The Quezon City government’s multi-sectoral and community-based food security initiative named GrowQC: Kasama ka sa Pag-unlad sa Pagkain, Kabuhayan, at Kalusugan Food Security Program was among the Top 10 Galing Pook awardees this year.

Mayor Joy Belmonte received the award on behalf of the city government during the online awarding ceremonies.

“Sa ngalan po ng mga mamamayan ng Lungsod Quezon lalung-lalo na sa ating urban farmers, kami po ay nagpapasalamat sa pagkilala sa aming programa na ipinanganak lamang sa panahon ng pandemya upang makapagbigay kami ng masustansyang pagkain nang hindi umaasa lamang sa mga de lata at pagkain na ipinamimigay,” said Mayor Belmonte.

The program sought to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) #2 – Zero Hunger, SDG#3 – Good Health & Well-being, SDG#8 – Decent Work & Economic Growth, and SDG#17 – Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals.

“This program is a testament that we can be self-reliant even if we are in a highly-urbanized city,” she added.

“Ang GrowQC ay hindi lamang urban farming, tinitingnan din nito ang mas magandang pagdaloy ng pagkain or Improved Food Systems. Part of improved Food Systems is the creation of community-level food hubs and markets that allow agricultural raw materials to be available and the value-adding of food that creates livelihood. 

Patuloy po natin tangkilikin ang GrowQC local urban farmers at food producers upang magkaroon tayo ng ligtas, abot-kaya, at masustansyang pagkain,” Sustainable Development Affairs Unit Head Emmanuel Hugh Velasco said.

The win is a demonstration of the city’s commitment to improving and transforming food systems from ground-up to ensure a food self-reliant city. As the mayor said during the Galing Pook screening, “The solutions are not new. However, implementation strategies allowed the city to make more land productive and connected people, processes, and programs, to show that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Two other programs from the city government were also among the top 22 finalists in the Galing Pook awards. One of the programs selected is the Quezon City Human Milk Bank (QCHMB) which aims to provide vulnerable newborns with lifesaving breastmilk and help end preventable deaths. The QCHMB has helped 5,023 infants survive as of last year, not just in QC but also across the country.

Another program that was also recognized was the Kabahagi Center for Children with Disabilities that caters to indigent children with disabilities (CWD) and their families. The center provides free healthcare, empowerment and livelihood services for CWD and their families including rehabilitation assessment, parent training with hands on therapy, community engagement activities, advocacy and community-building, information services and livelihood and skills training.

1,163 CWDs have availed of the services of the Kabahagi Center, 1,240 therapy services were also provided to the children. The families also received multiple benefits such as livelihood training and educational workshop.

To provide unhampered services in the new normal, the program adopted several innovations such as telemedicine, telecoaching, and e-skwela.

Mayor Belmonte expressed her gratitude to the city government employees and staff for their hard work and effort in imaking these programs a success.