People are now also lining up at the Department of Natural Resources and Environment National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) office not to get food but instead pick free seedlings of fruit-bearing trees such as atis, avocado, bignay, chico, guava, guyabano, and lipote, as well as vegetables like tomato and eggplant.
Also inspired by numerous community pantries nationwide, DENR-NCR installed their own version dubbed as Community Pan-TREE at their technical services office in North Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, which is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Promoting urban planting and backyard gardening, the project in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) also aims to help Filipinos cope with the stress caused by the pandemic. According to DENR-NCR Facebook post, it’s their “humble contribution to efforts addressing the issue of food security in the region and the promotion of resiliency in the community amidst the pandemic and changing climate.”
For interested plantitos and plantitas, the agency reminds the practice of health protocol such as wearing of face shield and face mask, and social distancing when visiting the site. Pots or recycled plastic containers for the seedlings are required too. Also, interested donors are welcome to contribute plants in the community pantry.
“Magtanim ayon sa kakayahan. Umani ayon sa pangangailangan, (Plant what you can. Harvest what you need)” advised DENR-NCR.
Regional Executive Director Jacqueline A. Caancan told Manila Bulletin Lifestyle that they have plans to put up a “rolling Community Pan-TREE” to reach out to more people in Metro Manila. “More details of the truck schedule will be posted soon in our official social media accounts,” said Jacqueline. “And we don’t have a monopoly of the idea, the Community Pan-TREE can be copied as long as meant for the betterment of our nation.”
The project is also part of DENR celebration of Earth Day 2021. And aside from urban gardening, with its theme #RestoreTheEarth, the department encourages people to take part through practicing waste segregation, reducing energy consumption, and ditching single-use plastics, among others.
“As much as we humans need to be healthy during this pandemic, our Mother Earth needs to be healthy as well. And to restore her health, we must contribute by doing our part as responsible stewards, to plant more trees and reduce our ecological footprints,” added Jacqueline.