Schools in various parts of Ilocos Norte are upscaling the so-called green revolution in support of the government’s food security program while teaching children to grow and eat their produce.
At the Eulalio F. Siazon Memorial Elementary School in Barangay 33-B La Paz in this city, teachers and learners are engaged in urban agriculture, making use of its idle lots to grow lowland fruits and vegetables.
With a grant of PHP100,000 from the Agriculture Training Institute (ATI), the school is among the model schools in Ilocos Norte to showcase innovative agricultural technologies, such as multiple cropping, container gardening, edible landscaping, hydroponics, vertical gardening, and aquaponics.
Seeds of pechay (a variety of cabbage), okra, and pole sitao (asparagus bean), and seedlings of squash, bitter gourd, eggplant, tomato, and finger pepper were earlier distributed to school-community gardens where learners get hands-on experience on how to plant and grow them.
As a plant hobbyist herself, schools division superintendent Joann A. Corpuz, in an interview Friday, said they have partnered with ATI and other support agencies to improve the nutrition of learners by increasing production and supply of fresh fruits and vegetables in the urban, peri-urban, and rural areas.
She said the tie-up also aims to turn school communities into patches of green edible landscapes through the establishment of vegetable gardens.
Laoag City Schools Division Office information officer Cherry Joy Dizcaya said two schools here are recipients of the ATI grant for school-based urban garden.
She explained that by engaging the youth in bio-intensive gardening, they are also exposed to the potentials and promises of agriculture in bringing development to the agriculture sector, especially in the rural areas.
The project also supports the Plant, Plant, Plant Program (4Ps) of the national government, as well as the Department of Education – Ilocos Norte’s “Agmula, Agtaraken, Agtagibalay, ken Agliwliwa (To plant, To raise livestock, To maintain a house, and To relax)” (4As) program.
The ATI program complements the hunger mitigation initiatives of the government and encourages schools to establish gardens for continuous vegetable supply for school-based and community feeding programs. (Leilani Adriano)
(Source: Philippine News Agency – Ilocos Norte)