Value for Money, Shopping for Health

Inspired by an extension activity designed to curb obesity implemented by the Cornell University Cooperative Extension (CUCE) in New York City, ATI-RTC 8 implemented a similar activity under its Organic Agriculture (OA) program to educate mothers on the value of money with the food they prepared. The activity, which took place in Calag-itan, Hinunangan, Southern Leyte on March 23, 2015 was dubbed "Value for Money: Shopping for Health".

The activity was implemented by ATI-RTC 8 through its Extension Service Provider, the SPIADFI (South Pacific Integrated Area Development Foundation, Inc). It was attended by 44 mothers from Hinunangan and 11 from Baybay City, Leyte. They gathered together at the learning site of the First Earth, a farmers association assisted by SPIADFI.

The activity started with participants writing what typically consisted their day's meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). When they showed their output it was noted that most mothers relied on instant foods. From there, they were taught about Pinggang Pinoy, which was developed by FNRI in collaboration with the World Health Organization, Department of Health, and the National Nutrition Council. The Pinggang Pinoy provides consumers with recommendations on appropriate proportion of various food groups for a healthy and balanced meal. The participants were also taught how to measure sugar contents of popular drinks in the market.

For their lunch, the participants were divided into two groups. They were provided with money to buy what they will cook. One group was assigned to buy food at the market while the other at the farm doing organic farming. During the preparation, the participants were made to observe the difference between organically-produced vegetables and poultry meat than that of the other. The facilitators also made them aware of the effect to health of preservatives and other ingredients in instant foods.

In typical Filipino family, the mother manages the food served. And in this time of instant foods, mothers often fall prey to quick fixes unmindful of their effects to the nutrition and health of the family.

The activity is ATI-RTC 8's first to help mothers know what they are getting from instant foods and the benefits they could get from organically-produced foods. During the activity, mothers were served drinks from camote tops and lemon grass. For our mother-participants, they agreed that there is value in money spent in buying organic products.