The morning of Apr. 24 served as a harvest day for public schools that sowed good seeds towards teaching their students about climate-smart vegetable production.
These schools were being judged in a contest, where they literally sowed vegetable seeds as participants in the “Participatory action research on school- and community-based food and nutrition program for literacy, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.”
More commonly known as the “School and home gardens project,” this endeavor is a garden-based education and nutrition project being implemented by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Regional Study and Research and Agriculture (SEARCA), the Department of Education (DepEd), and UPLB.
Pila’s Labuin Elementary School (ES) won as the Most Outstanding Partner School after being adjudged to have the most successful project implementation. It also won Best in Community Extension and Best in Partnership with Local Government Unit.
As the outstanding partner school, Labuin ES will continue to receive support from SEARCA to cover the extended implementation of the project.
The remaining schools were recognized for their unique accomplishments. Majayjay ES won Best in Edible Landscape; Crisanto Guysayko Memorial ES of Nagcarlan was Best in Eco-friendly Innovations and Best Farm Record Keeping; Alaminos town’s San Andres ES was recognized for being Best in Utilization of the School Garden for Learning and Best in School Feeding Program; Cabuyao Central School was the Best Implementer of a School Garden in an Urban Setting; and Sta. Cruz’s Pedro Guevarra Memorial National High School won Best Implementer of a School Garden in a High School.
The school garden coordinators of the six schools from Cabuyao, Alaminos, Nagcarlan, Majayjay, Pila, and Sta. Cruz, Laguna received the awards for their school’s accomplishments in creating climate-smart edible school gardens under the project. The recognition program took place at SEARCA’s Umali Auditorium.
In his special message, Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr. said that the success of the project is a testament to what collaborative efforts between institutions can achieve. He expressed his hopes that the project will serve as a blueprint to mitigating the nutrition and education concerns in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.
Meanwhile, Dr. Blesilda M. Calub, project leader and university researcher at the College of Agriculture and Food Science, highlighted the project’s key accomplishments. According to her, it improved the nutritional status and vegetable consumption of students, developed the appreciation for agriculture among them, and generated lessons that were integrated into the school curricula.
Present during the program were Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., director of SEARCA, who delivered the welcome remarks; Dr. Bessie M. Burgos, program head of the Research and Development Department of SEARCA, who articulated the challenges and prospects of the project; and Dr. Margarita Consolacion Ballesteros, external partnerships director of DepEd, who lauded the project for promoting environment- friendly techniques in vegetable production. (Jessa Jael S. Arana)