PHILIPPINES: First urban farm in Manila launches
New urban farming project at St. John Bosco Parish in Tondo provides vegetables to those impacted by the pandemic
(MissionNewswire) An 8,000-square-meter soccer field at St. John Bosco Parish, located in Tondo, Manila, Philippines, had its first harvest festival where anyone could pay and harvest vegetables. The initiative was launched in October 2020 and was spearheaded by the Department of Agrarian Reform, along with the Department of Agriculture, St. John Bosco Parish and the Manila local government. The project resulted in the first urban farm in Manila.
The project was launched by six agrarian reform beneficiaries from Cavite, who are known as farmer-scientists. They volunteered to teach the residents of Tondo skills and techniques in urban vegetable farming. After the initial training, Tondo residents planted squash, upo, kangkong, spinach, mustard, and pechay in the vegetable garden. The urban farm is benefiting people living in 17 barangays (neighborhoods) around the St. John Bosco Parish.
According to a recent article on CNN Philippines, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones said the project was initiated to help people badly hit by the pandemic. He explained that vegetable production has been impacted by the typhoons that struck the country last year. A recent independent survey noted that 30.7 percent of families, an estimated 7.6 million households, have experienced hunger due to lack of food, in the past three months.
“We know that there has been difficulty in transporting vegetables from the provinces because of the typhoons and restrictions due to the pandemic. That’s why there’s a need to educate residents in Metro Manila and other urban areas on urban agriculture,” said Castriciones in the CNN Philippines article.
According to Castriciones, there are plans to expand the project to Quezon City and Caloocan where there have already been talks with local government leaders.
Since 1950, Salesian Missions has been providing crucial help in the Philippines—working with at-risk youth, impoverished families and disaster victims. Humanitarian agencies warn of the dangers faced by the most disadvantaged children in the Philippines. According to UNICEF, there are at least 1.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 15 who are out of school and are being left behind. In addition, children born into the poorest 20 percent of the population are almost three times more likely to die during their first five years as those from the richest 20 percent.
Salesian Missions – Philippines
UNICEF – Philippines