THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

DA chief bats for rooftop gardening, urges LGUs to promote “green” buildings, villages

Author: DA Communications Group | 31 March 2021

As part of its continuing efforts to promote urban agriculture amid the pandemic, the Department of Agriculture (DA) encourages residents and building owners to transform their rooftops and verandas into vegetable gardens.

“When applicable, let’s transform rooftops and verandas, in addition to vacant lots, into vegetable gardens that could provide our families steady supply of fresh, nutritious and affordable food,” said Agriculture Secretary William Dar. “Bare rooftops absorb and radiate heat, and making them into gardens will also help cool houses and buildings,” he added.

“Rooftop covered with vegetable gardens is now a common sight in many cities around the world. Private companies  are starting to invest in green roofs, due to its wide-range benefits both for food security and environment concern,” the agri chief added.

“Further, we enjoin local chief executives in Metro Manila and other urban areas to promote the development of ‘green’ and eco-friendly buildings and communities, by issuing appropriate ordinances,” the chief added.

Secretary Dar made the twin pitch during a meeting, on March 30, 2021, with officials of RE-TERRA, a youth organization that conducted a national competition to garner innovative, transformative, and futuristic designs that integrate agriculture into urban setting.

The group — in partnership with the DA and Pasig City government led by Mayor Vico Sotto — launched the contest in November 2020, attracting hundreds of young architects and students from 42 schools nationwide, and three from other countries.

During the meeting, RE-TERRA founder architect Kathleen Encorporado, presented the four finalists to Secretary Dar, who served as one of the judges, along with Mayor Sotto and three others. She said the four finalists were chosen and announced on February 20, 2021, namely:

  • Sibol: An Urban Community Farming Development Project (Team 1013);
  • UrbaniTree: A Suspended Greenhouse (Team 1016);
  • Dandro Farms (Team 1084); and
  • URB: A Call for Pasig City to Counter Urban (Team 1127).

Encorporado said they will also present the respective designs of the four contest finalists to Mayor Sotto in April. As contest lead and host, Pasig City has designated idle lots where the winning designs will be constructed in partnership with interested commercial developers.

“Our dream is to do the RE-TERRA urban design every year, and replicate it with other cities as a joint venture with the developer because this is very doable. It can be a showpiece for the city, the DA and the developer,” said young entrepreneur Jeffrey Oh, who serves as the group’s agritech consultant.

The grand winner will be announced in May 2021, during the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s month celebration.

Also present during the meeting were RE-TERRA co-founder Fiona Faulkner, who is also CEO of THE Freshest agri firm, and DA spokesperson assistant secretary Noel Ocampo Reyes. ### (Rita dela Cruz, DA StratComms)

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