The Quezon City government has encouraged residents to contribute to its efforts to boost home food security through urban gardening.
"Residents have a chance to help our campaign to ensure that we have enough food amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic," said Mayor Joy Belmonte.
"Sa simpleng pagtatanim sa bakuran ng iba't ibang uri ng gulay, malaki na ang maiaambag nito para masigurong may pagkukunan ng pagkain sa hinaharap," she added.
Belmonte recently signed an Executive Order 32 creating the QC-Food Security Task Force (QC-FSTF) that will oversee and further boost the city’s capability to produce its own food amid the uncertainty brought about by the deadly virus.
Emmanuel Velasco, co-chair of the QC-FSTF, said the city has embarked on various initiatives that will help promote urban gardening, enhance food trade, and food processing.
“The city has started promoting urban agriculture in partnership with the Department of Agriculture through home gardening, community nurseries and urban aquaculture,” said Velasco.
The city recently launched the distribution of #GrowLocal: Libreng Binhi Starter Kits as part of Belmonte's "Joy of Urban Farming" (JOUF) program, which she started during her term as Vice Mayor in 2010.
According to Tina Perez of JOUF, "The city government has disbursed over 12,000 starter kits that contain various kinds of seeds, 2 kilos of organic fertilizer, 3 potting bags, trowel, seedling tray and a guide on proper planting, to be distributed to its residents."
Velasco added that the city government's food security efforts are aligned with the recommendations of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
“Our local efforts for food security are in line with the recommendations of UN FAO representative in the Philippines,” said Velasco.
During a digital forum on food security, Tamara Jean P. Duran, the UN-FAO’s assistant country representative for programs in the Philippines, issued four recommendations to strengthen food security. 1) the establishment of a food security task group, 2) a food resiliency plan for COVID-19, 3) the “Plant, Plant, Plant” program promoting urban agriculture, and 4) support for local produce.
Aside from having its own task force and food resiliency plan, QC supported better access to local produce through its Kadiwa Market and Fresh Market programs.
"Through those projects, local farmers and local vendors have a chance to sell fresh vegetables and fruits, meats and other products to residents at affordable prices?" Velasco explained.
Quezon City, through the Small Business Cooperative Development Office (SBCDO) also recently entered into a partnership with Food Panda and the city’s Tricycle Operators and Driver Associations (TODA) to form PandaTODA, where residents can purchase food online.
The initiative also gives tricycle drivers an alternative source of income amid the limited operation of public utility vehicles due to the general community quarantine (GCQ).