Upon the recent partnership with CAPGEM, Capitol Government Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the team in charge of community development within CAPGEM has been supporting the SDC to set-up an organic garden within its premices. This garden represents the opportunity for the children cared at the SDC to grow their own fruits and vegetables, to be served directly at their table.
The local agriculturist, Mrs. Edna Garde, from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), has been promoting the benefits of organic agriculture for over 15 years. She is regularly sharing her knowledge and advice to the public through a local radio station. Mrs. Edna accepted with enthusiasm to get involved at the SDC on a weekly basis. Since October, she has been holding activities at the SDC every Thursday, with the objective of educating and raising awareness of the children on the importance of gardening to feed oneself on a daily basis while promoting the protection of the environment.
The following topics will be addressed with the young students throughout the sessions: how to enrich the soil with compost, preparation of plots and containers, concoction of natural fertilizers, effects of pesticides and chemicals, laying out of the gardening area, solid waste management, etc.
All the participants have showed great interest from the very beginning of this activity and they are now used to take care of the garden everyday. The first outcomes are very promising: eggplants, squash, and chinese cabbage are growing fast thanks to the suitable local climate.
The initial part of this training intends to provide the children with actual gardening skills, which might help them to find a job when they return to the community. In the Philippines, there are indeed over 30% of agriculturists. Mrs. Edna also wishes to maintain her support throughout the year in order to share the love of the earth and healthy food with as many underpriviledged children as possible. With all these fruits and vegetables to be prepared, the SDC's cook and his young assistants won't be out of work in 2013!