Tuesday, April 28, 2009
From being a celebrity as a famous fashion icon, Fe Ping Federis has embraced a new passion . . . organic farming.
For her, the glitz and glamour of ramp and commercial modeling, her pictures gracing cover pages of local and international magazines and the thousands flashes of her face on television sets as product endorser are but part of the past.
She is no longer the svelte and stunning beauty looked up by many women and revered by men in the 1970s and ’80s, as she has gone back to her roots in this prime Bicol city living a quiet life cultivating a vast farm, advocating healthy diet and promoting healthful living through organic farming.
After turning her back on her modeling career in the late 1980s following her failure to join the group of then top fashion designer Aureo Alonzo in a government-sponsored tourism blitz in Europe to promote Philippine fashion, Federis went home here and tried to pursue a course in business administration.
However, a bout with pulmonary embolism, a debilitating lung illness, prevented her from finishing the course.
While at home most of the time under medication, she came to realize the importance of healthy living and on her recuperation in 2004, she took over the administration of a 40-hectare family estate in the nearby Magarao, Camarines Sur and went into organic vegetable farming.
Most of the estate is used for rice production but Federis initially set aside a 1,000-sq.m. area where she started growing vegetables like tomato, hot pepper, eggplants, cabbage, snap beans, spring onion, squash and sweet potato.
“I wanted to produce healthful foods and advocate a healthy diet not only for myself but for the others so they are spared from the ordeal of battling illnesses as what had happened to me,” Federis told the BusinessMirror over the weekend.
Her venture into organic vegetable production, she said, started when she began to realize the hazards of vegetables treated with too much chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
At first, she said her intention was to produce vegetables only for family consumption and for use in the restaurant and catering business she had established. But having associated herself with vegetarians and fitness and wellness buffs, she decided to expand her production as her friends and associated began getting orders from her.
Today, Federis has taken farming to heart. She has been attending related seminars and trainings and as an organic farming advocate, she makes use of farm wastes to fertilize the vegetable crops and adopted mulching using rice hull to cover the plant roots, especially during the hot season.
She has been actively attending meetings of the local vegetable board organized by the Department of Agriculture (DA) where she is the public information officer. At the same time, she sits as one of the board of directors of the Camarines Sur Agribusiness Chamber of Commerce.
Perhaps only few people would recognize her now as he has gained weight from her once slim figure, but the poise and grace are still there. And even if she is only in denim pants and simple polo tops sans make-up on her still beautiful face, the dignified and regal manner she carries herself is still unmistakably trademark of a ramp model.
She said she is more at peace with herself now being back to her roots focused and committed on preparing for the future of her two kids who deserve the best—a secure future, a clean and safe environment and a healthy lifestyle.
In the process she is also touching lives of people within her sphere with her wellness and healthy living through organic farming advocacy.
By Business Mirror
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