Rebuilding Baguio communities through urban agriculture

For a city that was originally a grassland and has morphed into a concrete jungle, some of those reminiscing the city’s pre-pollution pre-traffic, pre-garbage, pre-construction boom, and pre-overpopulation years have stopped dreaming of having the old Baguio City back. Instead, they started propagating the idea of becoming real stewards of the city that has hosted them. And that even if Baguio City could no longer backtrack to what it originally was, there are other ways to help their city disentangle from the problems it is now facing due to development. 

 

Self-taught agriculturist Danny Agliam is being invited to be a resource speaker in several trainings to share his knowledge on urban agriculture, which he has been practicing for several years now in his rooftop garden at P. Zamora Street in Baguio City. -- Harley Palangchao


They believe that while progress is beyond their control, the city and its residents do not necessarily have to leave it at that and live with the consequences. 

As Baguio celebrates its 107 years as a city on Sept. 1, one of the new visions being recommended for the 128 barangays and the city government to consider as a sustainable program is the practice of urban agriculture, which, to a growing number of “urban gardeners” in the city, is doable and doesn’t take much to set up and maintain. 

Its advocates suggest as well that making Baguio City as an urban agriculture capital is not impossible. In fact, the city should set its eyes towards this direction because the advantages of keeping vegetable gardens in idle nook s have no bounds, and current circumstances of the city and the environment as a whole demand for it. 

They have proven that even in small ways coupled with creativity and a sense of survival, urban agriculture helps in addressing concerns ranging from food security, proper nutrition, health, pollution, waste management, disaster preparedness and resiliency, clean environment, climate change, tourism; to the need to care for, reap from, and commune with the earth that has supported human existence. 

Further, they believe involving the city’s young generation by teaching them to grow their own food in pocket gardens and eat healthy would spell the difference for Baguio in the next 100 years. 

It may not bring back the Baguio of the olden days, but advocates deem it a revival and a shot for sustainability. As the current Department of Tourism Cordillera leadership has also recently proven, with a community that cooperates, agrees for a change of mindset and attitude, and owns that change, things would get done. 

One advocate particularly says that with a change of mindset among Baguio’s stakeholders and backing from public servants, “who have the vision, integrity, passion, and imagination to implement programs such as urban agriculture,” it will have “positive and long-term impact on the lives of residents and on the environment.”

 

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