Baguio launches backyard gardening contest, urges residents to help produce food

BAGUIO CITY –- The search is on for the best urban edible home or backyard garden in the city.

Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr., chairman of the committee on trade, commerce and agriculture at the city council who spearheads the search, said “the main objective of this program is the establishment of urban gardens or backyard farms in the city to promote organic food production particularly among the marginalized sector of the population in order to achieve a degree of food security and diversity.”

He added that the contest aims to encourage the residents to be empowered and to produce food for themselves.

The councilor said the search also aims to encourage residents to produce medicinal plants which in the long run will help preserve the biodiversity of traditional plant varieties.

“The project is in consonance with the implementation of the urban gardening or backyard farming program in various barangays to instill awareness to the local residents on the importance of preserving the environment of the city as well to encourage them to cooperate in the solid waste management program particularly in the recycling of waste materials,” he added.

Yangot said the project is just one component of the urban gardening program which also includes the conduct of community education to raise the level of creativity of Baguio residents on the use of urban space for food production and value of quality food including technical assistance to ensure the productivity and diversity with appropriate technology.

Baguio is a highly urbanized city with very limited space for agriculture. But with the program, seminars and trainings are being conducted to train people on how to do urban gardening by utilizing porches of houses and or even their homes as indoor vegetable gardens. Some have vertical vegetable gardens which use walls of houses.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the start of his term in 2016 announced the importance of urban gardening in solving hunger by encouraging residents to plant food products using even the smallest spaces.

He said that if every family would plant vegetables, nobody will go to sleep with an empty stomach.

Yangot revealed that of Baguio City’s 128 barangays, 25 joined the contest.

Cash prizes await the winners of the contest which Yangot said will be institutionalized as an annual event in the city.

Yangot said the contest will serve as a springboard to establish demonstration farms in the city which will later be developed as another tourist attraction.

The contest is a joint project of Yangot as chairman of the committee of the city council together with city mayor’s office, Department of Agriculture Cordillera, Department of Trade and Industry Cordillera, Baguio Flower Festival Foundation, Benguet Electric Cooperative, INNABUYOG Cordillera and other urban gardening advocates. Liza Agoot/