Friday, August 7, 2009

Navy fights hunger with garden project

Manila Bulletin Sunday, July 19, 2009 13


The Philippine Navy has embarked on a new project dubbed "urban vegetable gardening." "From eliminating, we now do growing," Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy spokesman, said, as he discussed the Naval force’s new project. Arevalo said that from eliminating enemies in line with the governments, war on terror to conducting rescue and relief missions, the Philippine Navy led by its Flag Officer-in-Command, Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez, focuses on a new program aimed at fighting bigger enemy - hunger. In support of the government's campaign against hunger, the Philippine Navy has converted a 600-square meter former trash site at the Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig City into an organic vegetable garden. Arevalo said that the organic garden is one of the Navy's environment friendly projects. He said that the program will showcase an eco-friendly garden in Metro Manila, which can also be a good source of healthy diet and additional income. The urban vegetable gardening is pioneered by the Navy's engineering arm, the Naval Construction Brigade (NCBde) or Seabees. In promoting the "green project," the Team Navy collaborated with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in transforming the land into a garden. "The Navy's urban garden was realized thru the initiative of the Seabees

aided by the technical expertise and seedlings from BPI. Organic fertilizers like compost and farming methods were used to grow vegetables like alugbati, upland kangkong, bush sitaw, s31uyot, pechay, raddish, eggplant, and ginger. At the launching ceremony, the Navy chief expressed cited the health benefits of organic-grown vegetables. He said: "Vegetable is an important ingredient of our diet and input for good health." Seeing the potential of the garden,

Golez challenged Navy personnel to replicate the project in all units of the Command and to sustain the project and make vegetable gardening "a part of our daily life in the Navy." Arevalo said the project which targets optimum yield over minimum inputs will showcase technologies

in growing vegetables, herbs and spices. He added that the new project will serve as a model for other communities in the urban area to grow vegetables in their backyards or even in containers.

"This in a way will produce quality vegetables for home consumption, generate income, and help minimize waste in the area through composting," the Navy spokesman said. The Philippine Navy has expanded its role to include the protection of our environment. After launching its own Ecological Waste Segregation Program at Fort San Felipe, Cavite City early this year, the Navy now embarks into another eco-friendly project, the Urban Garden. "This project further attests to the Navy's commitment in preserving our natural resources," Arevalo said. Josephine Garcia, representative from the BPI, said: "The garden is not only a good source of organic vegetables

that promotes one's health, but is also a good source of additional income."


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