By Alexandra Dennise San Juan
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte laid out on Wednesday the local government’s commitments to ensure food security in the City including the establishment of an urban farm school and the opening of a farmer-to-consumer weekend market.
During the weekly Pandesal Forum in Quezon City on Wednesday, Belmonte underscored the need to increase urban farms in the entire city to help residents to become “self-reliant” through producing their own food.
“We will expand urban farming to increase urban farms among communities, in schools, and in the barangays so we can have a ready source of food especially in times of disaster,” Belmonte said in the forum during the celebration of the World Pandesal Day on Wednesday.
In a bid to help small farmers and provide fresh and cheap produce to residents, the city local government will be opening a weekend market featuring crops and products of farmers and fishermen in the provinces of Bataan, Quezon, and Nueva Vizcaya.
“We would like to encourage more farm-to-consumer relationships. The farmers and the fishermen will be bringing their products, such as vegetables and seafood, straight to the consumer. We can assure that these are all organic and, of course, cheaper,” Belmonte added.
The public can visit the market every weekend, starting October 26 and 27 at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
The chief local executive is also pushing for a “Meatless Monday” campaign encouraging residents to become vegan or vegetarian at least once a week.
According to Belmonte, scrapping pork, beef, or chicken weekly could help reduce meat production in the City which she said is one of the greatest sources of carbon emissions.
“Raising and slaughtering pigs, cattle, or chickens requires a great amount of energy, a great amount of water. Ang laki po ng ine-emit nito na methane gas at iba pang mga masasamang emissions,” she explained.
“So we are encouraging all Quezon City residents to become a vegetarian and practice this Meatless Monday as it is also good for our health.”
Meanwhile, Belmonte added that the City Council will reiterate the full implementation of its ordinance which bans sugary drinks and junk foods within school premises to promote healthy food and beverage choices for students.
The City Ordinance No. 2579, which was approved and signed in June 2018, prohibits the selling and promotion of junk food and sugary drinks inside public and private preparatory, elementary and high schools in the city.
The ban also covers the outside perimeter of the schools within 100 meters to prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension