Quezon City’s Luntiang Paraiso urban vegetable farm in Bagong Silangan is expected to produce up to 700 kilos of various vegetable in its very frist harvest festival on Thursday, 18 February 2021.

The Luntiang Paraiso urban farm at New Greenland, Barangay Bagong Silangan is the city’s first urban vegetable farm under the ‘Buhay sa Gulay’ initiative of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Agriculture (DA).

“After 41 days, we are very grateful that the New Greenland farm is finally having its first harvest. It is worth celebrating because it was made possible through the collective effort of the government and the farmers of Bagong Silangan,” Mayor Joy Belmonte, who is also the chairperson of the QC Food Security Task Force, said.

Aside from DAR and DA, this project is also in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Bread Society International, and the local barangy.

A one-hectare pilot site within the eleven-hectare New Greenland farm was planted with green-leafy vegetables including pechay, mustasa, kangkong, and spinach.

Initially with 70 farmers, the farm has now over 100 farmers jointly growing crops in the area.

According to Mayor Belmonte, through the harvest festival, we can introduce the farmers to possible markets for their succeeding harvests.

“The city will be their first market as their produce will be used in our mobile and community kitchen that will feed the most food vulnerable sectors in our city. The QC Female Dormitory, through Warden JSupt Maria Lourdes Pacion, has expressed support to buy veggies from them,” Mayor Belmonte added.

Aside from the pick and pay harvest itself, the celebration will have a booth competition, cooking festival, and farmers’ products tiangge.

According to QC Food Security Task Force Co-chairperson and Sustainable Development Affairs head Emmanuel Hugh F. Velasco, the Buhay sa Gulay initiative is aligned with the city’s food security program, “Grow QC: Kasama ka sa Pag-unlad sa Pagkain, Kabuhayan, at Kalusugan program” which promotes urban agriculture, livelihood and health toward food security.

Grow QC further encourages the establishment of a circular economy where success and development is eyed for the benefit of the farmers, businesses, government, and the whole community.

After the harvest festival, the city will continuously support the farmers by providing them with inputs and training in using different agri-technology and pest management.

“We will continue our support to them. They are also being trained to become a cooperative so that it will be easier for the city to link them to regular markets,” Velasco explained.

Aside from these, the city with the help of DAR and DA is working on putting up a modern irrigation system in the farm and other infrastructure projects that will further boost their productivity and income.

“There are other lot owners who are showing interest to develop their lands into urban farms. New Greenland has become a model, and we want to continue the partnership with our stakeholders so that we can replicate this in other potential urban farms,” Velasco added.

Once the seven-hectare farm is fully utilized, it is expected to produce 765 metric tons of vegetables that includes 29.7 MT eggplants, 0.7 MT Sitao, 350 MT Pechay, 280 MT Mustasa, 25 MT Squash, 80 Okra, and 20 MT Ampalaya every year.

Buhay sa Gulay aims to further promote the importance of urban farming and empower urban dwellers to have an alternative source of income by producing and selling fresh and nutritious vegetables.