BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing the annual Search for the Edible Backyard Home Garden Contest in the city in recognition of the vital role of urban gardening enthusiasts, particularly in the community, and appropriating funds for the purpose.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the institutionalization of the annual Search for the Best Edible Home Backyard Contest will provide the legal basis for it to be regularly conducted in observance of the annual celebration of the Urban Farmer’s Month every May.
The ordinance tasked the City Agriculture division of the City Veterinary Office to be the lead office in the implementation of the year-round and continuing annual Search for the Best Edible Backyard Garden Contest in the city.
Further, the criteria, mechanics and guidelines among others shall also be formulated and prepared by the said office in coordination with relevant offices and regional line agencies.
Initially, Yangot proposed the allocation of some P250,000 from the annual budget of the local government to fund the prizes and other operational expenses that will be incurred during the conduct of the activities lined up for the event.
The ordinance stipulated that 70 percent of the prescribed budget will be allocated for the prizes of winners of the contest, while 30 percent will be earmarked for operational and capability-building programs that will be conducted by the organizers.
Earlier, Resolution No. 075, series of 2017 was passed by the local legislative body declaring the month of May 2017 and every year thereafter as ‘Urban Farmer’s Month in the City of Baguio’, pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 33 dated March 31, 1989 which declared among others to put agriculture in the forefront and challenge everyone to be very active in strengthening farming and agriculture sector in the city.
Under the proposed ordinance, the Urban Garden Contest is a city-wide home garden competition and tour in which local residents are challenged to show off their edible home gardens and for people to raise their level of creativity on the use of urban space.
Yangot claimed that a fitting tribute is proper in due recognition of the remarkable role of urban gardening and ‘green advocates,’ particularly those who cultivate and practice urban farming.
While the city has been declared as a highly urbanized city, there are still areas utilized for agricultural purposes. As certified by the City Agricultural and Fishery Council (CAFC), agricultural practitioners from 24 different barangays actively cultivate their lands since time in memorial so that they will be able to send their children to school, many of which are now professionals.
In addition to the importance of preserving the remaining environment, the ordinance disclosed that different classes of gardens, be it rooftop, wall, or backyard, can add usable leisure space to a property that is attractive to people as well as to wildlife in the different parts of the fast growing city like Baguio through the years.
By Dexter A. See