Baguio residents trained in urban gardening

Hitting two birds with one stone, the Zero Waste cluster of the “Baguio We Want” group conducted a training on urban gardening to encourage city residents to compost their biodegradable waste, and use the same as soil for urban gardening food production.
Becky Tenefrancia, one of the 500 volunteers of the group said that the primary goal for holding the training is to teach residents on how to compost their biodegradable garbage and use the compost soil for potted vegetable production.
Dominador Urbanozo of the Solid Waste Division under the city’s General Services Office (GSO) said Baguio now generates a total of 402 tons of garbage. These wastes are hauled to the private-owned engineered sanitary landfill facility in Capaz, Tarlac which requires the city government to allocate P100 million annually to manage its wastes.
Urbanozo said that based on the 2015 waste classification conducted by the GSO, it was learned that 41.6 percent of the garbage generated in Baguio are biodegradable, 33.78 percent are recyclable, 24.15 percent are residual and .40 percent are special wastes.
Lingling Claver, another volunteer of the zero waste cluster explained that in urban gardening, the biodegradable waste can be converted to compost soil while recyclable wastes like plastic water bottles and others can be used as pots.
Urban gardening is the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city. It is part of the urban ecological system and can play an important role in the urban environmental management system.
Urban areas usually have limited or no spaces to plant but with the development of technologies on vertical gardening, even residential without yards can now produce their own food, using house walls or porches.
President Rodrigo Roa at the start of his term in 2016 encouraged all residents to plant vegetables on their yards or even small veranda including their walls. He said that if all Filipinos will have urban gardens, the country can achieve food sustainability. They can cook their own vegetable produce or make money out of them. This, he said, will assure that no Filipino will go hungry or will sleep with an empty stomach.
Aling Fely, a 67 year old retired Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Hong Kong, who was among those who joined the urban gardening seminar on May 11 and 12, started tilling the small yard on her front yard in 2012.
Using the broken pales, empty rusting water containers (drum), empty paint and ice cream containers in her home, she placed clay soil from her small yard and collected her daily vegetable peelings and kitchen refuse on it until they decomposed. Once filled, she bought citrus seedlings at the city’s orchidarium and vegetable seeds in supermarkets.
Now she picks her lemon, calamansi, orange and even guava fruits in the garden. She also recycled the empty soda bottles and mineral water bottles and used them as pots where she grows pechay, lettuce, celery, chilli, onion leeks, eggplant, tomatoes, okra and also string beans.
Aling Fely is just one of the many residents in the city who adapted the urban gardening technology to produce her own vegetables.
Tenefrancia said urban gardening can absolve the city from spending million to dispose of the biodegradable and recyclable garbage and in the long run address the health problems by having vegetable food ready for the kitchen for food sustainability, promote ecological consciousness among the residents and even provide additional income from agricultural production without the need for large farm lands. Liza T. Agoot / ABN

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