DAVAO CITY, Philippines – As the month of July signals the launch of the nationwide Nutrition Month Celebration, the National Nutrition Council (NNC) along with its partnering agencies, is reviving its campaign in promoting household gardening as a means to combat the prevalence of malnutrition particularly among Filipino children.

“The 2017 Regional Weight-for-Age Scales identifies stunting as a dominant problem among children, covering one third of the nationwide population,” Dr. Ma. Theresa Ungson, Regional Nutrition Program Coordinator of NNC XI said in vernacular.

In response to this, the 2018 Nutrition Month Celebration with the theme ‘Ugaliing magtanim, Sapat na nutrisyon aanihin!’ encourages families to embark on utilizing backyard gardens as a source for healthy food.

“We have been promoting gardens for a long time but now, we’re going back to it because our focus is more on urban gardening techniques,” Ungson added.

Partnering with Department of Agriculture (DA) and Department of Education (DepEd), the NCC will specifically concentrate on educating the public about various garden hacks that residents in the city could adapt.

These techniques include recycling sacks, sando bags, and empty bottles, cans and containers as gardening pots, as well as shifting to edible landscaping and hydroponics farming.

According to Melani Provido, Chief of the High Value Crops Development Program of DA Region XI, the DA has a total budget of P10 million allotted to provide vegetable seeds and other easy-growing crops to programs such as commercial gardening, Gulayan sa Barangay and Gulayan sa Paaralan for 2018.

Provido stated that about 3, 800 schools in Region XI have already implemented the Gulayan sa Paaralan project in their campuses.

She further added that DepEd reports confirm that these gardens provided resources for feeding programs.

Inter-school container gardening and field gardening competitions are hosted by the DA to continually promote school vegetable small-scale planting within the region.

Additionally, the DA XI hopes to accomplish the initiatives to establish vegetable gardens in military camps, barracks and even in jails and detention centers like the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

“There’s no loss in this, we’ll just gain from it,” Ungson emphasized while further explaining that this year’s Nutrition Month campaign will not only provide household security but would also benefit the environment.(davaotoday.com)

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