Senator Pangilinan, Vice-Mayor Belmonte, Groups Give the Thumbs Up to Organic Urban Gardening for Healthier Cities (Groups Bat for Organic Urban Agriculture as Food, Waste and Climate Solution)

People from all walks of life today trooped to a special spot at Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) in Quezon City to celebrate the Green Action Week, which is observed in over 30 countries across the globe from October 3 to 9.

To celebrate the week-long global campaign to promote sustainable consumption, the EcoWaste Coalition organized a fun-filled yet informative “Bahay Kubo in the City: Organic Urban Gardening for Healthy Communities” event at QMC.

It was held at the “Joy in Urban Farming,” an urban agriculture demonstration site within the QMC, which promotes organic farming and gardening to ensure a supply of nutritious and chemical free-vegetables for the children feeding program  of Quezon City’s schools.

The EcoWaste Coalition conducted the “barrio fiesta” advocacy event in partnership with the Office of Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, the Office of Quezon City Councilor Beth Delarmente and the National Solid Waste Management Commission.

During the event, participants took part in traditional fiesta games with a “green” twist and listened to practical information shared by urban agriculture practitioners who demonstrated that the lack of space is not a hindrance for growing organic food crops, which can be grown even in recycled containers. 

“We have gathered here today to celebrate the benefits of growing organic vegetables in our homes, schools and workplaces to address our people’s right to adequate and safe food,” stated Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“By taking part in the Green Action Week, we hope to inspire city residents to discover for themselves the benefits of organic gardening not only to improving maternal and child nourishment, but also to building greener homes and neighborhoods,” she added.

Sen. Francis”Kiko” Pangilinan, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, congratulated the EcoWaste Coalition and the event co-organizers for the initiative as he noted “we are a net importer of agriculture products which means that we are not producing enough food for all the 100 million plus Filipinos.”

“This is precisely why the United Nations sees urban agriculture as the solution to hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation that most urban areas in developing countries like the Philippines are experiencing,” the senator said in a message sent to the EcoWaste and read at the event.

Pangilinan has filed Senate Bill 988, “An Act Promoting Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farming,” to  institutionalize “urban agriculture” and “vertical farming” or indoor agriculture in skyscrapers and other modern buildings to help reduce urban poverty, ensure food security, and enhance urban environment management.

For her part, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said: “I warmly support the Green Action Week and its goal of generating greater community and consumer awareness and support for organic food, which is an important element in enhancing child nutrition while reducing dependence on synthetic pesticides.”

"The Quezon City Government is honored to partner with the EcoWaste Coalition in promoting ecological urban agriculture practices, including the composting of biodegradable discards, as this is beneficial for public health and the environment," she added.
Eli Ildenfonso, Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Commission, for his part, said: “We encourage our barangays and households to adopt appropriate composting practices that will recycle kitchen and garden waste into rich fertilizer and soil amendment for growing organic vegetables.”

Green Action Week is an initiative by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Sweden’s largest and oldest environmental organizations and a partner of  EcoWaste Coalition.  It is carried out in coordination with Consumers International, a federation of consumer groups.

Among the local groups who participated in this year’s observance of the Green Action Week at QMC were the Agri-Aqua Network International, Inc., Cavite Green Coalition, EARTH UST, La Sallian Community Development Center, Malaya, Miriam PEACE, Mother Earth Foundation, Office of Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Piglas Kababaihan, Sarilaya, Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya, Zero Waste Recycling Movement, Barangay Project 6 officials and the Joy of Urban Farming Community Beneficiaries.