FAITH Gardening: Strengthening food security, empowering women in Cotabato

The FAITH vegetable gardening training is led by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAg).

Norberta Tahum, provincial RIC coordinator, is thankful to the provincial government for not only teaching the women how to make their FAITH vegetable gardens at home but also instilling in them their importance as food providers in their families.

“FAITH vegetable gardening is also a good strategy to ensure that the food being served in the family is safe and nutritious,” Tahum added, noting that food and nutrition are two of the main concerns of rural improvement clubs in the province.

Tahum described the process of the training, where participants are trained on how to prepare their vegetable beds as well as their compost. According to the provincial RIC coordinator, composting is a good way to dispose of biodegradable waste in the surrounding area.

They are also taught the techniques for growing their seeds into plants in a sustainable manner.

“Through the FAITH vegetable gardening training, the women are also equipped with strategies or procedures to produce their own seeds, particularly open-pollinated seeds, with a high probability of growing into healthy plants,” said Tahum.

After the training, participants are expected to relay the learnings they gained to their fellow RIC members as well as to their neighbors to spread the good news and heighten advocacy efforts in every household.

For those who want to avail themselves of the training, the OPAg will be happy to conduct it to increase the number of women advocates of organic gardening, believing that it would help make Cotabato a food-secure and food-safe province.

Meanwhile, Tiny Tamayo of Barangay Poblacion, Antipas, and one of the participants from the second district expressed joy for the opportunity given to them, saying that now, with their knowledge, they can grow healthy and organic vegetables just in their backyard, thus cutting down on food expenses.

“I thank all the partners who head this program because, as simple as it may seem, vegetable gardening is important since we can get the inputs just around our community while we produce safe and healthy vegetables,” Tamayo said in vernacular.

She also commended the provincial government for initiating FAITH vegetable gardening training, referring to it as an avenue for people to realize that food, especially vegetables, is free if only they learn how to grow it by just putting up a mini-garden in their homes as a start.

“As a participant, I commit to replicate and share with my friends the simple technology I learned from the training,” Tamayo added as she vowed to build a model farm at the nearby barangay of Magsaysay in their town.

The FAITH vegetable gardening training is also an intervention by the provincial government to promote the use of organic fertilizer now that synthetic fertilizers are sold at a high price. (SJDM – PIA Cotabato)