One for all, all for farming: Food security through urban gardens

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar continues to champion food security and nutrition through an urban gardening and cooking competition

Ang urban gardening ay napakahalaga sa akin. Ito ay para palakasin ang food security dahil abot-kamay ang masustansyang gulay dahil ito ay nasa tabing-bahay lamang,” began Sen. Cynthia A. Villar (CAV), chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, at the 9th Las Piñas Urban Gardening and Cooking Festival Inter-Barangay Competition held last May 2.

The senator — a daughter of farmers whose father was a long-time mayor of the same city — is also chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Through this competition that brought together thirteen barangays, 26 schools, and 22 homeowners’ associations (bringing participants to a total of 61), Sen. Cynthia A. Villar brought together her passion for agriculture + food and environment + natural resources. It was the perfect way to bring together the best of both worlds.

And, of course, the unbeatable taste of Filipino cooking. Which is why the event is also a CookFest, to showcase our natural knack for cooking delicious food through local ingredients immediately available: meat, vegetables, fruits, and fish.

A reminder to eat our veggies

Ang pagkain ng gulay ay pagbibigay pansin din sa kalagayang pang-nutrisyon ng ating mga ka-pamilya at ka-barangay,” continued CAV. “Dahil ito ay may fiber, ito ay nakakatulong na matanggal at malinis ang ating intestinal tract, mapalago ang mga mabubuting bacteria sa ating katawan, mapabuti ang ating blood sugar level, lower blood pressure, at iba pa.”

CAV walks her talk: she has been eating more mindfully and making healthier eating choices since the pandemic began. She is also a mother and grandmother, and this competition is an extension of her nurture and care to the city which she considers home, and its residents her family.

Her legacy is — after all — farming, food security, and nutrition.

She continued by pointing out how vegetables lower the risk of heart disease, prevent cancer, and reduce chances for a person to develop diabetes (incidentally, these are the top three causes of mortality of Filipinos today).

Support for food producers

Spend a day with CAV at her farm and you’ll see how her farming upbringing naturally comes out. This is why the competition was also her way of extending support and appreciation to food producers, and reminding Las Piñas residents to do the same.

Without farmers and fishermen, what ingredients will we cook every day?

Ang pagsuporta sa local food producers o sa ating mga magsasaka at mangigisda ay diretsong tulong sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng steady buyers ng kanilang mga tanim,” said CAV. Through her years of public service, she has worked hard for the welfare of the farmers, speaking up when necessary.

(It is worth noting that, on May 6, CAV issued a statement on Rice Tariffication Law and National Food Authority issues plaguing the country. Her simple appeal: “We should urgently pass the Anti Agricultural Economic Sabotage Law to control the middlemen and traders from causing hardship to the farmers and the consumers.”)

Through consistent support to local food producers, they are encouraged and empowered to remain in agriculture and fisheries. This way, Filipinos are also guaranteed a steady local food supply. It’s simply Filipinos helping one another to survive and thrive.

The winner does not stand alone

Winners of the cooking competition stood to win the following prizes:

●      Grand winner — P20,000.00 in cash and a trophy

●      1st runner-up — P15,000.00 in cash and a trophy

●      2nd runner-up — P10,000.00 in cash and trophy

For the urban gardening competition, the winners brought home:

●      P30,000.00 for the champion

●      P15,000.00 for the 1st runner-up

●      P10,000.00 for the 2nd runner-up

Here are the victors:


Barangay Category

Urban Gardening winners: Barangay Category

●      Champion — Talon 4

●      1st runner-up — BF International CAA

●      2nd runner-up — Talon 2

Homeowners Association Category

Urban Gardening winners: Homeowners Association Category

●      Champion — Castillan Village, Talon 2

●      1st runner-up — Marulas Tenants Liveluhood Association, Inc., Manuyo 2

●      2nd runner-up — Almirante Neighborhood Association, Talon 2

School Category

Urban Gardening winners: School Category

●      Champion — Las Piñas North National High School, Pulang Lupa 2 (reigning champion)

●      1st runner-up — Captain Albert Aguilar National High School, Barangay BF International CAA

●      2nd runner-up — Las Piñas National High School, Barangay Daniel Fajardo


Cookfest winners with CAV and MAV

      Champion — Barangay Talon Singko

      1st runner-up — Barangay BF International/CAA

      2nd runner-up — Barangay Talon Kwatro

CAV lauded Manuyo 2 for being inclusive in their urban gardening campaign. They involved women, persons with disabilities, solo parents, and even senior citizens. “Talagang nakakatuwa,” she said.

To end the competition, CAV went back on motherly nurturing mode and gave a poignant reminder: “Tayo ay dapat magtanim ng gulay at kumain nito.

The Villar Foundation Farm School in Las Piñas — Bacoor will hold an Agricrops Production Training on May 21 to 24, in partnership with East West Seeds Foundation. Visit her Facebook page for the final schedule and other announcements, or Tarpaulin announcements will also be made throughout the city.

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