Establishing edible landscaping demo gardens for community food self-sufficiency

Attaining food self-sufficiency in the communities through urban and peri-urban agriculture is now made beautiful and sexier with the introduction of the Edible Landscaping Technology through a project being implemented by the University of the Philippines Los Baños Edible Landscaping (UPLB-EL) Team.

In a simple ceremony on 8 March 2023 at the DA-Bicol Region Office, Pili, Camarines Sur, the UPLB EL Team turned over an EL demo garden to the regional office to inspire and train nearby communities on EL garden management.

DA-Bicol Region Field Operations Division chief Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez, in her welcome remarks, said that the DA-Bicol edible landscaping before is just like a simple natad or bakuran (backyard), but because of the EL project, there’s so much improvement. This is one of the ways to make agriculture sexy as what Governor Rex Lagman encourages his constituents.

Funded by the DA-BAR, the project titled “Enhancing Regional Capacities on Urban Agriculture towards Nutrition-sensitive Crop Production through Edible Landscaping” led by Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. will also enable the establishment of demo gardens in DA-Cagayan Valley and MIMAROPA to capacitate DA regional offices and ultimately the local communities on edible landscaping.

As partner agency, DA-BAR OIC-director Joell Lales underscored the importance of propagating the EL gardens to as many communities as it possibly can and sustain these kind of initiatives to benefit more people in the community, further intensifying UPLB EL team’s efforts to promote the adoption of the EL technology throughout the country.

“To innovate the traditional landscaping toward a pursuit that generates more social impact and benefit by combining aesthetics with that of complementing food security at the level of communities and focusing on urban and peri urban settings, ay napakaganda. But I think the more important thing that we need to pursue beyond setting up of demo gardens is to really open this kind of opportunities to our communities to learn, kailangan talaga i-propagate natin, i-sustain para mas maraming makinabang sa ating mga kakomunidad.” said OIC-director Lales.

In his acceptance speech, DA-Bicol Region regional executive director Rodel Tornilla said that edible landscaping can result in four things: aesthetics, functionality, health and wellness and self-sufficiency.

“Please be assured that we will work on this project so that it will become successful and sustainable, that more households, local government units and institutions will benefit from it in the near future and in the long run,” director Tornilla remarked.

The DA-BAR team also visited Dolor’s Serenity Integrated Farm, a backyard edible garden owned by couple Jose and Myrna Dolor who adopted the EL technology giving them vegetable harvests more than enough for their daily needs. Dolor is the project leader of Pacul Magsasaka Prime Community in Naga City, a coop beneficiary of EL technology.

“Bukod po sa pang araw-araw naming pagkain, naibebenta rin po namin ang sobrang ani namin. Minsan nakakabenta kami ng humigit kumulang sa PhP 500 sa isang araw mula sa ani naming ampalaya, sitaw, talong at kamatis, kasama na po yung tilapia sa fishpond,” Dolor shared.

The couple has a tilapia pond below their makeshift plant nursery beside their edible landscape garden. (### Maria Ruby G. Lumongsod)