LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Since Luzon was placed on lockdown around mid-March, a couple in this city has been giving free vegetables to residents in their neighborhood.
Jonathan and Dalyn Yap, who reside in Bonot village, sourced their vegetables from their home garden, where they have been growing eggplants, okra, tomatoes, bell pepper, ampalaya, petchay, cucumber, and string beans since the lockdown.
The Yaps’ urban garden spanned their backyard, roof deck, and terrace of their 3-story home. They also have papaya and lemon trees.
The Yaps and their home worker Adam Papica started planting a variety of vegetables when the government imposed a lockdown on Luzon starting March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The couple used all available spaces in their home for their potted vegetable plants. Aside from handing out free vegetables, they also give vegetables plants to those who want to tend their own garden.
They have continued the practice even after Albay transitioned to general community quarantine (GCQ), and later, to modified GCQ (MGCQ).
“We’re happy because we were able to give a variety of vegetables to our villagers from our garden during the lockdown until today,” Dalyn told Rappler.
Dalyn said they initially ventured into vegetable gardening to heed the provincial government’s call and out of boredom, since people’s movement was restricted during the lockdown. But when their garden produced a bountiful harvest, they decided to share the fruits of their labor to other residents to help them during a difficult time.
When asked, Dalyn said they would keep their vegetable garden even when Albay was already under MGCQ. Aside from the venture becoming their personal passion, it was also in support of the provincial government’s call for residents to go into urban gardening to support food security.
“We will continue planting vegetables even after the pandemic as it provides not only a good harvest but a satisfying way of life. Urban gardening will boost urban farming and food security aside from greening your home,” said Dalyn, who runs the Trendy Store at Bichara’s Mall.
Albay Governor Al Francis Bichara had urged Albayanos to tend urban gardens to sustain food production while the province was on community quarantine.
Bichara, through the Albay Provincial Agricultural Office (APAO), provided vegetables seeds to local government units in 15 towns and 3 cities for distribution to their residents.
Bichara urged all LGUs to intensify their barangay vegetable gardens through his brainchild, the Albay Family-Based Food Gardening Program which he introduced 3 years ago.
The program is being supervised by designated APAO community facilitators.
Rodel P. Tornilla, regional executive director of the Department of Agriculture in Bicol, assured the province of support of vegetable seeds for the program through the High Value Crops Development Program. – Rappler.com
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