Last April 16, the members of Iloilo city cluster visited Brgy. Cochero to conduct the final module of it’s urban food security project. Kaon Ta? Tanom Ta! Began a little more than six months ago with 12 participant households. Their journey together has been remarkable, as the once bare street in front of the Baranggay hall had been transformed into an urban vegetable garden. The biggest transformation however was not only on the streets but in the participants themselves.
This final module was in order to devise a sustainability plan for the baranggay. The participants had been preparing from the start for this day, when the instruction would stop and they would take full control of their urban gardening program. The process was facilitated by Mary Joy, one of the cluster members. She first guided the group through a process which allowed them to recall the different milestones they had experienced throughout the past six months. Afterwards the group broke into three committees, the urban gardening, vermicomposting and seed library groups. The groups were tasked with creating a six month plan for continuing their various initiatives.
As the urban gardening group took a walk around the baranggay , examine the various container gardens and deciding what must be done, the vermicompost group reviewed the process of caring for earthworms and received their bins and worms. Finally, the seed library group examined the current seed stock and made plans for the future of the library.
The group came back together to share their plans for the future, The seed library group plans to establish a seed garden in order to increase their seed stock and create organically grown seeds. At the same time they refined the seed borrowing process and made plans to monitor those who have borrowed seeds. The vermicompost group created a waste collection system so that the worms would be well fed, and set a time line for harvest and expansion of the vermicompost facility. Finally the urban garden group unveiled their plans to maintain and replant all portions of the garden that had reached the end of their season, and also to establish yet another container garden in another area of the baranggay.
At the end of the activity, Kapitan Teresita Chua gave a rousing speech in which she called on the members of the baranggay to cultivate their inner condition in order that this project will continue to flourish and grow. She said: I am only going to be around for a few more years… I am almost 70 now.. But I am happy if this would be my legacy. Throughout the project, Chua has been among the most eager and hardworking of participants, and has really taken control of this initiative for the sake of her baranggay.
All in all, it was a beautiful conclusion to a long and fruitful project. Both the residents of Cochero and the members of the city cluster have grown so much together. This is hopefully only the beginning of the impact this project will have on the city of Iloilo.