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Urban garden addresses Manila food needs

Francis Wakefield



Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones yesterday led other government officials in the launch of a project that will convert the football field of Don Bosco Parish in Tondo, Manila into an urban vegetable garden.

Castriciones said the program, dubbed: “Buhay sa Gulay,” is a joint project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Manila City Government, which intends to teach Tondo residents how to farm so that the vegetables that they will produce can be given to other Manila residents whose livelihoods have been affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed between Castriciones and other Agrarian, DA, Manila City government and Don Bosco officials, DAR will give seeds, seedling trays, garden tools, fertilizers and pesticides to enhance a one-and-a-half-hectare lot inside the church premises that has been left unused.

Aside from Castriciones, other officials who participated in the MoA signing are Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Emily Padilla, head of the DAR’s Support Services Office; Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Virginia Orogo, head of the DAR’s Policy Planning and Research Office; Manila 1st Dist. Councilor Dr. Irma Alfonso-Juson, Fr. Gaudencio Carandang Jr., parish priest of Don Bosco Parish, Tondo and Agriculture Assistant Secretary Arnel de Mesa.

Castriciones said if the project will be successful, this will be replicated in other Metro Manila cities, such as Quezon, Caloocan, Pasay and Pasig.