January 23, 2017
Legarda Wants Community Gardens Around the Country
Senator Loren Legarda wants all communities in the country to establish food forest gardens to ensure a sustainable method of food production with minimal cost.
Legarda said that the latest data from Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed that 10.6% or around 2.4 million Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger during the 3rd Quarter of 2016. While this is lower than the previous quarter, it still shows that many Filipinos experience hunger.
"It is ironic that millions of Filipino go hungry even if our country is so rich in natural resources. To effectively reduce, and hopefully eliminate, hunger, as well as malnutrition and poverty, we have to provide our people the kind of support that will have long-term effects. We need to boost food self-sufficiency and one way to do that is to establish community gardens," she explained.
In line with this, the Senator has proposed the Food Forest Gardening Act under Senate Bill No. 1186.
This bill seeks to promote and institutionalize food forest gardening in the country as a sustainable land use system to address the limited resources for sustainable food production with minimal farming costs but increased harvests even in small plots of land.
A food forest is a system of gardening using perennial vegetables chosen to complement and support each other, minimizing weeds, pests and maintenance while providing a rich variety of harvest.
These food forest gardens may be established in any parcel or portion of land, public spaces such as urban yards or city and municipal parks, unutilized and idle public land, community or common spaces of land developments, portions of rural farms, urban housing projects, and residential homes.
Legarda said that all local government units (LGUs) will be mandated to conduct a comprehensive food forest gardening in their areas. The concerned LGUs will encourage all home developers, homeowners, neighborhood, community and/or People's Organizations to participate in the program.
Likewise, the program will be integrated in the academic curriculum for senior high school and college students taking up Agriculture, Practical Arts, Home Economics and/or other subjects related to agriculture.
"The government has current programs that already promote community gardening. The Department of Education has Gulayan sa Paaralan program, while the household beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are encouraged to engage in organic backyard and communal farming. But we want all Filipinos to be involved because this is not only for food production, it also helps create and preserve healthy ecosystems, conserve the country's crop genetic diversity and heirloom plants as a strategy for climate change adaptation, mitigation and resiliency, and promote public awareness on ecological and sustainable use of land resources for food production and other products," said Legarda.
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