Community Training to Grow Food with Balayong Elementary School – ASPEN’s 8th Planting with FEED

20181215_14375215 December 2018, Balayong Elementary School, Malolos, Bulacan. FOOD SECURITY TACKLING MALNUTRITION. The Philippines continues to face challenges in addressing food insecurity and malnutrition:

  • 1.3 million families or 8.3 million Filipinos unable to meet their basic food needs in 2015 (PSA).
  • Despite the 􏰁country’s economic􏰁 growth, poverty incidence remains high at an estimated 21.6% of the population.
  • Farmers and fisherfolk consistently rank among the poorest.
  • Incidence of malnutrition, especially in children 0-5 years old, remains prevalent in the most impoverished regions of the country particularly Mindanao.


Recommended by FEED Ambassador Marcelina “Ace” Itchon (also President & CEO of Aspen Philippines, Inc., Balayong Elementary School holds a dear place in Ace’s heart as she attended this school to learn her first ABC’s and 123’s. The Balayong Elementary still has a student code of conduct that exemplifies professional public school teaching and instillment of values amongst the community, thanks to strong leadership and eco-awareness of its administration, pupils as well as the  Parent Teachers Association.

20181215_093733This half day event took place at Balayong Elementary School in Malolos, Bulacan. It sponsored by ASPEN Philippines, Inc., as their 8th planting carried out with FEED.  Coined a “FOOD FOREST” by FEED, the approach was adopted following several recommendations by working and practicing professionals (from professors, doctors and agro-foresters) at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) of FEED’s first LIVING LEGACY partner, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

20 eager and hard-working Aspen volunteers prepared and planted the 4 long vegetable plots filled with 1,300 organic and native Philippine vegetable seeds, seedlings and cuttings, a.o.:

  • Vegetable Stem Cuttings Kamote – Purple  & Yellow
  • Vegetable Seed Katuray – purple & white flowers variety
  • Vegetable Seedlings Roselle – Red
  • Vegetable Seedlings Saluyot
  • Vegetable Seedlings Sili – Hawaiian hollow point
  • Vegetable Stem Cuttings Talinum
  • Vegetable Seed Talong “Araw-Araw”  and “Mestiza”
  • Vegetable Tuber Uraro
  • Herb Seedlings Mint, Oregano and Tarragon
  • Fertilizer Tree Seedlings Kakawate

FEED added additional native Guyabano, Mango and Bitaog flowering trees to the mix of vegetables planted. 5 Native Coconut Trees were donated to the local barangay, as well as the remaining bags of compost, seeds and cuttings.

About 25 children from Balayon Elementary School, guided by 5 of their teachers, 4 parents and the Principal were present throughout the training of trainers, to ensure the techniques of collecting, drying, storing and germinating seeds would be taken home and shared with others in the community. Provided with a planting and harvest schedule, once the first harvest of the Food Forest and Bio-Intensive Gardens is ready, the seeds from those crops can in turn be shared with others.

FEED works with companies like ASPEN and from other sectors;  local government agencies; and community leaders to plant and grow nutrition-based gardens, in urban and rural areas – optimising with perennial crop varieties to ensure continuous supply of nutrition to the school and kids – particularly in remote areas with limited access to markets/produce.

One of ASPEN Philippines, Inc.‘s CSR advocacies – like part of FEED’s mission – is to fight poverty and prevent malnutrition by empowering the teachers, students and local community leaders (mainly pure and barangay / village levels) to grow and share their harvests (seeds, seedlings, cuttings) – in order to pay it forward for others.

The Training of Trainers (ToT) approach also helps guarantee that with the established leadership in place at Public Elementary Schools like Balayong, that they too will pay it forward for others in the community to share technical and practical knowledge on how to secure your own food supply that is organic, native and nutritious. The approach is designed to empower others to do “sow as they reap”.

This ASPEN planting also aimed to bring the community together in a fun-filled exercise involving planting, seed production, and awareness on no chemical pesticides to crops planted by means of organic fertilizer making/composting and natural pesticide options.

The FOOD FOREST program started at 10:00 AM with the familiarization of different indigenous and local vegetable and fruit varieties, which entertained most community members who seemed unaware of the nutrition value of said crops already growing  in their backyards.

The ToT was followed by a live demonstration and hands on exposure to techniques in seeds and seedling/cuttings management, seed production and a labor intensive site preparation of the planting site – as evidenced in the Photo Journal below.


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Adequate access to nutritious fruits and vegetables is a major keystone to good health and well-being, and is also proven to improve not only attendance of students to school but their educational performance too.

On FOOD SECURITY, the Unspoken and Looming Crises

When was the last time you panicked hearing that the price of chillis went up to PHP1000 per kilo? Or the price of rice shot up 23% to above PHP49/kg and National Food Administration (NFA) rice grains were no longer available at PHP37/kg?

Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, is the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Over the coming decades, a changing climate, growing global population, rising food prices, and environmental stressors will have significant yet highly uncertain impacts on food security. – Source:

PH food security ranking goes up


“Amid near-decade inflation highs, the Philippines’ ranking rose in the latest Global Food Security Index (GFSI).

A report released in October 2018  said the country placed 70th among 113 countries assessed, with a score of 51.5 out of 100. The Philippines went up from last year’s 79th, with a score of 47.3, but it remains in the lower half of the index.

A score of 100 points means there is ideal food security in the country.

rice_ina.jpgThe index, from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), measures food security indicators under three major factors: affordability, availability, and quality and safety.

The report showed the Philippines fell short of the global average of food supply for 2018. It also pointed out that food consumption takes up 42.2 percent of household expenses in the Philippines, while global averages are at 29.5 percent.

Challenges that pose a risk to food security in the country include lack of agricultural research and development and corruption, it added.

President Rodrigo Duterte on October 12 admitted the agriculture sector is the “weakest link” in the economy, adding that he cannot solve the rice sufficiency problem in the Philippines during his term despite attempts to boost its supply. Duterte also said he had considered quitting in August due to his failed attempts to address corruption in the country.”

Related ASPEN Articles

About ASPEN Philippines

Aspen Philippine Inc LOGOAspen Philippines Incorporated is the first South African pharmaceutical company in the Philippines. It started operating in January 2012 with only a handful of employees. But after a few months, it has rapidly increased to over 100 passionate Filipino staff.

With the company’s immediate and continued growth, its commitment becomes stronger. That is to meet the healthcare needs of Filipinos by providing a broad spectrum of high quality, effective, and affordable pharmaceutical products so that ultimately, lives can be sustained one day at a time.

Aspen Philippines’ range of products initially comprises of antibiotic, anti-hypertension, anti-gout, anti-platelet and anti-hypothyroidism. But the company continues to expand its reach, acquiring global brands in consumer healthcare, which include Dequadin, Kwell, and Valda Pastilles.

Now that Aspen has made its mark in the Philippines, Filipinos can now take advantage of an improved means to healthcare right at their fingertips.

For more information:


In 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The carbon dioxide reductions will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry.

FEED runs a number of Students and Volunteers for the Environment (SAVE)Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – such as mangrove planting for coastal protection or ridge reforestation plantings; One Child, One Tree; Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG) for nutrition in public elementary schools and other spaces; Climate Change Survival 101 and other LIVING LEGACY programs – customised environmental engagement activities for individuals and organisations interested in contributing to climate change adaptation efforts and greening critical areas such as watersheds, ridges, and reefs that all require rehabilitation.

Join us!  Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.

Tree-Planting with FEED

Check out the video journey by Clueless Commuter who planted with us last 24th of June 2017 to get a good idea of how FEED plantings go:


Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own tree-nurturing event: or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

© FEED, Inc.