in a dedicated plot, and several other medicinal herbs are being grown. The number and varieties are expanding. The medicinal herbs will be used as pharmaceuticals at the future community clinic. Pineapples and papaya are among the many fruits grown and marketed locally, and additional fruit trees are being added.
Fish Ponds: Calo Farm has 3 natural spring-fed fish ponds (see photos), with several varieties of fish that are locally marketed and sold live in fresh water pools at SPUD on campus. Future plans are to establish an on-site fish processing operation. Fish waste is used as a very effective fertilizer for plants.
Natural Pest Control and Research: Pest and herbicides are made from fermented organic plant and seaweed extracts, a process that takes 15-30 days. Molasses is often used as a mix. They also hang recycled CD’s. When asked how the CD’s work, farm manager Joseph said, “Maybe they see their faces and are terrified”! The staff is always experimenting, learning what extracts can be used with what plants and monitoring their effectiveness. It’s a continual process of research and application, and is organic at every step.
Vision and Future Plans for Calo Farm: Sr. Lucilla summarized her vision for the short and long term future of Calo Farm
Energy Self-sufficiency: Animal wastes bio-converters will be used to produce methane gas for fuel and electricity to meet the energy needs of the farm. Human wastes will provide gas for cooking using septic tank converters.
Entrepreneurial: Processing operations are planned for farm-raised vegetables, fruits, fish, and meat products, providing SPUD students with a living and working learning center.
Medicinal Herbal Gardens: will provide pharmaceuticals for the Community Health Center.
Calo Farm as a living and functioning learning center with limitless possibilities: The farm operations, research, entrepreneurial activities, marketing strategies, use of highly nutritional foods, outreach and education to surrounding communities, seminars, and training sessions will all be integrated into the SPUD curriculums from elementary to university levels.
Community Health Clinic: The products from the farm will be used for healthy nutrition for clinic users and their families; the medicinal herbs will serve as natural pharmaceuticals; and nursing students will have expanded learning opportunities for service and learning.
Land Stewardship for Healthy Communities: Calo Farm is a teaching-learning project that serves SPUD students, faculty and staff, and the surrounding communities. Starting with students in the elementary grades, the farm can be an invaluable tool to teach stewardship, healthy living, healthy organic farming and pest control, better nutrition for preventive health, and appreciation of the land and all it can provide.
What has been done at Calo Farm on just 7 hectares is amazing and inspiring. Is there anything like this anywhere on earth? Future integration into the SPUD curriculum and the community health clinic (and eventual hospital plan) will provide unique opportunities for serving the campus and the surrounding community. It can truly be a model for the region and the country. There is more to come in the future, and SPUDAA-NA can be a vital partner. SPUDAA-NA members are encouraged to visit and re-visit the Calo Farm. It is an experience you will not forget!
SPUD PROJECTS: 2012-2014
by Tim McGloin
Projects Support Coordinator
SPUDAA-NA 6th Biennial
Date & Venue: TBA
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Suzette de Mira Foroozan
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Georgina (Gigi) Villahermosa Ohland
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