Further efforts to help in the food security of QCitizens have taken a big leap with the “Buhay sa Gulay” (BsG) program’s successful launch of its first Harvest Festival.
Opened last February 18, 2021 at the New Greenland Farm, in Barangay Bagong Silangan, District II of Quezon City, the program was able to transform a vacant lot into a bountiful vegetable farm of 45 fertile garden plots.
Residents and those from the neighboring barangays can pick, harvest, and pay for their choice of available vegetables such as spinach, pechay, upland kangkong, okra, talong, and mustasa. Aside from the organic, fresh vegetables that could be picked right off the soil and paid for, the event also featured a cooking festival, and a bazaar for farmers’ products.
The BsG is part of the Quezon City government’s endeavors to provide sustainable food sources to help QCitizens during the Covid-19 pandemic.
BsG beneficiaries were able to borrow farm machinery and equipment from the DA, which in turn helped to greatly speed up the process of planting and transforming the one-hectare pilot site into a farm where QCitizens can avail of vegetables at fairer rates than the local market price. For example, the price for a kilo of pechay is Php90 at the market, while at the farm it costs only Php50. And mustard greens or mustasa is at Php120 for a kilo, while it costs considerably less at Php60 at the BsG vegetable farm.
While the current plan is to utilize the entire vacant lot for BsG’s community vegetable farming, the vision is to fully expand to the 10 hectares, while also adding crops like ampalaya and upo.
Currently occupying seven-hectares, the BsG vegetable farm is currently the largest urban farm in all of Metro Manila, according to Lester Chavez of the DAR’s Public Information Office. “QC so far has the largest urban vegetable farm,” said Chavez in an interview. “Nakatingin ang maraming bayan sa QC at kung ma-inspire ang ibang LGU na tapatan o higitan pa ito ay hindi iyun masama.” Planting at the BsG farm started in January 2021 and was made possible through a joint partnership of the Quezon City LGUs (Joy of Urban Farming, Grow QC, Food Security Task Force, OCM), and the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Department of Agriculture, Bread Society International, Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), Bureau of Plant Industry, TESDA, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).