June 6 Public Statement Launching the Vegetable Garden Movement

Citizens and government unite to launch a campaign to create vegetable gardens throughout the Philippines.

The Covid crisis now highlights our food insecurity, as food has become a commodity.

Vegetable gardens. A roadside plot in a village south of Metro Manila flourishes with food crops: kamonte (sweet potato), kamunggay (moringa, a healthy food), kapayas (papaya), etc…

In order to remedy this problem, committed citizens are trying to ensure their own basic nutritional needs.

Youth leaders from the I am Climate Justice (ICJ) movement – in cooperation with the Earth Day Network of the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture (DA), other non-governmental organizations and concerned citizens – are initiating a vegetable garden movement.

On Saturday, June 6, 2020, Filipinos are invited to join the launch of the movement. Those who wish to do so will be able to take pictures of themselves planting vegetables in pots, plastic containers or in their gardens. Then they can post these images on social media, along with the hashtag #foodgardens.

June 6th is an important date in world history. It is the day of the Normandy invasion, the day the Allies launched a massive invasion against the tyranny that threatened the free world. Inaugurating the Vegetable Garden Movement on June 6, 2020 is meant to symbolize the peaceful struggle of the people against the tyranny of hunger and extreme poverty.

Convergence and partners

This campaign has already been started by youth leaders in the city of Santa Fe on Bantayan Island, Cebu. “The biggest issue is the children and future generations who will suffer from extreme hunger if we continue on the same path. Let’s not just feed our people. Let’s learn to grow our own food,” says JL Contento, a youth leader on Bantayan Island. The local government of the city is also currently cooperating with the Department of Social Welfare’s 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program) to get those who benefit from it to join the movement.

“There is no reason for Filipinos to go hungry. We are blessed with a good climate, rich soil, and abundant rainfall. We just need a little effort to grow our own vegetables,” says Nicole Ponce, a youth leader from Cebu, “We will tap into the great Filipino spirit of Bayanihan: bayan – community and cooperation, bayani – hero. Bayanihan – community and cooperative heroism,” she adds.

The campaign has two components: one consists of individual backyard vegetable gardens in pots and disposable containers that would have been treated as waste. The second is collective vegetable gardens along roadsides and on vacant public land. This is permitted by law (Decree No. 774, Article 12, 2008).

The Movement envisions that vegetable gardens will have a permanent place in a post-Covid world. “Governments and political leaders come and go, but the need for food and nourishment will always be there,” says Valerie Fajardo, a youth leader based in Metro Manila.

A list of participants is being prepared. If you would like to join us, please send your name and the location where you plan to plant to bayanihan101.ph@gmail.com, or (+63) 906.494.0858. If gardening equipment is needed, participants can be put in touch with the Regional Directorates of Agriculture.

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