Good Things Grow in Taguig
The Integrated Urban Farm aims to promote and inspire Taguigeños to grow vegetables in their own backyard.
THINK BIG TAGUIG STAFF // 5 MIN READ
Published July 14, 2018
The City of Taguig is undoubtedly on its way to becoming a highly urbanized and progressive city. Yet, unknown to most people, agriculture is very much a part of the city’s fabric. Farming and fishing communities still exist near Laguna de Bay, proving that Taguig is a real probinsyudad. To date, the city government has retained 202 hectares of agricultural land for growing melons, rice, and other high value crops like kinchay.
But as a consequence of urbanization, lands will eventually be repurposed for commercial, industrial, and residential use. When this happens, where will we grow our food?
In Taguig, part of the solution is in urban agriculture.
The city government is a strong advocate for urban farming as a way to address food security issues and healthy nutrition in local communities. To pave the way for this advocacy, urban demo farms were established. The first farm was built in Tipas Elementary School in October 2014, while the second one was constructed in Eusebio C. Santos Elementary School in August 2017.
By December 2017, the third urban farm was launched in Brgy. Lower Bicutan beside the Lakeshore Hall. This is the first integrated urban farm model in the probinsyudad. City Agriculture Officer Emelita Solis explained, “This area used to be a dumpsite before the city government decided to turn it into an urban farm. This is the first urban farm to complete the four sectors of agriculture: crops, fisheries, livestock, and multi-sector. That’s why it’s called an integrated urban farm.”
The farmers, or agriculturists as they are called, tend to a wide variety of plants such as ginger, pandan, peanut, and sesame. There are also numerous vegetable crops like upland kangkong, camote tops, lettuce, tomatoes, eggplant, radish, and bell peppers. An herbal garden plays host to mint, oregano, sweet basil, rosemary, tarragon, and even medicinal plants such as the insulin plant (lowers blood glucose) and stevia (natural sweetener). Fruit-bearing trees such as sampaloc, chico, mangosteen, and Japanese orange are also in abundance.
Nothing is wasted here: recycled materials such as empty water bottles and old car tires are used as plant containers. The farm is also a showcase for vertical farming methods. Pole gardens, wooden racks, and hanging gardens are among the solutions for the lack of space.
Taguig’s urban farms utilize organic farming practices for safe food production and to promote a healthier lifestyle. Nutrient-rich compost that includes carabao manure and vermicast (worm manure) are fed to the crops to aid in plant growth.
Tilapia and catfish fingerlings are raised here in fish pens, while livestock such as free-range chickens are a recent addition.
The Taguig Integrated Urban Farm has been the recipient of generous donations from partner institutions. The Department of Trade and Industry contributed 133 mushroom fruiting bags for incubation and cultivation. The City of Taguig was also chosen as one of the sites for the “Urban Agriculture-Pagkain Para sa Masa” program of the Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. A seedling nursery and a Hydroponic-Aquaponic Farming System were donated as part of the program.
Regular seminars and lectures on urban agriculture are also conducted here inside the bamboo classroom at the back of the farm. Attendees receive free seeds or seedlings as well as technical assistance.
Urban farms create a sustainable food system and put nutrition back to the table. The City of Taguig has already planted the seeds of change, and it can only continue to grow.
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