BAYBAY CITY, Leyte - “Plant! Plant…and Plant!” The Department of Agriculture’s newest advocacy for food sufficiency at home especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. For more than two (2) months, the Agricultural Training Institute regional network has been one with the DA to encourage individuals and families to start planting their own food. In Region 8, ATI in Eastern Visayas launched the People Lean on Agriculture to Nurture and Thrive or simply, the PLANT Movement!
Since its conception, the PLANT Movement was a way for ATI-RTC 8 staff to walk their talk. Working as public servants in an agriculture inclined agency, it is fit for ATI staff to showcase their knowledge and skills in farming in their own homes. It would also serve as a way to encourage and strengthen DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant campaign.
ATI-RTC 8’s efforts were not in vain as netizens started sharing their home backyard garden experiences. Icey Sudario, a student from VSU Alang-alang explained how gardening changed her life and how it made a huge impact in improving herself as a person. It was evident from her home garden that despite the small space, she still managed to grow her plants at home. "Gardening can give life, it can build lives, and can change lives", said Icey.
From the Province of Southern Leyte, Ms. Elisa Namoc De Asis shared her quarantine gardening experience. “My goal is to produce my own food and help the community through by sharing safe and fresh vegetables.” Elisa also was resourceful as she uses household wastes and natural resources as inputs for her garden. “Indeed, farming is really inspiring and fulfilling.”
Being unable to go home to their respective provinces, VSU students residing at the Molave Men’s Hall, spent their time being stranded cultivating and growing vegetables at their dormitory backyard. Their adviser, Dr. Bayron Barredo says that they have been gardening even before the ECQ. Now that the pandemic is still on the roll, gardening is one of their ways to provide food for themselves. “Good thing that ATI posted information about seed sowing. It guided us a lot on the proper procedure of planting seeds, that’s why we are now venturing into container gardening.” explained Dr. Barredo.
Not only is the PLANT Movement making rounds within the region but it has reached Bahrain! Sherrizah Dagalea, an OFW in Bahrain and anative from Carigara, Leyte , shares how she is using their rooftop as her garden. “It is hard not only because of the location but also the climate here in the Middle East. You really need to know more about the plants so that you can take really good care of them.” she said. However, she says that gardening is her time killer and at the same time her stress reliever. It is most fulfilling especially during harvest time.
In Eastern Visayas, the Enhanced Community Quarantine has been lifted and the region is now under General Community Quarantine. Despite the new normal, more and more Eastern Visayans are inclined to do farming and growing food at home. It is a matter of time for us to be self-sufficient when it comes to food and no virus can stop planting become viral!