Baybay City, Leyte – Sun, sand, wind, and waves…words that may sound like one grand R&R. However, to a school whose vegetable garden is right beside the sea, these words spell one big nightmare. It means when the wind is strong, plants can be toppled. When the tide is high, crops get submerged in seawater. A month’s work can be gone in just a few minutes. However, through all the hardships, Guadalupe Elementary School (GES) stood their ground and continued with their Gulayan sa Paaralan. Thus, it won ROARS Best Vegetable School Garden 2018.
The Agricultural Training Institute Regional Training Center 8’s Rice and Organic Agriculture Awareness Reach Schools (ROARS) conducted a search for the Best Vegetable School Garden among the elementary schools in Baybay City, Leyte which have been participants to the 3As and ROARS activities. The search aimed to give due recognition to schools and their respective teachers and pupils who painstakingly created and maintained their school gardens.
GES won as it was able to showcase a variety of vegetables grown in their garden. They also practiced container and vertical gardening as learned during the 3As. Their vegetables were healthy as the garden was kept nourished using organic agriculture practices. Moreover, they documented the development and production of their garden. It was also noted that it was the pupils themselves who tended the garden. GES did not rely on the 4Ps to do garden work.
Asked on how they survived the odds against them vis-à-vis their garden, Mr. Noli Co (teacher and garden in-charge) said, “Whenever the garden gets flooded or affected by the strong wind, I felt like crying. After that, however, you just build again.” Being the first winner of the ROARS Best Vegetable School Garden, GES shall be sharing their experiences and best practices in future ROARS and 3As activities.
Four (4) schools joined the search, namely: Cabalasan Elementary School, Punta Elementary School, Visca Foundation Elementary School, and Guadalupe Elementary School.