The Cebu Provincial Government considers teaching children and teenagers the importance of nurturing and harvesting fresh food a significant part of their learning, believing that growing fresh food at home can be just as much an educational tool as it is a component in the kitchen.
Driven by this belief, the office of Vice-Governor Agnes Magpale and Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO) has distributed in recent weeks about 500 seedlings to My Home, a youth home rehabilitation facility for male children in conflict with the law (CICL) ages 10-15 years old.
The rehabilitation facility, which is spearheaded by the provincial government, is under the care of the Provincial Social Welfare Development Office (PSWDO).
Seedlings consist of tomatoes, ampalaya, eggplant, string beans, spring onions, upland kangkong and malunggay, the common crops for home vegetable garden.
“Some of these vegetables will grow in a few weeks and will be ready for harvest,” Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena said.
Some of the children planted the vegetables themselves. The children learned to tend a garden and grow their own food, along with principles of sustainability.
Fifteen-year old Joey (not his real name), rescued in an operation against human trafficking in December 2014, was thrilled to show the guests his newly planted tomato seedlings.
“Nalipay ko nga nakatanom ko ug mga utanon kay maayo man sa lawas. Mahilig ko magtanom ug isa pud sa akoang buhatonon sa amua (I am happy that I was able to plant vegetables. I am fond of planting because this is one of the things I did back home),” Joey said.
Magpale, vice-chair for Provincial Children and Women Commission (PCWC), is pleased with the project and instructed the children to tend the garden well.
More youth activities
Aside from the gardening activities, PSWDO consultant Rose Jao announced that there will more activities for My Home children.
“We will introduce sports activities, which will be organized in collaboration with the office of Provincial Board member Raul ‘Yayoy’ Alcoseba,” Jao said.
“There will be film showings, too. But the films to be shown are for learning. There will be social workers present for the discussion and process after every film showing,” she added.