Urban gardening pushed in Koronadal City amid COVID-19 restrictions
KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Mar. 30 (PIA) – With most people advised to stay at home and observe social distancing protocols, this is the perfect opportunity to engage in gardening and produce their own food in the convenience of their backyard.
This is the advice City Councilor Junette Hurtado gives to Koronadaleños, as the community grapples with the threat of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Food security, food safety and sustainability starts at home. We can plant greens, root crops, or even spices like onion, garlic and tomatoes in used containers or vacant spaces in our home,” Hurtado said.
With urban gardening, Hurtado said, you are assured of fresh and safe food when needed. “It’s good when you have vegetables in your backyard. You can harvest anytime you want. You do not have to buy and you are assured of how your food is grown,” Hurtado said.
The official also emphasized the benefits gardening can give in having a good mental state in times like this. “Aside from being physically fit, a healthy mind is vital during crisis situations. Instead of spending all day on the internet and social media, gardening is a good stress reliever.It is a positive activity to break the ice from all that’s happening around us,” Councilor Hurtado said.
In October last year, Councilor Hurtado, together with local entrepreneur and urban gardening lecturer Kian Castañeda, gathered a group of gardening enthusiasts and formed the first urban gardener’s club in the city.
Koronadal Urban Gardeners Club, with over 30 members were trained on basic farming techniques, seed growing, vermicomposting, and container gardening.
In a previous interview with Castañeda, he said people should maximize and develop unused spaces especially in urban areas. “In urban gardening, we don’t need a large area. We can use vacant spaces like alleyways, garage, and containers. All you need is a good soil to grow your crops,” Castañeda said, adding that “It’s not too late. You can be a backyard farmer and grow your own food.”
He also said: “Do not be afraid to get your hands dirty and be prepared to put in the effort and hard work.”
Meanwhile, the latest information from the Department of Agriculture-Soccsksargen (DA 12) says that vegetable seedlings are now being prepared for distribution to local government units.
DA 12, through its High Value Crops Development Program, is making the move to encourage households to engage in backyard gardening. With this, residents can have alternative sources of food supply in time of the COVID-19 crisis.
Interested individuals are advised to contact their municipal or city agriculture offices to avail of the free seedlings. (ORVR-PIA 12)