Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vegetable Gardening as Food Security Measures in Leyte

The WAND Foundation is partnering with the Association of Locally-Empowered Youth in Northern Mindanao in implementing urban gardening with Typhoon Yolanda survivors in Leyte. This initiative will be led by Jed Christian Sayre and Michelle Frances Sayre. According to Michelle, "our project is about urban gardening, mainly because it is close to our hearts having parents who are small farmers (and NGO leaders) and because we think our approach in urban gardening best embodies the Ten Accomplished Youth Organization ideals of generating impact to the stakeholders, able to harness the spirit of volunteerism, creativity and innovation, sustainability and effective use of resources." The impact generation is because most of poor urban youths have nothing to do and maintaining vegetable gardens means income and improved nutrition for them. People should realize that gardening is fun and recyclable resources around the house can be used to start one. Filipinos according to the Food and Nutrition Research Council also suffers from what is called “hidden hunger” or the lack of micro-nutrients in the diet and eating vegetables can help solve this.

In terms of the ability to harness the spirit of volunteerism especially among the youth, we made it a point to recruit and train volunteer youth promoters who go from communities to communities to recruit youths to start gardening activities. In terms of creativity and innovation, we promote what is called hydrophonics or soil-less gardening, which means that the roots of the plants get the fertilizer directly from the water-based fertilizer solution. Another innovation we already mentioned is the use of recycled materials such as sacks and containers as garden materials and collecting organic matter in the house as fertilizer.

In terms of sustainability and effective use of resources, we focus on the use of open-pollinated seed varieties which can be matured and re-use again for the next planting season. In this way, the youth is not dependent on seed companies but is able to sustain their initiative. We encouraged them also to start small-scale vegetable processing activities and sell their organic vegetable menus and products to neighborhood markets.

The target area are 5 barangays in Ormoc City

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