PHILIPPINES: Garden initiatives provide food relief to families in urban areas
Don Bosco Pasil launched Mamma Margaret’s Garden during the pandemic
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Pasil, in Cebu City, Philippines, launched the Mamma Margaret’s Garden last year. Pasil is one of the villages in Cebu City that is highly populated and the houses are densely packed. Availability of land for planting is very limited so the project used recycled plastic bottles to plant fruits and vegetables
Salesian Brother Julius Ysulan and Brother Raffy Besonia run the garden and provide weekly educational sessions on environmental issues. After a year of planting and growing, the harvest is here. Families have fruits and vegetables without having to use their limited money to buy them at the store.
Mc Dowell C. Colarte II, a youth in Pasil, said, “Bro. Julius shared his seedling experience during the lockdown in Cebu City last year. He also introduced us to some environmental initiatives and Pope Francis’ 2020 Laudato Si’, which has as its theme ‘Good Christians and Upright Citizens.’ Bro. Julius talked about how beneficial plants can be to society, how a single trash can affect us, and how fun planting is—just like having a pet, you take care of it.”
James Delima, KOA member and youth leader, noted, “I’ve learned that we can use those unused things around us—empty plastic bottles and rubber tires—and turn it into something that we can benefit from. It’s not too late to help nature by throwing out trash and planting trees, fruits and vegetables so that we can harvest it if we don’t have anything to eat. It is true that planting is not that easy, but he who plants trees, love others besides himself.”
This garden is one of many initiatives launched during the pandemic. Several Salesian organizations in the Philippines started farming and gardening projects to help provide food relief to families in need. An 8,000-square-meter soccer field at St. John Bosco Parish, located in Tondo, Manila, had its first harvest festival where anyone could pay and harvest vegetables. The initiative 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.
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.
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Salesian Missions – Philippines
UNICEF – Philippines