Wednesday, August 17News That Matters

The Importance of Urban Farming in the Philippines

Are you a certified plantita or plantito? My family and I are the same! When it locks down, we all suddenly have time for a lot of things we used to ignore.

One of these is gardening. Among those who love gardening, more is my father-in-law who is eight years old! For fun, my husband challenged our children and their grandfather to a contest of who could grow the most vegetables in their respective areas in our yard.

Caring for plants and raising children

So gardening became our family bonding activity. It feels good to be planting side by side and rejoicing when our labor bear fruit. We harvested okra, spinach, lettuce, talinum, spinach, and other vegetables and herbs.

So if you want your children to eat lots of vegetables, convince them to plant them. They will even like to eat vegetables that they have raised themselves. Above all, they will learn more patience, perseverance, and responsible for growing vegetables than from our sermons. You cannot rush a plant to grow immediately. You need to take care of it and give it time each day, just like the rest of our life plans.

Vertical urban farming


Seed of hope

For others, planting is just a hobby. For others, it is important to have a source of food. For the hardships of life, just one day without income, their family will starve. But when you have vegetables in your yard, somehow, you definitely have something to eat.

This is the story of mothers in Barangay Botocan in Quezon City. Because of the pandemic, they lost their jobs, or their husbands lost their income. No salary, no savings, and no way to earn because of the lockdown. “My wife and I are thinking, how are we going to eat?” concerned Edelwina Bumacod.

Because the distribution of relief goods is only temporary and not a long-term solution, the Food Security Task Force of the Quezon City government decided to visit the community in Brgy. Botocan and distribute free seed starter kits, as part of #GrowQC’s urban farming and food security program.

The seed starter kits include seeds of various vegetables, pots, and other planting materials that are enough to turn the previously vacant lot full of garbage into a vegetable garden. It is here at the new Villa Berde Food Forest Farm that the whole community gets food.

It is now a model of a successful urban community farm. It provides not only food to the community, but dignity and hope to each planter. It is also a testament to what everyone can do together.

“I told them, one for all, all for one. We are facing the pandemic together today, and we are also working together on what we can help, ”Villa Berde president Juvy Bado said in an interview.

The green revolution

An important part of #GrowQC is Joy of Urban Farming started by Mayor Joy Belmonte ten years ago. He has always established it to help poor communities have access to food. Previously, little attention was paid to urban agriculture. It even took a pandemic to wake everyone up to the fact that we have no food security or certainty when it comes to the source of our food.

When ports and national roads closed during the lockdown, mothers immediately rushed to supermarkets and markets. We were afraid of having nothing to eat and surprised at the sudden rise in commodity prices. Even though the food supply has returned to normal, the price of vegetables is very high! P180 a kilo of onion – more expensive than a kilo of chicken! It’s very easy to spend P1,000 on one go to the market, even if you don’t buy meat or fish.

So people are now looking for a way to grow vegetables in any space they can find: roofs, balconies, and even bottles of soft drinks hanging on the wall. In the past, we thought we needed a garden to grow plants. Now, any place where a plant can be nurtured can be a garden.

Plant, plant, plant!

One of the priorities of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is food security. Its Plant, Plant, Plant program encourages planting vegetables in gardens DA Secretary William Dar added, “Even if we say there are enough vegetables or supplies from the provinces, if possible, we should also plant in Metro Manila, in every household. There are new technologies that can now be used by Metro Manila residents, and we are helping in the distribution of seeds and seedlings. ”

The DA has partnered with the Department of Agrarian Reform and the local government for the Buhay sa Gulay project to help poor communities grow vegetables, even those in cities or urban areas.

For example, the community of St. John’s Parish in Tondo planted a football field and they harvested it in January. This parish covers 80,000 individuals in 17 nearby barangays. The same project was also launched in other cities.

Caloocan Mayor Oca Malapitan has set aside 1.5 hectares to grow vegetables. Belmonte, on the other hand, has set aside seven hectares in Quezon City which is expected to be the largest urban farm in Metro Manila.

To encourage more people to engage in urban agriculture, Quezon City also offers tax exemptions to residents who are willing to use vacant lands or idle lands for urban farming (for more information, email growqc@

Plant hope

Finally, urban farming has also been given the attention it deserves, and I hope it will remain a permanent part of the New Normal. This is a very simple but concrete contribution to the fight against food security.

By planting, the family is fed, helps the country, and takes care of the environment. For me, planting is also a symbol of hope. It is fun and inspiring to see fruits and vegetables grow, even in a chaotic city. It says in the movie Jurassic Park: “Life will find a way.” As the mothers in Botocan showed, it is affordable if together.  Source: Philstar

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