USTP signed a Memorandum of Commitment (MOC) with the City Agriculture Office (CAO) of Cagayan de Oro, Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center X (ATI-RTC X) and Greenminds, Inc. Accredited Private Extension Service Provider (ESP) for the project titled “Establishment of Urban or Community Gardens in Region X.”
This is a follow-through to the on-going GSK-CDO (Gulayan sa Kabalayan)-CDO project to advocate urban gardening as a food security measure in times of pandemic. The project, wittingly dubbed GUGMA (Go Urban Gardening: Making FOOD Available), also aims to encourage Kagayanons to engage in productive activities to develop positive mental health.
GSK-CDO is a partner of CAO in promoting urban gardening through the distribution of free vegetable seeds to households courtesy of the Department of Agriculture X, City Agriculture Office of CdO, and individual benefactors.
“We want to maximize our resources so we can reach more people,” shared Ms. Maria Lydia Echavez, OIC-Center Director of DA-ATI-RTC Region X. She further mentioned how other agencies had already implemented urban gardening efforts, but hoped that their efforts could be harmonized.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced households to seek alternative sources of food, as going to supermarkets heightens one’s risk of contracting the virus. While those in towns can easily practice gardening at their backyards, supplying themselves with fresh food, those in urban areas, however, have a much harder time making gardening at home a possibility.
“What was most affected by the pandemic was the urban sector,” Ms. Echavez added.
Under the agreement, USTP will provide technical support via instruction, research, innovation and community relations, and a space/site as venue for experiential learning on urban gardening, contribute to the provision of experts, materials and equipment for urban gardening, and collaborate with stakeholders for the promotion of urban gardening, among others.
(Seated, L-R) Mr. Angel Balibay representing Paul Douglas S. Calingin, OIC to the City Agriculture Office-CDO, USTP System President Dr. Ambrosio Cultura II, OIC Center Director, DA-ATI-RTC X Ms. Maria Lydia Echavez, and Greenminds, Inc. President Mr. Reynaldo Gil Lomarda.
“USTP strongly supports the promotion of urban gardening in households and urban communities. We believe that our expertise in this area can provide a significant contribution to uplifting the level of implementation of this project,” shared Dr. Ambrosio Cultura II, USTP System President.