A piece submitted by Sr Paola fcJ from the FCJ Learning and Development Center.
There is very little green space in the area adjacent to the FCJ Center in Bagong Silangan. Since the pandemic we have been encouraging people to engage in vertical gardening using recycled containers as plant pots to grow vegetables and hanging them on walls or trellises. Many people have been enthusiastic about this project as the price of all food, including vegetables, has greatly increased and caused hardship to many economically poor people.
Suddenly a few months ago we became aware that Quezon City has a project to enable people to cultivate vacant land that is in flood prone areas. We applied to be given a piece of this land to cultivate and immediately we were allocated 240 square meters.
We wasted no time in clearing the area, having it ploughed, with the help of a carabao (who would have thought there was one living locally!!) and fenced. The people then set up their plots and began to plant. More than twenty families are currently using this land and have had several harvests already. Now that the rainy season is over we can look forward to some flood free months. When the rains do come the people are confident that they can re- plant once the flood waters have subsided.
The “gardeners” participated in five seminars on Urban Gardening offered by a team from Quezon City University. The sessions were very practical and provided valuable advice on a variety of topics including how to make inexpensive organic fertilizers and pesticides.
Many people here are originally from rural areas. They delight in cultivating the land and they have the knowledge and skills to do so. Surprisingly, the FCJ Community Garden is hidden away in the midst of Barangay Bagong Silangan which is a densely populated area with approximately 150,000 inhabitants! We hope this project will long continue to provide fresh vegetables for the people and an opportunity for them to enjoy space and contact with nature.