ATI’s 1st Harvest Festival Showcases Urban Farming Technologies

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Director Alfredo Aton leads the harvesting of green leafy vegetables in the ATI’s hydroponics demonstration site. (photo by Daniel Nilo)

DILIMAN, Quezon City—Metro Manila partners of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) learned various urban farming technologies during the ATIng Gulayan ng Department of Agriculture (DA) Harvest Festival.

Among the technologies and practices showcased in the one-day activity were drip irrigation system, hydroponics, nursery management, mushroom production, mokusaku technology, vermicomposting, and preparation and application of organic fertilizer.

Tips and techniques on backyard gardening were shared to the participants as they toured around the ATIng Gulayan ng DA demonstration sites.

In his message, ATI Director Alfredo Aton underscored the financial and health benefits of growing vegetables at home. He explained, “With vegetable gardens in our own homes, we can ensure that our food is safe and it can also contribute to the family’s income.”

“Through urban farming, we can maximize the limited spaces in our homes and we get to eat our own produce,” he added.

The participants were able to take home a variety of green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, mustard, pechay, arugula, among others, for free. A cooking exhibition was also held simultaneously with the ceremonial harvest.

Kenneth De Gracia, from Costales Nature Farms, also shared his knowledge on urban agriculture. He discussed the classifications of vegetables that are applicable for backyard farming. Likewise, he showed different kinds of plant containers and demonstrated best practices in urban agriculture.

One of the participants, Gilda Pimentel from IHome in Parañaque City, said that the event helped increase their awareness on farming in the city. “This Harvest Festival opened our eyes on the benefits of urban farming,” she remarked.

Similarly, Leila Beler of the Department of Education (DepEd), thanked the Institute for offering learning activities on agriculture. She stated, “I hope that teachers and students can attend more of this kind of training programs.”

The Harvest Festival was conducted last March 29 to encourage more city residents to establish their own home vegetable gardens and become 'urban farmers. Partner organizations and offices of the ATIng Gulayan ng DA Street Caravan were part of this activity, which include DepEd; Caritas Manila, Inc.; Camillian Sisters; Parañaque City Agriculture Office; Caloocan City Local Government; Ihome; Roque 2 Youth Organization from Quezon City; and Proud to be Me from Marikina.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.