By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government on Wednesday announced that it has enhanced further its urban farming campaign with 6,000 starter kits due for distribution to local residents soon.
With the limited movement of people due to the lockdown, Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city government procured the starter kits with its partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“We want to make sure that our people will have access to a healthy and safe source of food even during this pandemic. Through this #GrowLokal program, they can now grow their own vegetables,” Belmonte said.
The #GrowLokal: Libreng Binhi Starter Kit contains various kinds of seeds (talong, okra, kamatis, pechay, mustasa, ampalaya, kangkong), two kilos of organic fertilizer, tree potting bags, and a guide on proper planting.
Belmonte also expressed appreciation in DA ‘s recognition of the “Joy of Urban Farming’’ project which supports the agriculture sector.
In 2010, then vice-mayor Joy Belmonte launched the Joy of Urban Farming program which was piloted in three demo farms in Quezon Memorial Circle.
In 2019 alone, more than 43,000 visited the demo farm and received their own seeds and seedlings.
#GrowLokal shall be implemented by the QC’s Joy of Urban Farming program, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). in coordination with the QC Small Business and Cooperatives Development and Promotions Office (SBCDPO).
Belmonte added that this is also one of the initial programs that will be implemented by the QC Food Security Task Force.
The task force will be created to meet Zero Hunger initiatives, one of the sustainable development goals of the United Nations, in order to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture for the city.
Through the Joy of Urban Farming, the city government shall identify and provide the required area for the establishment of the community and commercial gardens, assign people who will manage these gardens, promote the program to its constituents, and sustain the operations of these community gardens.
Belmonte said the DA through ATI and BPI will provide initial agriculture inputs such as seeds, seedlings, garden soil, and pots. “They will also spearhead capacity-building activities, and continuously provide assistance to communities in the maintenance and sustenance of the site,’’ she added.
More than 400 residents filled the initial slot for the starter kits as the SBCDPO started the online registration.