Quezon City, church partner for community urban farm
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City government has partnered with the Diocese of Novaliches for the establishment of a community farm in a bid to promote the city’s urban agriculture program.

Mayor Joy Belmonte recently signed a memorandum of agreement with Novaliches Bishop Roberto Orendain Gaa for the initiative, which aims to contribute to food security efforts of the city government.

“This partnership with the Diocese of Novaliches strengthens our resolve that responding to this pandemic requires the participation of all sectors of society, private or public, to address the needs of our residents,” Belmonte said.

“Thank you for allowing the use of your property and resources to produce food for the most food-insecure,” she told the diocese.

Under the agreement, the Diocese of Novaliches will allow the city government to use its 5,000-meter vacant lot in Barangay Novaliches Proper as model pilot farm for the natural or organic urban agriculture.

A portion of the vacant lot that is currently being utilized as a materials recovery facility will also be integrated into the model pilot urban farm as a possible source of organic fertilizer and other materials needed for planting.

Emmanuel Velasco, head of the city’s food security task force, said it would help enhance the local government’s campaign to guarantee the supply and availability of food for its residents.

The city government committed to identify, mobilize, utilize, allocate and provide available resources and training to the beneficiaries of the program.

With the help of barangays, the task force will also identify and evaluate areas suitable for pilot urban farms, seedling production, vermiculture, organic compost fertilizer and agriculture inputs production.

To further boost the urban farming initiative, the city government will also request the city council to pass an ordinance regarding the utilization of open spaces in government and private lots for the production of food and agriculture inputs.

For its part, the Diocese of Novaliches will coordinate with all its parish priests, program directors and leaders of Basic Ecclesiastical Communities for the adoption of the organic urban farming program in their respective parishes.

It will also encourage members and interested parishioners to volunteer as urban farmers and create employment in the production of vermicast, seedlings and compost and other agriculture inputs.

Since May, the city government has distributed over 17,000 seed starter kits to residents as part of its urban farming initiative.

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