08 Sep May pagkain kahit baha: Urban gardens rise in Tumana
Marikina children | source: victory.org.ph
Kagawad Jimmy Ceguerra | source: PTV
Cities like Marikina are relatively congested, which is why Ceguerra promotes urban container vertical gardening, in particular. Discarded PET bottles or even jeans that no longer fit can be used as a bed for a bit of soil. As for fertilizer, you can head to the wet market and get a kilo of fish gills, which are usually just thrown away. Combine this with a kilo of crude sugar, let the mixture ferment for twenty days, and you have a nutrient-packed concoction to water your soil with.
Urban Gardening in Tumana
The official himself has eleven varieties of vegetables in his urban garden. “Dumating kami doon sa point na sobra na eh, even kahit baha, hindi kami nag-e-evacuate. ‘Yung pamilya ko, sa aking terrace, dun namin kinukuha ‘yung kakainin habang may baha,” he says.
During trainings, he tells his constituents that if they have ten one-foot high containers of okra and they start to flower, they can harvest two to three pieces of okra every day. Three to four pieces of okra cost ten pesos in the market, and growing your own lets you save that much money every day. What more if you have more plants in your urban garden?
Urban Gardening training in Tumana
“Merong pangangailangan tayo dun sa food security,” he stresses. “Kinakailangan talaga natin kahit dito sa Metro Manila, we produce our own food. Totoong hindi natin mapo-produce ‘yung pang-araw-araw na kakainin through that, but then makakabawas ito doon sa ating gastos… Makakatiyak tayo na ang kinakain natin for that moment ay malinis kasi we produce that… Makakatulong din ito sa environment natin kasi kung halos lahat ng kabahayan ay mayroong tanim, this is one way of climate change mitigation because it will cool the area.”
He hopes his fellow barangay officials will advocate for urban gardening in their own neighborhoods, too.
Kagawad Jimmy Ceguerra