School gardens as source of food and learning areas for local students
LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA, Philippines – As part of SEARCA’s contribution to improving the nutritional condition and dietary habits of school-aged children and eventually the community’s food and nutrition security in Laguna, 30 teachers and officers of the six (6) pilot schools were trained on sustainable and organic food production, and edible landscaping during the Seminar-Workshop on School Garden Planning which was held on 12-13 April 2016.
Topics discussed during the seminar-workshop were sustainable, organic, and ecological agriculture (including key principles, enabling policies and consumer and farmer perceptions); organic and sustainable soil nourishment; organic crop production; organic pest management; and edible landscaping concepts. The participants were also given hands-on practical experience in preparing organic fertilizers and composting. To familiarize them with an actual modular production farm, the participants visited the organic demonstration farm of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in Los Baños, and the Edible Landscaping Garden of UPLB.
By the end of the seminar-workshop, the participants were able to prepare the preliminary design of school gardens, apply the concepts learned, and integrate those in their school’s existing gardens, with designated areas for food production for the school feeding program and learning areas for teaching Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan/Technology and Livelihood Education, Science, Math, and English. They also developed action plans for the implementation and maintenance of the school gardens.
To build on the achievements of the School Gardening Planning workshop, a follow-up activity was immediately conducted on 15 April 2016 to revisit the logical framework developed during the launch of the project in January 2016. Project stakeholders developed a results-based monitoring and evaluation plan to ensure proper implementation and sustainability of the project at the local level.
The resource persons during the workshops were Dr. Pio A. Javier of the UPLB-Crop Protection Cluster, Ms. Lorna M. Tepper of BPI, Ms. Ma. Charito E. Balladares of the UPLB-Crop Science Cluster, and the Project Leader Dr. Blesilda M. Calub of the UPLB-Agricultural Systems Cluster. (Anna Gale C. Vallez)