THE WAY FORWARD │ Level Up Philippine Agriculture!

Newly-opened urban agri learning center to address DA’s food sufficiency drive

Author: DA Communications Group | 13 October 2021

Intensifying the food production initiatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the promotion of urban farming, a newly-opened “Urban Agri Hydro Hub Learning Center” was inaugurated on October 13, 2021 at The Pop Up Katipunan in Quezon City.

“This launching serves as our first step in reaching our goal. Today, we established our country’s first urban farming hydroponic research and training facility to overcome food shortages and heal hunger in the Philippines,” Agriculture Secretary William Dar said.

The project is a collaboration of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Philippine Association of Agriculturists, Inc. (PAA), University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman Institute of Biology, and The Freshest.

Secretary Dar was joined by PAA Chairman Roberto Rañola, Jr., UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, Food Security Ambassador James Reid, and Fiona Faulkner and Jeff Oh of The Freshest during the launching of the facility on October 13, 2021.

“I have always believed in the power of urban farming much more amid Covid-19 pandemic,” Secretary Dar said.

He added that urban farming could cover 15–20 percent of urban areas, where every space available such as vacant lots and rooftops can be utilized for food production.

The Learning Center is composed of two facilities: 1) the hydrofarm, which can grow 576 heads of lettuce or about 18 kilograms per lifecycle, and 2) the Hydro Hub lecture hall.

Lectures on hydroponics, vegetarian/vegan culinary demonstrations, and pop-ups will be regularly conducted at the Center.

In cooperation with the Department of Education, the Learning Center’s first training program was attended by 39 elementary students from Quezon City, Manila, Caloocan, Pasig, and Marikina. The next training aims to involve high school students and reach out to more cities.

“I believe that we need the youth, represented by our very own James Reid. He is now the role model for the youth, advocating and promoting urban farming. So, the youth would be the infomediaries,” Secretary Dar said.

He also shared his hope that more people will see the facility as a platform with which they can be encouraged to do their own urban farming in their respective homes.

“Metro Manila people have to now start doing their own share in providing their own food,” the agri chief said.

The new facility will also contribute to attaining food security and will make high-value crops available in urban areas. ### (Gumamela Celes Bejarin, DA-AFID)

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