QUEZON CITY, Metro Manila—To encourage the youth to engage in farming and serve as partners in promoting agriculture, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) has partnered with local government units and the Department of Education in intensifying the “Glamourizing Farming through Urban Agriculture” Program.
The program aims to motivate urban youth and their families to incorporate farming and gardening into their everyday life. To achieve this, program beneficiaries will be introduced to the basics of food production, healthy food systems, and clean urban environment. Urban youth community gardens will also be established in schools, barangays, and individual households.
Spearheaded by the ATI-Partnerships and Accreditation Division (PAD), launching activities were conducted in various schools in Quezon City. Recognizing the role of educators in increasing youth involvement, officials from the local Schools Division Office (SDO), school principals, and teachers were invited to take part in these events.
The program launch at San Diego Elementary School in Batasan Hills was held on October 20, 2020 where school principal Silverio Estorco thanked the ATI for its support and assistance in establishing their school garden.
“I hope that this program will soon be self-sustaining and will help address the long-time problem of hunger and malnutrition among students,” he said in his opening remarks.
On October 21, the program kick-started at Betty Go-Belmonte Elementary School in Barangay Doña Imelda, which is seen to boost the school’s ongoing “Gulayan sa Paaralan” and “Gulayan sa Tahanan” projects.
The school principal, Dr. Alicia Masubay, underscored that the main goal of the undertaking is to ensure the sustainability of its existing “gulayan” projects. She also urged the teachers and students to establish their own vegetable gardens at home.
ATI officials and partners also launched the program at Bonifacio Memorial Elementary School in Brgy. Unang Sigaw on October 27, 2020. The school principal, Dr. Raymundo Valdez, was grateful to have their school chosen to be part of the program and ensured the Institute of its full support.
During these launching activities, Mayor Joy Belmonte recognized urban agriculture as a game-changer, especially in this time of a pandemic.
“People are now recognizing that through urban agriculture, we will achieve food security. This is one of our goals in this new normal, to lessen the increasing incidence of hunger,” she said in a video message.
Additionally, Belmonte talked about the city’s “Joy of Urban Farming” program where around 36,000 starter kits have already been distributed. More than 2,600 individuals were also trained in urban farming as part of the city’s emergency employment program.
The distribution of urban agriculture starter kits containing various vegetable seeds and seedlings, garden tools, and sprinklers, as well as ceremonial planting activities, highlighted the launch of “Glamourizing Farming through Urban Agriculture” Program.
City Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Jenilyn Rose Corpuz and Education Program Supervisor Dr. Roger Tamondong graced these events and expressed their full support to the program.
More promotional efforts for urban agriculture will be conducted for the youth and local households in other parts of Quezon City and in Caloocan City. (with reports from Mary Joy Hilot)