Los Baños initiatives bearing fruit: SEARCA and UPLB set as an example to Parañaque residents in practicing edible landscaping

  • By Nathan P. Felix
  • 5 July 2021, Monday

Sustainable, creative, and well-thought-of edible landscaping not just adds beauty to the environment, but also promotes food safety and increases awareness of the community toward healthy living—this sums up the message delivered by Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Director and the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Technical Panel for Agriculture Chair during the City Nursery Garden Launch of the Food Always In The Home (FAITH) Program of the City Government of Parañaque on 30 June 2021.

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, shares the Center’s efforts on urban gardening and landscaping.Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, shares the Center’s efforts on urban gardening and landscaping.

In Dr. Gregorio’s message, he congratulated the city government led by Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez for the significant milestone achieved by the megacity. He also emphasized that ensuring a food secure community is part of SEARCA’s Five-Year Plan of Accelerating Transformation Through Agricultural Innovation (ATTAIN).

“One of the focus of ATTAIN is the AIG or the academe, industry, and government interconnectivity. SEARCA believes that we can have a much greater impact if we work together as one in planting the seeds of tomorrow to solve food insecurity and malnutrition,” said Dr. Gregorio. 

The agriculturalist shared SEARCA’s efforts on edible landscaping and urban gardening. He said, “We at SEARCA were able to implement the School plus Home Gardens Project (S+HGP) to more than five schools in the Province of Laguna.” He highlighted that the Center has its edible landscaped Sky Garden on its third floor and a row of fresh edible vegetables strategically planted on the perimeter of the headquarters. The concept of gastronomy as the new and evolving field of food and agriculture linked with culture was also touched by Dr. Gregorio. 

“We witnessed how agriculture was given importance in this time of the pandemic. Many of which became plantitos and plantitas (people who took interest in taking care of plants),” he said. 

Dr. Gregorio ended his short speech by reinforcing the value of partnerships. He pointed out, “let us start cultivating the bright future of tomorrow by starting among ourselves. If the young ones are the seeds of hope, then us, the once young, shall serve as their fertilizers for them to grow and flourish, for the greater common good.” 

Held at the City Nursery Garden located at Barangay San Isidro in Parañaque, the relaunching of the FAITH Program with a theme, “mag Edible Landscaping tayo,” aims to promote better nutrition and appreciation of organic farming in Parañaque City. 

Some of the activities of the FAITH Program include seed distribution of various vegetables, fruit-bearingtrees, and ornamental plants. The City Agricultural, Fisheries, and Aquatic Services Office (CAFASO), which houses the program, also provides livelihood training for Parañaquenos on fish and vegetable food processing.

Dr. Gregorio presents a tissue culture-derived Banana Lakatan variety to Parañaque Mayor Olivarez (rightmost). Also in the photo are Mr. Manuel S. Alejar (second from right), SEARCA Liaison for Community Relations; Ms. Amelia M. Hernandez (leftmost), Officer-in-Charge of CAFASO; Mr. Mar Jimenez (second from left), Chief of the Public Information Office (PIO); and Barangay Captain Noel Haplos, all of the City Government of Parañaque.Dr. Gregorio presents a tissue culture-derived Banana Lakatan variety to Parañaque Mayor Olivarez (rightmost). Also in the photo are Mr. Manuel S. Alejar (second from right), SEARCA Liaison for Community Relations; Ms. Amelia M. Hernandez (leftmost), Officer-in-Charge of CAFASO; Mr. Mar Jimenez (second from left), Chief of the Public Information Office (PIO); and Barangay Captain Noel Haplos, all of the City Government of Parañaque.

During the launch, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) delegation headed by Assistant Prof. Bryan V. Apacionado, Institute of Crop Sciences (ICropS) and Technical Staff of the Edible Landscaping (EL) Team, awarded the certificate of completion to the participants of the EL Training held on 21-22 April 2021 that comprised CAFASO staff and personnel. Just recently, UPLB donated around 500 edible landscaping kits to the City Government of Parañaque to promote food security amidst COVID-19. UPLB is SEARCA’s host institution since its inception in 1966. 

Gracing the event were representatives of the City Government of Parañaque: Ms. Amelia M. Hernandez, Officer-in-Charge of CAFASO; Mr. Mar Jimenez, Chief of the Public Information Office (PIO); Mr. Eric L. Olivarez, City District 1 Congressman; and Mayor Olivarez. On the other hand, agriculturists Dr. Vivencio R. Mamaril, Director IV of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR), and Dr. Gregorio attended the event and gave their messages. 

Together with Dr. Gregorio, the SEARCA delegation comprised Ms. Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel, Program Specialist, Research and Thought Leadership Department; Ms. Ma. Victoria D. Bravo, Executive Assistant for Programs; Mr. Manuel S. Alejar, SEARCA Liaison for Community Relations, and Mr. Nathan P. Felix, Senior Public Relations Associate, both from the Partnerships Unit.

The SEARCA delegation (standing, from left) comprised Mr. Alejar, Ms. Ma. Victoria D. Bravo, Executive Assistant for Programs; Ms. Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel, Program Specialist; Dr. Gregorio, and Mr. Nathan P. Felix (seated, leftmost), Senior Public Relations Associate. Also, in the picture is the UPLB delegation led by Assistant Prof. Bryan V. Apacionado (standing, second from right), Edible Landscape (EL) Team Technical Staff.The SEARCA delegation (standing, from left) comprised Mr. Alejar, Ms. Ma. Victoria D. Bravo, Executive Assistant for Programs; Ms. Carmen Nyhria G. Rogel, Program Specialist; Dr. Gregorio, and Mr. Nathan P. Felix (seated, leftmost), Senior Public Relations Associate. Also, in the picture is the UPLB delegation led by Assistant Prof. Bryan V. Apacionado (standing, second from right), Edible Landscape (EL) Team Technical Staff.