BAGUIO CITY – The search is on for the best urban edible home or backyard garden in the city.
Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. who spearheads the search said 25 barangays entered the contest intended to promote backyard gardening as a means of augmenting food production and of strengthening environmental and solid waste management programs.
The alderman said the entries are now being evaluated by the board of judges composed of representatives from the offices of Mayor Mauricio Domogan, Yangot, Department of Agriculture Cordillera (DA)-CAR, Department of Trade and Industry-CAR, the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Inc. and from the private sector including urban gardening champion Danilo Aglian.
Cash prizes await the winners of the contest which Yangot said will be institutionalized as an annual undertaking of the city government.
Yangot said the contest will serve as a springboard to establishing demonstration farms in the city which will later be developed as another tourist attraction.
The contest is a joint project of Yangot as chair of the council committee on market, trade and commerce and agriculture, city mayor’s office, DA-CAR, DTI-CAR, BFFFI, Benguet Electric Cooperative, INNABUYOG Cordillera and other urban garden advocates.
“The main objective of this program is the establishment of urban gardens or backyard farms in the city to promote organic food production particularly among the marginalized sector of the population in order to achieve a degree of food security and diversity, that is, to empower the city residents to produce food for themselves,” Yangot said.
He said the other purposes of the program are on the production of medicinal plants as well as preservation of biodiversity of traditional plant varieties.
“The project is in consonance with the implementation of the urban gardening or backyard farming program in various barangays in the City of Baguio to instill awareness to the local residents on the importance of preserving the remaining environment of the city as well as encouraging them to cooperate in the solid waste management program particularly in the recycling of waste materials,” he added.
Yangot said the project is just one component of the urban gardening program which also includes the conduct of community education to raise the level of creativity of Baguio residents on the use of urban space for food production and value of quality food including technical assistance to ensure the productivity and diversity with appropriate technology.
The contest will include a garden showcase day to allow community members to tour participating gardens and receive gardening tips from the city’s top amateur gardeners.
Critera for the contest include layout of communal garden (creativity or innovation and maximum utilization of area); technology profile (use of deep dug raised bed, compost and natural soil amendments and practice of biological method of controlling insect pest and diseases); functionality (quality and quantity of produce, produce are being sold to community for feeding program or being sold to community at minimal cost, seedlings for distribution and selling and adaption of technology from communal to household; other physical features (provision of clean and sufficient water supply, good drainage and presence of organic fertilizer and pesticide facilities; and management and sustainability. /Aileen P. Refuerzo