Taking the SEARCA-DepEd-UPLB school and home gardens project to scale
Ms. Corazon Compuesto, school garden coordinator of Pedro Guevara Memorial National High School, demonstrates seedling production
STA CRUZ, Laguna, Philippines. As part of the scaling-up efforts of the SEARCA-DepEd-UPLB project, A Participatory Action Research on School and Community-based Food and Nutrition Program for Literacy, Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development (SCBFNP), a Training of Trainers (TOT) for Scaling-up and Sustaining the School and Home Gardens Project towards Year-round Food and Nutrition Security was held on 27-28 February 2017 at the Pedro Guevara Memorial National High School. It aimed to catalyze linkages of the six (6) pilot schools with other nearby schools and their respective communities.
It was participated in by the district supervisors, school heads, and teachers of the six pilot schools and eighteen (18) target sister schools for scaling-up. Participants also included heads and staff of the Local Government Units (LGUs) of the pilot schools, namely, the Municipal Nutrition Action Office, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, and Municipal Agriculture Office.
During the opening program, Dr. Bessie M. Burgos, program head of the Research and Development Department of SEARCA, provided the participants with an overview of the project and its accomplishments.
In her message, Dr. Evelyn Jocson, District Supervisor of Sta. Cruz and representative of DepEd- Laguna, expressed her gratitude to SEARCA and UPLB for this project on school gardens. She emphasized the need for the sustainability of vegetable gardening not only in the schools but more especially in the households.
Ms. Teresita Ramos, Provincial Nutrition Action Officer of Laguna, highlighting the importance of of food production and nutrition.Ms. Teresita Ramos, Provincial Nutrition Action Officer of Laguna, lauded the efforts of SEARCA, UPLB, and DepEd-Laguna in integrating food production and nutrition in the curriculum of the schools. "Our agriculturists, together with the Nutrition Action Officers and Barangay Nutrition Scholars, and our partners in the Social Welfare and Development Office, actively reach out to the households to promote food production. When we integrate food production in the minds of our children through the lessons given to them in the schools, then we hope to increase vegetable consumption in the diets of our children," she shared.
Ms. Genoveva Aquino, official from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, pledged continued support of their office for this project.
On Day 1, fifty-seven (57) heads of schools and LGU officials participated in the joint action planning. Guided by the concept of scaling-up as presented by Dr. Blesilda M. Calub, Project Leader and University Researcher at UPLB, the participants, grouped by municipality, prepared their action plans for sustaining and expanding the gains of the project. Dr. Calub described the process of scaling-up with emphasis on intra- (within) and inter- (with other) city/municipality networking. For the intra-networks, she explained that there are vertical and horizontal scaling-up components. Vertical scaling-up involves the partnership of the pilot schools with the relevant offices in their municipalities, the province, national government, and even in the ASEAN. On the other hand, horizontal scaling-up is the partnership of the pilot schools with other nearby schools and their respective communities.
During the joint action planning, the LGU representatives identified support services that each agency can provide for the project. The agriculture offices have pledged to provide garden materials such as organic fertilizers, worms for vermicomposts, and seeds, as well as additional training for the teachers. The Municipal Nutrition Action Offices and Municipal Social Welfare Offices also assured the schools of their active support especially in involving the parents of the children in gardening programs.
Dr. Leila S. Africa, Study Leader and Associate Professor from UPLB, discussing issues on food and nutritionOn Day 2, forty-five (45) teachers, SCBFNP coordinators, and representatives from LGU offices attended a series of interactive lectures and demonstrations on organic agriculture (OA) and food and nutrition. Dr. Blesilda M. Calub presented an overview of the project and recapitulated the important points of the joint action plans prepared on Day 1. She also reiterated the intra- (within) and inter- (with other) city/municipality networks for project scaling-up. She also delivered a lecture on the importance of OA and demonstrated OA techniques such as basket composting.
Dr. Leila S. Africa, Study Leader and Associate Professor from UPLB, delivered a lecture on issues on food and nutrition. Mr. Henry M. Custodio, Study Leader and Program Specialist of SEARCA, presented the preliminary results of the socio-economic profiling of the households of the malnourished children in the pilot schools, and discussed its implications on the project results.
Participants were also introduced to the practical methods of pest management, such as the use of friendly predators, parasitoids, and botanicals through the lecture of Dr. Pio A. Javier, Adjunct Professor from UPLB.
The TOT gave the participants the opportunity to tour around the Pedro Guevara Memorial National High School vegetable gardens. Ms. Corazon Compuesto, the EPP Coordinator, demonstrated seedling production and vermicomposting to the participants. (Elson Ian Nyl E. Galang)
TOP: Day 1 participants including the district supervisors and heads of the pilot schools and their sister schools, and the Municipal Nutrition Action Officers, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers, and Municipal Agriculturists of their respective LGUs; BOTTOM: Day 2 participants including teachers of the pilot schools and their sister schools, and representatives from the Municipal Nutrition Action Office, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, and Municipal Agriculture Office of their respective LGUs
TOP-LEFT: A participant sharing their group’s Joint Action Plan; TOP-RIGHT: Participants discussing their outputs; BOTTOM: Participants preparing their Joint Action Plan
Participants touring the SEARCA-DepEd-UPLB School Garden of Pedro Guevara Memorial National High School
Dr. Pio A. Javier, entomologist and Adjunct Professor from UPLB, shows actual pest damage to vegetable
Dr. Blesilda M. Calub, Project Leader, and University Researcher from UPLB, demonstrates composting using baskets