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Makati promotes organic urban gardening, vermiculture raising in schools

PRESS RELEASE

November 30, 2018

Makati ICRD, 8998938

 

 

Makati promotes organic urban gardening, vermiculture raising in schools

 

 

Makati Mayor Abby Binay on Wednesday led the awarding ceremony for the winners of the  “Search for the Best Organic Urban Gardening and Vermiculture Raising”, a competition among the 25 public elementary schools in the city, held at the A. Venue Hotel in Makati Avenue.

 

The mayor congratulated the top three winners, namely, Comembo Elementary School as the grand winner, La Paz Elementary School as second placer, and Rizal Elementary School in third 

place.

 

“My warmest congratulations to our winning schools. I sincerely thank you for your extraordinary efforts to promote organic urban gardening and vermiculture raising among our 

students, teachers and parents,” Mayor Abby said.

 

The mayor said the project was jointly undertaken by the city government and the Department of Education – Makati (DepEd Makati), with the support of the Department of Environment and  Natural Resources (DENR) and non-government organizations.

 

“In partnership with DepEd Makati, we came up with this project to promote urban gardening in schools coupled with vermiculture raising. Our primary objective is to be able to grow fruits and 

vegetables that we can use for the schools’ supplementary feeding program,” Mayor Abby said.

 

She also noted that on a broader scale, developing these skills among the youth will have a “substantial and long-term impact on the fight to end hunger and poverty through food sufficiency and entrepreneurship.”

 

During the ceremony, Mayor Abby awarded cash prizes to the winners, as follows: Comembo 

Elementary School, P100,000; La Paz Elementary School, P75,000; and Rizal Elementary School, P50,000. The mayor also gave P20,000 each as consolation prize to three other schools that were able to build and nurture gardens despite very limited space and resources.

 

According to DepEd Makati superintendent Rita Riddle, the search ran from April to September this year. She also underscored the benefits of sustaining the project not only for the students and other participants, but also for the environment.

 

“The project develops useful knowledge and skills that can become a sustainable means of livelihood for our students, teachers and their families. At the same time, the combination of urban gardening and vermiculture raising effectively promotes the use of vermicast (worm manure), and vermitea (liquid fertilizer), which are bio-fertilizers that are environment-friendly,” Riddle said.

 

The school official said school gardens use vermicompost, a mixture of decomposing vegetables or food waste and vermicast, and vermitea out of vermicast, as fertilizers.

 

“Urban gardening and vermiculture raising also generate income for the schools. Harvested crops and vegetables which are not used for supplementary feeding are being sold to parents or small restaurants near the schools. They also sell some of their vermicompost. The proceeds are 

being used to maintain the gardens,” Riddle said.

 

Among the fruits grown in the school gardens are banana, Indian mango, Carabao mango, blackberry, rambutan, guyabano, kiat-kiat, and grapes. Crops and leafy vegetables grown and used for the everyday feeding program in the schools include garlic, ginger, onion, lemon grass, kalamansi, chili, kamias, bell pepper, basil, malunggay, gabi, talinum, sala, Chinese kangkong, saluyot, petchay, mustard, papaya, okra, eggplant, sweet potato, cabbage, lime beans (bataw), carrots, gourd (patola), butterfly pea, as well as rice grains.

 

The search’s criteria for judging is composed of educational relevance (25 percent), garden quality (25 percent), resource sustainability (25 percent), percentage of feeding beneficiaries 

based on identified recipients (20 percent), and linkages and network (five percent).

 

Educational relevance pertains to how the project is used to enhance the learning experience of students and teach the concepts of urban gardening and vermiculture raising. Garden quality is evaluated based on structure and maintenance of compost pit or compost basket, rain catcher, and vertical gardens, among others.

 

Resource sustainability refers to the sale of vegetables, vermicasts or vermitea, and worms made by the school from its own garden. Percentage of feeding beneficiaries based on identified 

recipients is computed based on the reduction in the number of severely wasted students. For linkages and networks, judges evaluate the involvement of stakeholders in putting up and maintaining the school garden, such as Parent-Teacher Association, government, non-governmental organizations, and school alumni, among others.

 

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