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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing survival urban gardens in the barangays of the city and providing incentives for residents who put up the same.
City legislators stated that it will be a declared policy of the city government to reduce incidents of hunger and malnutrition through sustainable survival gardening at the family level.
Further, it shall also be the city’s policy to aggressively promote ecological well-being through the promotion of organic gardening and making healthier foods readily available among residents in the various city barangays.
As a social responsibility and for the purpose of engaging the commitment and participation of the different sectors of the community towards the practice of urban gardening, the council urged private and government institutions, and every household in the city, to utilize vacant spaces such as rooftops, patio, building walls, vertical gardens and vacant lots or backyards purposely for the put up of urban or survival gardens or edible landscaping.
The council claimed that to encourage active participation in the recognition, the city government, through the City Veterinary and Agriculture Office (CVAO), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Barangay Agriculture and Fisheries Council and other partners, shall promote existing measures established by the farming communities, including indigenous cultural communities, to conserve and protect indigenous knowledge.
Moreover, the concerned government agencies and the city government shall support several modalities including, but not limited to, urban greenhouse gardening and agriculture container gardens, hydroponics and aqua gardens, vertical gardens, food scaping including those that relate to said conservation and propagation in the various ways whether household, on-farm and ex-situ mechanisms.
According to the council, support shall likewise be extended to gardeners or farmers who wish to engage in organic agriculture, such as trainings, production, marketing and branding, including financial management and accounting, among other necessary skills to develop an organic agriculture product.
Under the proposed ordinance, a city-wide annual search for the best organic survival garden shall be conducted on the categories such as in-ground gardening and container gardening and other forms that may be developed by the CVAO and partners.
The entries to the search shall be from barangay level contests that will be undertaken and that winning entries shall compete in the inter-barangay or district and final entries will compete in the citywide search.
The council tasked the CVAO to formulate guidelines for the development of incentive programs, award systems and financial support to the same to ensure it sustainability.
The City Mayor’s Office, the Barangay Agriculture and Fisheries Council, the Baguio Highly Urbanized City Agriculture and Fisheries Council, CVAO and other partners were tasked to ensure the effective implementation of the program.
Funding in the amount of P200,000 for the implementation of the ordinance will be appropriated by the local government under its annual budget.
By Dexter A. See