Davao urban container gardeners make waves

By Lorie A. Cascaro

FAITH or “Food Always In The Home” is the advocacy of a group of natural farmers in Davao City, practicing urban container gardening (UCG) who are part of the 2,000 Facebook members of UCG in the country.
Using used plastic bottles, cans, Styrofoam cups, clay pots and other reusable containers, they plant pechay, celery, cucumber, squash, eggplants, onions, ampalaya, and tomatoes among other vegetables.
Dennis Lainez, who lives in Poly Subdivision, Matina Aplaya, Davao City, transformed the landscape floral garden at the front yard of his 150 square meter lot into a vegetable garden-in-containers.
“If you practice urban container gardening at your house, 80 percent of your garbage is saved,” he told Edge Davao.
President of a farmers group in the Davao region, Lainez said that since he began UCG, he saved 50 percent of his food budget which used to comprise vegetables and spices.
Sometimes, when his production was beyond his family’s consumption, he sold excess products to his neighbors.
UCG is democratizing agriculture among farmers, he said, as they become self-reliant or food-reliant starting in their homes.
Biodegradable wastes such as fish heads, internal organs and tails are fermented to be used as fertilizer rich in protein.
Oriental Herbal Nutrient (OHN), which is made from herbs that help increase plant’s robustness, and sterilize and keep plants warm is also applied in urban container gardens.
He cited some OHN such as ginger, garlic and chili that are combined in a mixture used to spray on the plants or applied to the soil to prevent pests.
Many Filipinos are practicing UCG here and abroad. He said some overseas Filipino workers (OFW) joined their Facebook group and practice UCG on their backyards abroad, while their families here also do it in their homes.
Meanwhile, City Agriculturist Leo Avila III said UCG is included in the city ordinance on organic agriculture issued in 2010. Davao City is the first local government in the entire country to enact a law on organic agriculture.