During the country-wide lockdown imposed last March, the public was confined to the safety of their own homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, the quarantine measures posed challenges to food security since roads were closed and farmers weren’t able to properly market their produce. 

To solve this problem, the Department of Agriculture (DA) launched the Plant, Plant, Plant Program to encourage the public to start growing their own food in their homes or backyards. 

One home gardener who began growing his own food since March is Sajikh E. Ayonan from Iba, Zambales. His garden is situated at the back of their house where a vacant lot used to serve as an area where they hung their clothes out to dry. 

“Realizing that l have so much time available since most of us were staying at home, l took the opportunity to plant the vegetable seeds that the barangay gave to households. The effort was meant to encourage backyard gardening in line with DA’s program. l have an edible vegetable garden because what I was thinking about food security and self-sufficiency,” Ayonan said. 

Ayonan’s interest in gardening sparked at a young age since he loved gardening as a kid. 

“For me, the greatest benefit I am reaping from gardening is the therapeutic benefits it gave to me, aside from harvesting fresh and naturally grown vegetables which helped me save money,” he said. 

Gardening, according to Ayonan, soothes his mind and eases his stress and anxiety. Plus, he finds it very productive and fun to do!