Urban Gardening: Turning Unproductive Space into a Gold Mine

Never mind if the unproductive space is not suited for growing crops, all one need to start an urban garden are willingness, determination, and ingenuity.

Never mind if the unproductive space is not suited for growing crops, all one need to start an urban garden are willingness, determination, and ingenuity.

Urban gardening, agriculture, or farming (“urban gardening”) is the “growing, processing, and distribution of food and other products through plant cultivation and seldom raising livestock in and around cities for feeding local populations.” [1] [[2]] The approach is a mixture of indigenous technologies that are practical, sustainable and replicable. Urban gardening can be applied in an empty lot or idle land, backyard or rooftop, and veranda or walls of the house. Ways in setting up an urban garden can be limitless that a person can even start one in a simple square foot area.

In the Philippines, the first major Government-driven initiative on urban gardening when the then Acting Agriculture Secretary William Dar instructed the inclusion of urban agriculture as one of the programs of the Department of Agriculture in Region 4. [[3]] Current government initiatives now includes a set of bills pushing for the institutionalization of urban farming [[4]], as part of priority legislative agenda of the current Administration.

Examples of benefits that can be reaped from urban gardening are the creation of additional income or surpluses of goods and improvement of the aesthetics of the area. Urban gardening also helps reduce household wastes as these can be transformed into composting materials or be used as planting pots and other gardening materials (e.g. used bottles into planting pots, scraps of woods, plastics, etc.). As the household engaged in urban gardening learns and grows their own vegetables, they will not have to worry about where their greens are from or how the vegetables are grown and handled, which lowers the risks of ingesting or getting exposed to chemicals. Gardening can make people do a bit of workout without much physical strain and can prove to be therapeutic.

At the community level, the importance of urban gardening is seen in its potential to “green” an area, to support local businesses, and to create additional source of income in the community. That is, more plants will be grown and more inputs will be bought and traded locally.

At the CBE, a prototype “urban garden” has been set up for demonstration as its additional way to advocate for sustainable food production. Starting from four boxes (1 x 1 x 0.30 meters, made of wood scrap) containing fennel, lettuce, and amaranth, CBE’s urban garden now expands to 30 boxes and bottles planted with different herbs and edible crops like stevia, spearmint, lemon mint, peppermint, java tea, Italian oregano, green tea, lemon balm, saw tooth coriander, viatnamese coriander, cilantro, parsley, onion, garlic, tarragon, fennel, amaranth, chives, lettuce, pechay, mustard, aloe vera, gotu kola, sweet basil, and thyme.

To date, all figures such as inputs (materials, labor) are being documented and data on harvests and selling (produce, yield, prices, and income) shall be made available once completed.

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For more information on setting up an Urban Garden, please feel free to contact the Social Enterprise Program-CBE Research Team through: Facebook.com/cbebayanihanfarm/

1. http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-a-livable-future/_pdf/projects/FPN/Urban_Community_Planning/URBAN_AGRICULTURE_A_SIXTEENCITY_SURVEY_OF_URBAN_AGRICULTURE_PRACTICES_ACROSS_THE_COUNTRY.pdf
2. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/5764Urban%20Agriculture.pdf
3. http://www.agnet.org/htmlarea_file/activities/20110719103448/paper-947796964.pdf
4. http://www.congress.gov.ph/press/details.php?pressid=9924&key=urban%20agriculture
5. http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-a-livable-future/_pdf/projects/FPN/Urban_Community_Planning/URBAN_AGRICULTURE_A_SIXTEENCITY_SURVEY_OF_URBAN_AGRICULTURE_PRACTICES_ACROSS_THE_COUNTRY.pdf

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