November 7, 2020
by Tey Lopez
November is organic agriculture month and what can be a more opportune time to share the power in growing our food? This is why Good Food Community has launched the Food Today, Food Tomorrow program, a solidarity gardening partnership in Golden Shower community, Payatas, Quezon City, kicked off last November 7, 2020.
Food Today, Food Tomorrow is a collaboration with the community organization Pinagkaisang Lakas ng Mamamayan (PLM) to grow micro urban gardens in Payatas. This will grow farm fresh produce toward long-term food security in the community. The program enacts and embodies the meaning behind “pamayanihan“. Pamayanihan encapsulates the model, values, and spirit of community-shared agriculture, which Good Food Community has been pioneering for years as a social enterprise for organic agriculture.
PLM is the same community organization that Good Food Community partnered with in the Payatas run of Lingap Maralita, a food distribution initiative that emerged in the wake of Covid-19, bringing fresh produce sourced directly from smallholder farmers to urban poor communities throughout Metro Manila. During the Payatas run, PLM themselves organized community kitchens in Golden Shower and reached out to other communities nearby to share the food.
The launch of Food Today, Food Tomorrow started with the delivery of the gardening kits, which included soil, seeds, seedlings, educational modules about agroecology, garden signages, and fresh vegetables from Good Food Community. This commences the Food Today, Food Tomorrow program and also supports PLM’s ongoing community kitchens. Excited for the launch, many of the 20 farmers arrived at the site of the launch more than an hour early, with a banner they made that said “Mabuhay Food Today, Food Tomorrow!”
After receiving the garden kits and fresh produce, Food Today, Food Tomorrow team member Tey Lopez facilitated the program orientation and discussed agroecology as a movement and alternative to dominant corporate agriculture. Agroecology is the first module in the program and sets the rationale of pursuing organic farming practices instead of conventional.
During the orientation, the group reiterated the importance of organization as the main ingredient in the success of the program implementation. Thus, even as there are 20 farmers who have taken part of the initiative, are taking care of the kits, and setting up the gardens in their own homes, cooperation or “bayanihan” is a key ingredient for success. Another mechanism set up by Food Today, Food Tomorrow core team is clustering the farmers into teams, and each cluster is supported by designated solidarity gardening advocates who facilitate further cooperation and participation.
While the concept of agroecology may still be new for PLM, the farmers recognized that there is a need to combat commercial, chemical farming and advance agroecology as an alternative.
After the orientation and agroecology discussion, the farmers received their gardening kits while the Food Today, Food Tomorrow team on the ground signed acknowledgment receipt forms for the turnover of the kits. They received a sack of soil, bokashi composting kit, laminated module, signage and seeds, while the seedlings were received by clusters.
The 20 farmers were not complete in attendance the whole time. Only 14 of them were able to stay for the whole duration of the launch as many cannot be out of their homes for long, due to household chores and obligations with their houses.
After a simple ceremony and after pictures were taken, each of the clusters went home with their gardening kits. They also took turns in carrying the soil to their clusters’ areas.
Food Today, Food Tomorrow aims to promote food security through principles of agroecology, with Golden Shower as the pilot area, led by 20 farmers and officers of PLM. It is also supported by Me and My Veg Mouth, The Vegan Neighbors Philippines, and KADAMAY.
All photo credits to Food Today, Food Tomorrow team
2 thoughts on “GROWING PAMAYANIHAN: “Food Today, Food Tomorrow” launch”