Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda on Tuesday urged the planting of food crops in home gardens and backyards as well as community open spaces to promote food security and mitigate global warming.
Legarda, who represents Antique in the House of Representatives, said that national agencies, local governments, businesses, offices, industries, and households “can establish edible landscapes and community gardens in order to help ensure food supply and ecosystem services, which are key thematic areas in the country’s National Climate Change Action Plan.”
Legarda in a statement said that community gardens and edible landscapes were spaces in urban and rural areas, as well as in households, that have been transformed to fruit and vegetable gardens where community members can partake.
The planting of fruit and vegatable crops, she said, “could be one of the most effective ways to lessen the impacts of urbanization and climate change, especially in Metro Manila,” adding that community gardens and edible landscapes can reduce urban heat, provide various ecosystem services, and stabilize water runoff.
“For a climate vulnerable and developing country like the Philippines, we need more green infrastructure to raise climate change adaptation within our cities and municipalities. Various studies already show that green landscapes improve the quality of life and support economic growth due to a positive ambience influenced by a healthy environment,” she added.
Legarda authored the Food Forest Gardening bill or House Bill 637. The bill seeks to promote and institutionalize food forest gardening in the country as a sustainable land use system to address the limited resources for sustainable food production with minimal farming costs but increased harvests even in small plots of land.
As chairperson of the Committee on Finance during her time in the Senate, she included in the General Appropriations Act the “Gulayan sa Paaralan” program as a special provision in the budget of the Department of Education.
She also supported the “Green, Green, Green” program of the Department of Budget and Management, which aims to promote the development of public open space projects and create more sustainable and liveable cities all over the country through the expansion and rehabilitation of 143 projects, which include 13 institutional open spaces, 21 public squares and plazas, 60 parks, 16 streetscapes, 30 waterfronts, and two mangrove parks.
Legarda added that turning public spaces into green landscapes can also help alleviate hunger and malnutrition, as well as provide additional income and livelihood opportunities for poor families. She also mentioned that local authorities and residents play an important role in sustaining these initiatives.
“Local governments, businesses, the civil society, and all other stakeholders must converge to develop these green spaces for our people and society. Let us consider incorporating these landscapes into our offices and homes as we face and adapt to new challenges to our climate and public health,” Legarda said.