Teacher Ana Yap-Zubiri. Photo by Joann Manabat
ANGELES CITY — In response to the current situation of the communities in this city brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, Brightwoods School initiated an agricultural project dubbed The Ayuda Garden under its Project HEART — HElping Another Rise Triumphant — program.
Project HEART aims to bring help to the communities who are unable to make ends meet or have lost their means of subsistence due to the quarantine impositions.
As a token of goodwill to the surrounding communities, Brightwoods School owner teacher Ana Yap-Zubiri set up an agricultural project as The Ayuda Garden along with its Saturday farmers’ market at the Brightwoods Sportsfield open grounds in Barangay Tabun here.
“We started with the idea of putting up a farmers’ market through my friend Danny Javier to help the surrounding communities as the chickens and other produce they sell here are at a lower price. Next weekend is our fourth fair already,” said teacher Ana.
“I hope to set an agricultural fair with trainings inspired by an activity I saw in New Zealand. We will be propagating more of the seeds of friendship, love, goodness and solidarity through this current situation we are in,” she added.
The ceremonial blessing of The Ayuda Garden and farmers market was held Saturday. This is also a joint partnership project with Lugud Balen movement and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ North Luzon Command 48th Infantry Battalion under their Lugud Tanam project, and other stakeholders.
Also lending full support to the program is the city government led by committee chairman on agriculture councilor Amos Rivera together with Patrol Partylist headed by Congressman Jorge Antonio Bustos.
To motivate and inspire the communities to start and sustain urban gardening and urban farming, Rivera announced during the Ayuda Farm blessing his proposed ordinance to discount land property taxes on idle lands and vacant lots utilized as agricultural farms or gardens in this city.
“This is the first farmers’ market in Angeles and we should have more. I support this kind of initiatives and projects that’s why being the chairman on agriculture here, I have proposed for idle, vacant, and unutilized lands na pag ginamit mo siya as farm or garden dapat may discount ka sa amilyar so we will inspire and motivate communities to help farmers and use vacant lands for agricultural purposes,” said Rivera.
“Urban agriculture is the new norm. We have been giving free seedlings and seeds, farming equipment for the last two months. We must teach people how to fish, we must advocate sustainable food security program and in doing so, there will be economic change because there is a ripple effect which will start from the farmers,” Rivera added.
For his part, Bustos was grateful for such initiatives as it inspires both public and private sectors from families to the government. Bustos also vows to support Project HEART and other agricultural projects in this city and its initiative to sustain food security for the communities.
“The Patrol Partylist’s advocacy is public safety. Our mission is to keep every family safer across the country. But because of this kind of advocacy, it is a lot safer when there is food security,” said Bustos.
“As we are developing various collaborations for different purpose, lahat iyon still under nation building and this is something bigger because we are building the nation into having sustainable and reliable access to food amid the pandemic,” he added.
The Saturday Farmers’ Market is open from 6:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Brightwoods Sportsfield grounds. Temperature checks and physical distancing are observed and “no face mask, no entry” is strictly enforced.