Cherrie Atilano, the president and founding farmer of AGREA was awarded as one of The Outstanding Women in the Nations Service (TOWNS) on November 10, 2016 at Dusit Thani Manila, Makati City. The next day, November 11, Cherrie was named ‘Earth Mover 2016’ during Rappler’s Annual Move Awards at the Ayala Museum.
Cherrie De Erit Atilano is a magna cum laude of the Visayas State University – Agriculture Program. She graduated in 2007 and was one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines a few years ago.
Cherrie was granted a two-year Fulbright scholarship and the opportunity to pursue her studies in America. But after seeing the plight of our farmers when she volunteered at the GK Enchanted Garden in Angat, Bulacan, she gave up the well-sought after scholarship for a chance to help her countrymen.
“I can’t leave my farmers”, Cherrie said during the panel interview. The board’s panel was moved by her genuine words. The panel told Cherrie that she can have her scholarship anytime.
Cherrie has been working to help Filipino farmers through agricultural development initiatives in the past 18 years. Her main goal is to help the country achieve food security and food sovereignty while uplifting fishermen and farmers from poverty.
“I am a culprit of making farming glamorous,” she said. “When people are seeing dirt in soil, I see gold.”
One of Atilano’s recent works is the Agrea Agricultural System International Incorporated. It is an agri-social enterprise in Marinduque province that builds sustainable farming communities through organic agriculture and fair trade practices. She is also responsible for promoting agricultural development and education among the youth, including the children of farmers.
On her Facebook account, Cherrie posted “Thank you very much Rappler for the Earth Mover Award and for the triennial search for The Outstanding Women in the Nation Service Award 2016 (TOWNS) for recognizing Agrea’s work. This may be a step ahead for Agrea, it is also a great big leap for our farmers and fishermen. Marinduque is very proud! But we do not stop here. There are still so many things to be done, still so many seeds to sow and take care of, and still a big island to think about. Above all else, still too many people to cultivate and empower that farming is cool, smart, sexy and humane. And echoing the lines of one of our youngest volunteers, “How are you doing guys? Keep working!”
Sources: Rappler and Visayas State University