Aside from seriously addressing our health concerns, COVID-19 pandemic has made us realize the fundamental importance of food security – of being able to produce our own food in case the food industry sector fails to provide our daily needs. But with at least 55% of the population living in the urban areas, how do we actually get to produce our own food when all we have are concrete slabs, limited open spaces, and skyscraping buildings?
Urban Food Gardening Ordinance of Cebu City
To address perennial issues on poverty and food security, as well as improve health and preserve the environment, Cebu City is now recognizing the integral role of urban agriculture in improving the economy, environment, and health of the city. By establishing an “urban food gardening” program in the barangay level, communities are thereby helped in addressing long-term resilience and food security not only in this daunting time of corona virus pandemic but as well as in facing disasters such as fire, flood, typhoon, and other natural and man-made calamities.
While its primary function is to feed people, urban gardening is also now seen as a “necessary adaptation” method and is “critical to survival” in many cities and countries worldwide because of the ongoing change in climate. Hence, a city ordinance was proposed by Cebu City Councilor Alvin Dizon last June 10 – requiring barangays to allocate a portion of their jurisdiction for the establishment of food gardens.
How to go about with Food Gardening in Cebu City
In this proposed ordinance by Councilor Alvin Dizon, barangays Cebu City may choose various forms of urban gardening like in the rooftop, window, vertical or wall, pots and small container, plots, hydroponics, and air plant. Likewise, methods of organic community gardening must promote environmental sustainability practices and must not adversely affect livability of surrounding neighborhood in terms of water, chemical, pesticide, and other harmful contaminants.
In this draft proposed by the Cebu City Councilor, the Agriculture Office of Cebu City is tasked to spearhead the implementation of this urban gardening program and identify the ‘green spaces’ in each barangay. The Association of Barangay Council, on the other hand, is also delegated to oversee the development of these “adopted lots”. Prior to implementation, an inventory of city and private-owned lots that will be used for urban gardening must also be conducted.
Benefits from Urban Food Gardening
Aside from establishing food security in the community, barangays and home gardens with best practices that promote sustainable and eco-friendly urban food gardening methods will be granted with cash incentives during the annual recognition.
In addition, an annual Farmer’s Week of the Cebu City Government will also held to encourage barangays and households to participate and showcase their produce.