Senator Pangilinan, Vice-Mayor Belmonte, Groups Give the Thumbs Up to Organic Urban Gardening for Healthier Cities (Groups Bat for Organic Urban Agriculture as Food, Waste and Climate Solution)

People from all walks of life today trooped to a special
spot at Quezon Memorial Circle (QMC) in Quezon City to celebrate the Green
Action Week, which is observed in over 30 countries across the globe from
October 3 to 9.
To celebrate the week-long global campaign to promote
sustainable consumption, the EcoWaste Coalition organized a fun-filled yet
informative “Bahay Kubo in the City: Organic Urban Gardening for Healthy
Communities” event at QMC.
It was held at the “Joy in Urban Farming,” an urban
agriculture demonstration site within the QMC, which promotes organic farming
and gardening to ensure a supply of nutritious and chemical free-vegetables for
the children feeding program  of Quezon
City’s schools.
The EcoWaste Coalition conducted the “barrio fiesta”
advocacy event in partnership with the Office of Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy
Belmonte, the Office of Quezon City Councilor Beth Delarmente and the National
Solid Waste Management Commission.
During the event, participants took part in traditional
fiesta games with a “green” twist and listened to practical information shared
by urban agriculture practitioners who demonstrated that the lack of space is
not a hindrance for growing organic food crops, which can be grown even in
recycled containers. 
“We have gathered here today to celebrate the benefits of
growing organic vegetables in our homes, schools and workplaces to address our
people’s right to adequate and safe food,” stated Ochie Tolentino, Zero Waste
Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“By taking part in the Green Action Week, we hope to
inspire city residents to discover for themselves the benefits of organic
gardening not only to improving maternal and child nourishment, but also to
building greener homes and neighborhoods,” she added.
Sen. Francis”Kiko” Pangilinan, Chairperson of the Senate
Committee on Agriculture and Food, congratulated the EcoWaste Coalition and the
event co-organizers for the initiative as he noted “we are a net importer of
agriculture products which means that we are not producing enough food for all
the 100 million plus Filipinos.”
“This is precisely why the United Nations sees urban
agriculture as the solution to hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation
that most urban areas in developing countries like the Philippines are
experiencing,” the senator said in a message sent to the EcoWaste and read at
the event.
Pangilinan has filed Senate Bill 988, “An Act Promoting
Urban Agriculture and Vertical Farming,” to 
institutionalize “urban agriculture” and “vertical farming” or indoor
agriculture in skyscrapers and other modern buildings to help reduce urban
poverty, ensure food security, and enhance urban environment management.
For her part, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte said:
“I warmly support the Green Action Week and its goal of generating greater
community and consumer awareness and support for organic food, which is an
important element in enhancing child nutrition while reducing dependence on
synthetic pesticides.”
“The Quezon City Government is honored to partner
with the EcoWaste Coalition in promoting ecological urban agriculture
practices, including the composting of biodegradable discards, as this is
beneficial for public health and the environment,” she added.
Eli Ildenfonso, Executive Director of the National Solid
Waste Management Commission, for his part, said: “We encourage our barangays
and households to adopt appropriate composting practices that will recycle
kitchen and garden waste into rich fertilizer and soil amendment for growing
organic vegetables.”
Green Action Week is an initiative by the Swedish Society
for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Sweden’s largest and oldest environmental
organizations and a partner of  EcoWaste
Coalition.  It is carried out in
coordination with Consumers International, a federation of consumer groups.
Among the local groups who participated in this year’s
observance of the Green Action Week at QMC were the Agri-Aqua Network
International, Inc., Cavite Green Coalition, EARTH UST, La Sallian Community
Development Center, Malaya, Miriam PEACE, Mother Earth Foundation, Office of Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Piglas
Kababaihan, Sarilaya, Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya, Zero Waste Recycling
Movement, Barangay Project 6 officials and the Joy of Urban Farming Community