It is part of my vision to make Dagupan a healthy and child-friendly city, where children play an active role in attaining sustainability and food security within the community.
Planting trees in our schools and in our homes is one way of promoting health and wellness to our children. Through the Gulayan sa Paaralan program, we are teaching kids on the importance of eating healthy.
I was amazed to see in the garden of Bonuan Boquig Elementary School all vegetables identified in the song ‘Bahay Kubo’, which include lettuce, cherry tomatoes, chili, pechay, ampalaya, button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, among others.
In addition, the school has a livestock area where native chicken, white leg horn broiler chicken, native pigs, ducks, and geese are being raised.
The school also adopts aquaponics and hydroponics gardening, aside from backyard gardening.
Aquaponics is the technique of raising together fish and plants in water without soil in one integrated system. On the other hand, hydroponics gardening is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water also without soil.
The school also used solar panels to power the equipment needed in gardening, which allows sustainable ways to grow crops.
Station 1 is the mushroom culture area, while Station 2 is aquaponics, a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. This section also has its hydroponics, which is a subset of hydroculture and is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water, without soil. It has a combination of plants with tilapia and red pacu culture-raised. The fish came from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
Station 3 is the livestock area with native chickens, while Station 4 is the vermiculture area for organic fertilizer and Station 5 is the Bahay Kubo Garden where all the vegetables mentioned in the song are planted –singkamas (turnip), talong (eggplant), sigarillas (winged bean), mani (peanuts), different lentils like sitao, bataw and patani, gourds including kondol, patola, upo and kalabasa, labanos (radish), mustasa (mustard leaves), sibuyas (onions), kamatis (tomato), bawang (garlic), luya (ginger) and linga (sesame seeds).
Principal Manuel Ferrer shared to me that the success of the school’s gulayan is the product of volunteerism and cooperation among the school, barangay council, members of 4Ps (Pantawid Pampamilya Pilipino Program) and the Parents-Teachers Association.
The Gulayan sa Paaralan program encourages students and teachers to engage in backyard gardening and livestock raising in schools for livelihood, nutrition and environmental preservation and conservation.
It not only helps provide food which can be used for the feeding program in the schools but also helps in creating a clean environment that is conducive to learning by using organic wastes as fertilisers.
Joining me during the evaluation were Principal Manuel Ferrer, education program supervisor Diosdado Cayabyab, Punong Barangay Joseph Maramba, Dagupan PTA Federation president Imelda Gonzales, and other school officials.