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Farming in the City with an Urban Farmers PH Volunteer

Farming in the City with an Urban Farmers PH Volunteer

Hi! I am IC, a volunteer in Urban Farmers PH.

I have been based in Manila, Philippines for 5 years.

But in those 5 years, I only experienced a community and environment where you can relax with fresh air in the middle of a farm in the city when I met Urban Farmers PH in its first farm in Makati, Bel Air. This is what encouraged me to join the organization.

People in Manila live a busy lifestyle and have to deal with Air Pollution and Heat in the city. This is why I joined Urban Farmers PH to help spread its advocacy to help spread awareness and work towards solutions for some of the challenges in the agriculture industry in the Philippines:

First, we have high food prices. In September 2022, food inflation was pegged at 7.7%, much higher than prices on September 2021*

Second, low vegetable consumption. Filipinos consumption of fruits and vegetables among Filipinos is only a total of 160 g per day** vs. WHO-recommended 400g.** This means that they are not even eating half of the recommended consumption by the World Health Organization.

Third, the challenge of aging farmers. The average age of the Filipino Farmer is 55 to 59 years old.*** Soon, the Philippines will run out of farmers if it does not encourage younger people to start farming and the country will have to rely on imported goods if this happens.

Urban Farmers PH and its volunteers like me want to make things better and grow a space where people can rest and breathe for a while despite the journey of rapid growth and bustle in the city areas in the Philippines.

It is a social enterprise registered as a non-stock, non profit organization that nurtures unused public spaces inviting people to discover that farming is enjoyable, doable, and transferrable. We want to have a farm in every city through inspiring people with our 5 pillars at the heart of every activity we do:

Our Social Enterprise is rooted in the following 5 pillars:
1. Find creative solutions for food and material waste
Provide accessible & affordable fresh produce grown in the city to promote healthier lifestyle
2. Create jobs for displaced workers
Stimulate economic activities in low-income communities and provide opportunities for displaced workers.
3. Unite Communities
Unite the community through a common interest in food and gardening.
5. Partner with other organizations to pursue advocacies and worthy causes

Partner with other organizations in supporting marginalized communities and other worthy projects in pursuit of our advocacy for food sustainability.
5. Maximize unused land
Transform underutilized lots into edible gardens and inspire nearby communities to grow their own food within their own / available spaces.

Through the organization’s team of farmers and volunteers, we have also been doing our part to ensure food security for Urban Areas. Because there is no soil, it is hard to get safe and fresh vegetables within Manila which is isolated by concrete.

Our dream is to expand our advocacy to all urban residents in the Philippines to make just small GREEN and EDIBLE spaces in your balcony or rooftop by inspiring people that they, too, can grow small farms in their own small spaces at home.

*Philippine Daily Inquirer, “Pricier food pushes inflation to 4-year high in September”
**National Nutrition Council, “2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables!”
***Seameo SEARCA, “Aging farmers could add to food insecurity”

Writer: IC - Urban Farmers PH Volunteer

Story Information:

Country: Philippines

Topic: Agriculture/ Food security

Photo or video credit: Urban Farmers PH, IG @urbanfarmersph

Text Credit: I C

Date : 8 August 2023

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