by Vina Medenilla    

Aside from discovering a new hobby and earning a profit, many people now practice urban gardening to survive and to secure their food at home amid the community quarantine. Urban gardening is a process of producing food or cultivating any varieties of plants in or around urban areas. “There is no unproductive soil, land, and water. Only unproductive hands.” said an urban gardener, a consultant, and co-owner of Good Agricultural Products & Practices (GAPP-Phils), Rosalie Joven, during the webinar on ‘Basics of Urban Gardening.’ Here are a few highlights:

Benefits of urban gardening

Ready market – Urban gardening is a good source of income because the market and demand are always available, given that food is essential. Barter or a process of exchanging goods or services without using money is also becoming popular nowadays; people offer their vegetables, fruits, plants, and seedlings in exchange for what they need.

Grow food in a small land, soil, or area – A common challenge in urban gardens is space but you can utilize any available materials like empty rice sacks and old tires. It would also take a short time for you to produce and have access to food regardless of the market situation. You can grow veggies like pechay in just 20-21 days while for fruit-bearing vegetables, it would only take two to three months. Once they’re ready, you can obtain veggies anytime without leaving home.

It requires small capital and provides you alternative employment – The crisis takes a toll on communities, especially to those who have lost their jobs or those who earn smaller profits compared to before. If you have an urban garden, you can get nutritious food and can also earn money by selling the extra vegetables and fruits you harvest.

It improves and sustains household nutritional needs and promotes the participation of women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) – even children can join as you make gardening activities reachable for them.

It also promotes food security and safety – since you are growing your own food, you’ll have direct access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and meat anytime you need without the need to buy at the market. This will secure food for your family and will help you save or earn money in the long run. Lately, it provides opportunities for exercise and for a deeper connection to agriculture.

Aside from these social, financial, and physical benefits of gardening, several studies also show that it provides psychological effects such as reducing anxiety and stress. 

After getting to know the basics, it’s time to know the requirements needed to get your garden started, which will be discussed in part 2.

Insights shared by Ms. Rosalie Joven during a webinar called ‘Basics of Urban Gardening’ hosted by 9 and beyond in partnership with Manila Bulletin and Agriculture Online, held last July 11, 2020.