Going Green in the Metro, One Backyard at a Time

DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and ATI OIC Director Luz Taposok during the groundbreaking ceremony of the “ATIng Gulayan ng DA”.

DILIMAN, Quezon City – What better way to feed our families than by cultivating our own food in our backyards?
In support to the efforts on food production, the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), launched the “ATIng Gulayan ng DA”. This is in partnership with the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Soils and Water Management, Philippine Coconut Authority and the Spread Organic Agriculture in the Philippines movement.
ATIng Gulayan ng DA was established primarily to showcase replicable methods and technologies on urban gardening and edible landscaping. Through the establishment of a learning site that will complement classroom and community learnings, it also aims to highlight sustainable agriculture in the city.
“ATIng Gulayan was developed from the ‘walk the talk concept’. As a training institute, the ATI must complement classroom and community learnings with actual and relatable models,” said ATI OIC Director Luz Taposok. She further said that it will also serve as an on-site venue to develop the skills of ATI employees and interested clientele in urban gardening and organic agriculture technologies. 
Through this project, the Institute aims to transform the surroundings of its Central Office as edible landscape model and employ intensive and eco-friendly gardening methods through maximum utilization of limited space. “More importantly, we will be able to provide safe, healthy and fresh produce to ATI Central Office staff and other customers,” Dir. Taposok added.
DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Dir. Taposok led the ATI staff in the ceremonial planting of different vegetable seeds in the front yard of the compound. In his speech, Sec. Piñol thanked the Institute for heeding his call to “lead by example” in terms of farming. He also underscored the ATI’s major role in transferring technologies to the farmers, “Technology and modern farming techniques are very important to farmers, so we should go back to our original mandate of transferring technologies to the very people who feed us.”
As part of the ATIng Gulayan project, ATI will also conduct training activities and seminars on urban gardening to target barangays in key cities in the National Capital Region in partnership with the local government units. The Institute also aims to encourage and train families using the Farmers’ Field School setup where ATIng Gulayan ng DA will serve as the practicum site.
“Our population is increasing steadily, yet our space remains the same. We should be able to increase our productivity especially on economical commodities. Let us innovate. We don’t need to be smart, we just need to be practical,” Sec. Piñol said.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the ATIng Gulayan ng DA was held last October 6, 2016 at the ATI Compound in this city. (Photo by Clemente Gabion)