This story is published in partnership with SoJannelleTV, a magazine show about Filipinos in North America.
Insects may not be the most appetizing sight to encounter on your plate, but Anjelo Alonte considers bugs crawling on his produce to be a positive sign.
“When you see bugs in your produce, that’s a good indicator that it came fresh from the farm and there aren’t any harmful pesticides in there,” said the Filipino-American founder of Farmfluence, a California-based subscription box service that works with farmers to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to subscribers.
Alonte recently toured Filipino-American media pioneer Jannelle So Perkins around the grounds of an expansive coop farm shared by several farmers for a segment on So Jannelle TV, which airs US-wide on cable channels The Filipino Channel (TFC) and ANC, as well as on local Southern CA digital channel KNET 25.1. The two discussed the future of sustainable farming, why not all vegetables are created the same, plus much more.
Alonte’s call to action came amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He saw that the food supply chain had been compromised and that there was greater distance being created between the food source and people’s tables. That’s when Alonte, a creative visual artist by profession, decided to step in and bridge that gap.
“I was really bothered by the lack of fresh organic produce in the supermarkets. Farmers’ markets were shut down. I really started questioning how our food is grown, where it comes from, and that kind of sparked the idea of starting Farmfluence,” said Alonte.
The product is simple enough: the produce that was in the ground earlier in the day would be in a box by the end of the day, being delivered to someone’s doorstep. Not only does the company offer the freshest fruits one can obtain, but the method of farming utilized by Farmfluence, known as regenerative farming, contributes to improving the overall ecosystem by emphasizing the health of the soil and promoting the diversity of the microbes that occur naturally in it.
“Regenerative agriculture sequesters carbon in the atmosphere, so each vegetable that you consume actually helps reduce your carbon footprint,” said Alonte.
Perkins got to sample the strawberries, lettuce, blueberries, and other crops while touring the farm. What she tasted was the difference that growing crops without chemicals could make.
“They’re a little smaller, crunchy, and very sweet,” said Perkins while tasting a strawberry she had picked from the ground. “It’s like you dip it in sugar.”
Alonte doesn’t just run the company; he lives by the company’s philosophy. He can attest to the health benefits of eating organic and sustainable produce and said the benefits he has experienced firsthand had driven him to promote the lifestyle to the masses.
“It actually was a pretty radical transformation, switching my lifestyle. I’m more nutrition-focused than diet-focused. When you eat better, you feel better, and when you feel better you perform better everywhere,” said Alonte. “You’re eating food at the highest level, it speaks volumes. I’m just overall a better human being.” – Jannelle So Productions | Rappler.com
Rappler is partnering with Jannelle So Productions Inc (JSP), founded by Filipino-American pioneer and Los Angeles-based journalist Jannelle So, to publish video and written stories from So Jannelle TV about the journeys, successes, and challenges of Filipinos living in America.
Check out So Jannelle TV daily for stories that make you pause, reflect, and appreciate who we are and what we are as a people.
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