Food on the table

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By Edna Garde

Edible Landscape

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THE phrase “food on the table” was coined way back during the implementation of the “Green Revolution” by former first lady Imelda Marcos, now a congresswoman.

The goal of the Green Revolution program was to make “food on the table” always available in every Filipino household. But many people agreed that although vegetables became abundant during those times, in the end the technology was a disaster to our environment.

Then came the BIG (Bio-Intensive Gardening) program, which was the start of the campaign for sustainable agriculture system. Its aim was raise vegetables to make available the “food on the table” for every Filipino family.


The BIG program was under the UNICEF, with the cooperation of the Department of Agriculture and the local government units. Most of the frontliners in the field of extension work were the home management extension technologists and the agriculture and food technologists.

I was already in the Provincial Capitol then as report officer of the Masagana 99 Program (Rice Program). But most of the time the campaigns for the said gardening were done by lectures and demonstrations on how to go about the bio-intensive gardening system.

The mothers were taught that to make their family healthy, they should plant all types of vegetables in a BIG unit, using the crops for their roots, leaves, fruit and flowers or legumes. It was not just a matter of having vegetables available on the table of every family but a balanced “food on the table” always.

Families were also taught to raise chickens to balance the food requirement of the family since UNICEF targeted to address the malnutrition especially of the children.

Last year, after super typhoon Yolanda damaged the Visayas, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development through the LGUs and Visayas State University distributed vegetable seeds like upland kangkong, pechay, bush sitao, tomato, and eggplant to these areas

They also distributed planting and production guides, bio-fertilizer, and ready-to-use indigenous microorganism.

The assistance was expected to provide accessible food supply for typhoon survivors in various municipalities particularly in Eastern Visayas. At least 10,000 families are expected to benefit from it.

The upland kangkong and pechay are short-maturing cash crops and fast-growing vegetables. Upland kangkong could be harvested about 20 to 25 days after planting, while pechay could be harvested 25 to 35 days after transplanting.

Bush sitao, tomato, and eggplant, on the other hand, are also good sources of food for they can be produced continuously in one cropping season, which lasts for 3 to 6 months. These vegetables also contain important nutrients, vitamins, and healthy fibers needed by our body.

Here in the province of Negros Occidental, the Food and Agriculture Organization, with the support of the DA- RFU 6, conducted vegetables dispersal to several LGUs for securing the “food on the table.” The provincial government shared counter-parting.

Vegetables seeds dispersal has actually been part of the many projects under the Food Security Program of the provincial government because our government has always in mind to feed its people.

Every household must see to it that there is “food on the table” for the family members, especially for the growing children. It is basically the responsibility of parents to make their children healthy.

Parents must know how to make food available on the table, not just being contented of buying them from the market, or waiting for some agencies to disperse seeds. There are many indigenous vegetables around us which are equally nutritious, or even have more high value than vegetables in the market.

Today, we have no excuse not to have one or two kinds of vegetables at home, with all the technologies of growing it with or without land of our own. Remember container gardening? Let’s make it habit to plant vegetable to make our family healthy.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 15, 2014.


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