CALOOCAN CITY, Metro Manila – Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, the “Plant Plant Plant” Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) has intensified its campaign towards food security in urban areas where daily food supply during successive community lockdowns was critical.
In support to this, the Urban Agricultural Program being implemented by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) has already assisted and established 32 integrated urban gardens in various schools, barangays, and dioceses across Quezon City and in this city. The latest is the integrated community-school garden at Caloocan Central Elementary School (CCES) which was recently launched last July 6, 2021.
The activity included a tour around the urban garden and a turn-over of garden inputs and other farming supplies to the beneficiaries. This was led by representatives from the Department of Education (DepEd) Caloocan Division Office – Dr. Joey Villanueva and Dr. Jocelyn Aliñab; CCES’ EPP/TLE Education Program Supervisor Mr. Allan G. Salom, School Coordinator Mr. Romeo P. Miranda, and Principal Dr. Cynthia C. Arellano, as well as its General Parents Teachers Association (GPTA); and Ms. Nemielynn P. Pangilinan of the Partnerships and Accreditation Division of ATI.
“Dati walang laman at tinatambakan lang itong mga space na ito. Pero sa tulong ng ATI, at sa pagtutulungan din ng ating mga teachers at parents ay nagkaroon tayo ng magandang garden,” Principal Arellano remarked during the tour.
Mr. Salom reiterated the importance and benefit of the Urban Agriculture Program in schools; thus, he looks forward to the sustainability of their partnership with ATI. Meanwhile, Dr. Aliñab shared her experiences with urban gardening, how being a “plantito/plantita” became popular during the pandemic, and how urban gardening can be a source of alternative income.
In response, Ms. Pangilinan conveyed that ATI will continuously support their established urban garden. She shared with the guests and beneficiaries some details about the upcoming trainings of the Institute on vegetable seeds production, and informed them about the contest for the best integrated school-community garden among the beneficiaries of the Urban Agriculture Program.