NASUGBU, Batangas—Residents in Sitio Palico, Barangay Bilaran in Nasugbu, Batangas are now getting good harvests from the community garden established under the joint efforts of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Army (PA) through the “Plant, Plant, Plant” and Army Green Camp programs, respectively.
In September 2020, the 514th Engineer Construction Battalion, 51st Engineering Brigade, together with the Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) regional training center in Calabarzon and the DA provincial office in Batangas, launched a vegetable garden in the army reservation camp in Sitio Palico.
The aim is to promote food self-sufficiency within the camp and its surrounding community. To sustain the endeavor, the personnel of the camp were also trained in organic vegetable production on October 15, 2020.
Various vegetable crops such as ampalaya, kalabasa, pechay, string beans, and tomatoes were planted in the camp’s vegetable garden after the land clearing and preparation.
The first harvest in the camp’s vegetable garden was held on February 15, 2021. It was headed by the camp’s 1st Lieutenant Rheandjelly Daug. The soldiers who are part of the project remarked on the benefits of having a vegetable garden in their area.
“This program with the DA-ATI and Nasugbu’s Agriculture Office really helps the families here in Sitio Palico, especially the army reserve camp. The products from the garden are a source of healthy food for the families living in the area,” Lieutenant Colonel Angel Delos Santos said.
“This vegetable garden is really of great help because we don’t have to buy vegetables anymore, even the residents here are benefiting. Aside from that, gardening activities also give us some exercise,” Private First Class Genesis Vargas added.
Under the Army Green Camp Program, all military camps nationwide will maintain a model farm and execute a transformative and sustainable approach to address the socio-economic impact of the pandemic through food sufficiency and to promote livelihood programs.
Meanwhile, through the DA’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program, free vegetable seeds were distributed for the army’s model farms and gardens. Training on seed and vegetable production was also provided to help the military personnel manage the gardens. (with reports from Clemente Gabion.)