‘Pechay for free’: Family in CamSur takes up gardening to help neighbors

Samantha Bagayas

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‘Pechay for free’: Family in CamSur takes up gardening to help neighbors
Aside from being able to help others during the coronavirus lockdown, the Furio family also manages to squeeze in some quality bonding time in their garden

MANILA, Philippines– Making it their own personal project, a family in Camarines Sur started planting pechay in their garden so they could give these away to neighbors.

After a lockdown was imposed in the entire Luzon due to the coronavirus outbreak, most members of the Furio family went home to their place in Barangay Rongos, Libmanan in Camarines Sur.

Nancy Furio, the mother of the family, shared that she has been tending to their backyard garden for some time now. (READ: [OPINION] Who will produce our food during the coronavirus crisis?)

Hoping to help others during the pandemic, the Furio family decided to plant pechay for their neighbors.

“Dahil po sa ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), 5 out of 6 po sa aking mga anak ay umuwi sa bahay. Naisipan namin na magtanim kami ng pechay, para mabigyan din namin ang mga kapitbahay ng pangdagdag na masustansiyang pagkain sa kanilang mga mesa,” Nancy said.

(Because of the ECQ, 5 out of 6 of my children went home. We thought of planting pechay so we can give our neighbors healthy food to put on their table.)

Planting the seeds

The family tended the garden together every day, cultivating the pechay they planted throughout the whole space. (READ: How home gardens can help fight malnutrition)

Each of the children had their own plot to tend. Adding more spice to the initiative, the children even made it a contest among themselves on who would grow the best produce.

Aside from planting pechay, the Furio family also grows other vegetables such as patola, bell pepper, string beans, squash, lemon, and eggplant. (READ: Making farming work in the big city)

They’ve even done ecobricking, using stuffed plastic bottles to line their garden plots. They also used coconut husks as makeshift hanging pots, and old bags as substitute pots to maximize the resources they have. (READ: Going zero waste during a pandemic? These advocates say it’s possible)

Gumagamit din kami sa garden ng repurposed plastic bottles. Imbes itapon or sunugin, mapapakinabangan pa ulit as garden plot. Kailangan lang maging mas creative…. Hindi din namin tinatapon ang mga lumang bag. Imbes bumili ng bagong pots, puwede na itong substitute,” Nancy said.

(We use repurposed plastic bottles in our garden. Instead of throwing it away or burning it, we make use of it again for our garden plot. We just need to be more creative…. We also don’t throw away old bags. Instead of buying new pots, we use them as a substitute.)

Giving back

By May 1, they were able to grow enough pechay to give away. While packing the pechay, Nancy said they made sure to reuse old plastic bags to avoid waste.

Reuse your old plastic bags. Labhan lang bago gamitin ulit. Nakatipid ka na, nakabawas ka pa ng basura (Just wash them before using them again. You get to save and avoid waste, too)!” advised Nancy.

With a sign saying “Free pechay,” the Furio family hung the bags of the newly harvested vegetables outside their home for their neighbors to get.

Aside from being able to help others, the Furio family also manages to squeeze in some quality bonding time in their garden. (READ: East Rembo’s mission to grow their own food)

“Malaking tulong po ang mga naaani namin pandagdag sa pagkaing naihahanda sa hapag-kainan bawat araw. Nagiging bonding time din namin ang pagtanim,” Nancy said.

(Our harvest has been a big help in boosting our supply of food. Gardening has also become part of our bonding time.) – Rappler.com

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Samantha Bagayas

Samantha Bagayas is the head of civic engagement at Rappler.