DILIMAN, Quezon City—Now a daily activity in the household of actress and chef Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, urban farming has become a constant source not only of proper nutrition but also of a garden-to-table learning experience for their family.
The now-certified plantita, who ventured into urban farming when the community quarantine started, has discovered the advantages in having their own vegetable production area at home. She shared this, together with some vegetable recipes, in the fourth episode of Agri Tayo streamed over Facebook and YouTube on July 23.
“We started during the quarantine because we had a lot of time, then I had this realization of what would happen if our situation kept on for long. Also, I wanted the kids to have education and be excited that whatever they harvest becomes their food, so that it makes them eat more vegetables,” Agoncillo shared.
As she slowly learns more farming techniques, Agoncillo is taking note of how the vegetables they grow are more crunchy, sweet, and, therefore, “exciting to eat.”
“The nutrients are still intact because [the vegetables] did not have to be transported. You get to have all the nutrients, and that’s what I am after. It’s more delicious, more nutritious, and the fulfillment and satisfaction you get is different,” she said.
Agoncillo is strongly into organic farming practices and has enjoyed a basket-full of organic produce during her first harvest of pechay, kangkong, and mustasa. Her children, most especially her son, also enjoy looking after some of their favorite crops like spring onion and basil.
“Once you start harvesting, you get inspired to plant more. Knowledge, research, and experience are important because these will teach you a lot and will start your interest in planting more vegetables in your own backyard or even in your apartments and condo units,” she explained, adding her plan to share more of her garden-to-table experience through her vlog, Judy Ann’s Kitchen.
Romermart Peñamora of the Agricultural Training Institute’s (ATI) Partnerships and Accreditation Division was also part of the program and shared harvest practices and tips in terms of the timing, tools to use, and proper storage.
Meanwhile, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan gave tips on planting and harvesting lettuce. He also stressed the importance of eating fresh, organic produce and the difference in its taste in comparison with those that are available commercially.
Agri Tayo is spearheaded by the Office of Senator Pangilinan, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture. In this latest episode, 20 active commenters were also chosen and will receive free vegetable seeds from ATI.