UP CAMPUS, Quezon City—Whoever doubts that food security and self-sufficiency can be achieved in the Metro can take a page from a community farm tucked in the busy streets of Purok Aguinaldo, Brgy. UP Campus, Quezon City where urban agriculture is slowly booming.
The community farm is maintained by local housewives who were bound by the challenges of community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Evangeline Tulagan, president of the Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Kababaihan sa Brgy. UP Campus, recalled the humble beginnings of the farm
"Nung nag-umpisa ang quarantine, naisip namin hindi makakalabas para makapagtrabaho, ano ang pwede naming gawin para makatulong sa mga asawa namin?" she said.
[“When the quarantine started, we thought, since it would not be possible to go out to work, what could we do to help our husbands?”]
"Nauso yung urban farming, kaya nag-umpisa muna kami sa maliit. Noong una, sa mga kanya-kanya naming likod-bahay at sa gilid ng mga daanan na pwedeng mapagtamnan, hanggang sa tinulungan kami ng DA (Department of Agriculture) na bumuo ng mas malaking farm," Tulagan added.
[Urban farming then became a trend. We started small, planting in our own backyards and by the roadside where we are allowed to plant. Until we received help from DA to put up a much bigger farm.”]
Under the DA's Plant, Plant, Plant Program, the organization received urban agriculture starter kits, farm tools, seeds, seedlings, and other farm inputs from the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) to support their initiative in tilling the land. Now, they are one of the partner communities of the Institute in its urban agriculture program.
"Puro talahib ‘yan noon, mano-mano naming pinagtatabas ng mga kasamahan kong babae, pero tyinaga namin dahil naisip namin na kapag tumubo na (ang mga tanim), pumitas ka lang dyan, may mauulam na kayo ng pamilya mo," Tulagan shared.
[“There were mostly wild grass in the farm which our women-members manually cleared. We persevered because we thought that, once the plants grow, we can just pick out something that our families can eat.”]
Despite the struggles that they encountered, such as water supply, intense heat, disturbance from other animals, as well as lack of provisions to keep the urban farm productive, the women-members of the group remain hopeful in improving the farm, especially as this serves as a source of produce and goods of the Pook Aguinaldo Community Pantry.
As a partner in promoting urban agriculture, the group received fresh produce and other harvests from ATI's partner schools on May 27. The turnover of the goods was held as part of the culminating activity of the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month led by the DA and ATI.
On the same day, members of the Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Kababaihan sa Brgy. UP Campus held the distribution of the fresh vegetables and other supplies from other sponsors and donors through the community pantry.