Gulayan sa Barangay: A fulcrum of community unity

Created on Sunday, 23 May 2021

When people of different strokes come together to build a common livelihood for the entire community, that is resiliency in the making amid difficulties of the pandemic. And heavens blessed them with a bountiful harvest.

This sounds too good to be true. But no, it really is happening in Purok Tulingan, Barangay Kawit, Medellin, Cebu.
Husbands, wives, mothers, community leaders, and various folks have come together to establish a communal garden – the Gulayan sa Barangay in their small village.
While the husbands are out to catch the bounty of the sea, the wives make themselves busy from dawn to dusk tending their communal vegetable garden. These wives and/or mothers found that gardening is their new source of inspiration as it complements their usual day-to-day activities. Despite the pandemic that everyone is facing, these wives feel that farming has come out as a good source of livelihood especially that it complements with their husbands’ fishing that brings good catch from the sea.
"We are not really used to farming as some of our family members are fishers. When we started our small garden, we don’t even know how to properly tend it,” Virgie Rosos, the president of the 15-member core group of the community garden shared in Cebuano.
For them, the Gulayan sa Barangay is not just a communal garden but a social activity brought about by the bayanihan spirit as it fosters responsibility and a sense of belongingness during this time of pandemic.
The communal garden has not only taught them of unity but also on the importance of eating healthy and nutritious food.
Though of various strokes, these folks have dedicated to work as one and committed to cultivate the garden no matter what time of the day.
“Some of us will be here as early as six in the morning to tend our garden and will go home as late as seven in the evening. We take turns in cultivating our crops and vegetables,” Rosos said, as she assured that their garden’s produce are chemical-free and safe to consume.
She added that they went through a lot of challenges when they started their garden. As they say, ‘some people will pull you down’ but these things did not dampen their spirit to continue what they have started.
The DA7 has seen these efforts and conducted a visit to check how the project is going. Recently, during a project monitoring visit by the DA7 staff, technical working group and the private volunteer members of the Integrity Circle (IC) of the DA7’s Agriculture Dialogue and Information Network Groups (ADING) program, their communal garden showed a haven of fresh and nutritious green, leafy vegetables. Not only that, the DA7 has seen that the garden serves as a convergence of the village folks.
Beaming with pride, Rosos together with her members, toured the ADING members to their garden planted with different varieties of vegetables such as green pepper, petchay, eggplants, tomatoes, and kangkong, among others from the vegetable seeds given by the DA.
The garden looks adorned with the different colors flashed from the different variety of vegetables. Indeed, the garden is not just a good source of fresh and nutritious food but also a good source of savings and livelihood.
“We have saved money because we just get food from our garden. We also save the other income of the garden for the group’s future expenses,” she said.
The group expressed their gratitude to the DA7’s Gulayan sa Barangay, saying that they have been reaping good harvests from their naturally-grown vegetables. Still, the group wishes to avail of additional assistance like trainings and seminars from the DA to enhance their knowledge and skills in farming.
This was learned during the DA7 and ADING members’ conduct of a community dialogue in the area, with the aim to listen to the grassroots, in order to know their stories, best practices, as well as feedbacks.
DA7 and the ADING also visited a communal garden in Lamitan Sur of the said municipality, where they note similar things happening.
With this, DA7 wished to thank the members of the Cebu-based IC Norberto Leyses Jr. of JPIC-IDC, Inc. and Gemiel Hermita, a 4H Club member of Region 7 for gathering some inspiring stories. ###

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