These food gardens improve Filipino lives one community at a time

These food gardens improve Filipino lives one community at a time

11 Apr, 2019

San Isidro along with all other neighboring municipalities are facing a big challenge of food security. The influx of tourists has led to a high demand of products that have brought the costs of basic goods to a level never seen before. Since then, the criminality has risen especially crimes against property.

The entire island of Siargao depends on the import of food products that come from the mainland. The vacant lands which could be used for farming are sold, as locals see more opportunities in selling them rather than farming.

Image by Project Hardin ng Pagbabago-San Isidro

The police of San Isidro have started an inspiring project named “Project Hardin ng Pagbabago sa Barangay” –translated as “Gardens of Change for the Barangay”. The project aims to bring a stronger sense of community, food security, and at the same time reduce criminality in the area. “Food security equates to decreasing poverty, less poverty equates to less crime”, explains San Isidro Chief of Police Vicente Panuelos, who implemented this project.

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The locals of each Barangay, twelve in total, have established a communal organic farm to be the source of food, fund and pride. The police of each Barangay act as the community leaders, guiding and establishing the rules for the implantation of the gardens. The project which started in August 2018 has already produced its first harvest and during its first semester, crimes have been reduced from twelve robberies to none, says the Chief of Police.

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Without former experience on the subject, the police have put all their efforts in learning how to cultivate and taught it to their residents. The first seeds were donated by the Department of Agriculture. “We want to emphasize the variety. We have all kinds of vegetables, fruits and spices. Papaya, pumpkin, kamote, turmeric, oregano, carrots, monggo, bell peppers…”, explains Senior Inspector Vicente Panuelos. Moreover, flowers were also planted to be used as natural insect repellents.

Image by Project Hardin ng Pagbabago-San Isidro

The sales of the products is managed by AGREA at the Barangay’s House. The ones who maintain the farms are mainly women, as the men work in construction around the island. However, when there are jobs that require more labor, men are equally contributing. In fact, it is a project that has involved everyone. The first inspiring action that comes out from this project is that “locals are also cultivating in their own backyards”, affirms Chief of Police of San Isidro.

ENROLLMENT STILL OPEN: AGREA Farm School 2019 Admission

As non-experts in organic farming, they are learning from this experience, understanding which products are the best to be cultivated due to the soil and the seasons. Once a year, there is a ceremony that will be held to award the best Garden of Change. The winning top 3 barangays will be awarded with a total amount of Php 50,000 and will win the title “best and most sustainable community garden”.

PRICE COMPARISON. Cost of products from “Garden of Change” versus costs in Dapa and General Luna areas as of March 2019. Graphics by Rafael Seño

Kudos to the Police of San Isidro and to all the residents for creating an example of a strong and beautiful community project that will certainly improve the lives of many.

In order to improve, they are looking for your support, donation or volunteers who will like to donate their time and expertise on the subject.

If you would like to collaborate, get in touch with the PNP of San Isidro through their Facebook Page.