29 March 2019, Dampol Elementary School, Plaridel, Bulacan. This planting was ASPEN Philippines, Inc. 9th planting session with FEED, dedicated to providing a Food Forest with Bio-Intensive Garden for the 580 students at Dampol Elementary School in Plaridel, Bulacan Province.
Thanks to the leadership of Principal Sohng Educalan and his teaching and executive and administrative team, and the guidance of FEED Ambassador (and ASPEN Philippines CEO & President) Marcelina “Ace” Itchon, Dampol Elementary was selected as a suitable site in need of expanding their existing garden pots and other areas initially landscaped with mainly ornamentals.
Though the school had already planted and harvested their own vegetables, the produce grown originally from seeds purchased at the local market, yielded vegetables mostly without seeds; and those with seeds, however, harvested this past February 2019, did not grow any seedlings after they had been planted in seedlings trays and placed in the School’s own nursery.
A set of planting tools, including spades and hand shovels, nursery kits and organic soil compost with additional seeds were donated also to the school.
This Training of Trainers program was carried out by FEED, and comprised the School’s teachers and gardeners; representatives from different classes and ages; some of the parents and members of the Parent Teachers Association; and local community / barangay and purok leaders interested in learning about Food Forests and how to source and propagate seedlings and plants to harvest perennially from organic vegetable seeds.
The day began with an early morning welcome by Principal Educalan and Mam Ace, attended by 12 Grade 2 children members of the Dampol Elementary School band; 5 PTA mothers; 7 Dampol teachers and town Counsellor.
After sharing some history about the triparty relationship between ASPEN, Dampol Elementary and FEED, Ace mentioned how she knew Principal Educalan who she had worked with during his prior post in another school in Bulacan.
DAMPOL Elementary’s FOOD FOREST
The FOOD FOREST and Bio-Intensive Garden talks centred on how to grow climate smart vegetable crops and be able to harvest perennially/year round, to enhance the nutrition and food supply of the local community by building the capacity of a centre of excellence at Dempol Elementary School. In turn, the organic seeds harvested from the vegetable yields from the School’s vegetable plots can be used to establish other nurseries in other parts of Plaridel, including the homes of the kids’ families.
FOOD forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Combined with the Bio-Intensive Garden (BIG)* approach, the aim is to eventually develop the school grounds into a fully sustainable food garden/forest.
20 indigenous Philippine fruit-bearing trees were donated by ASPEN to Dampol E.S., including native coconut, mango, papaya, rambutan and sampalok; as well as 1,300 native root and vegetable seeds, cuttings and seedlings, including malungay, ampalaya, tomatoes, squash, UPO and several varieties of native beans.
About Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG)*
In response to the 1984 economic crisis in the Philippines, the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) developed a bio-intensive gardening program in the Province of Negros Occidental to increase food availability for Negros islanders.
Two years after bio-intensive gardening was introduced in 1986, the rate of malnutrition had dropped from 40% to 25%.
Bio-intensive gardening aims to rebuild and maintain soil fertility through nutrient cycling, diversified cropping and deep-bed preparation on small-scale plots (200-500 sq. feet). Bio-intensive gardens contain a diverse range of indigenous crops which minimizes the opportunities for pest outbreaks and preserves indigenous seed varieties. Families with these gardens can save cash that they would normally spend on food or non-food essentials for the family. Bio-intensive gardens may also produce enough food for families to sell the surplus and still meet their own nutritional needs.
FEED always explains that the easier part of such environmental efforts in planting, is the planting itself, despite planting in early morning til noon heat. The toughest part is the maintenance and monitoring, which is guided by an annual calendar of which vegetables to plant and harvest during which seasons (wet/dry). Which is why, the selection of an appropriate school in need of such intervention/help – as well as the local leadership – are critical factors in their selection.
Photo Updates as of 17 May 2019 (c/o Principal Educalan)
Thank you ASPEN PHILIPPINES & DAMPOL Elementary School & Community Eco-Warriors!
- Avena, Celso P.
- Catarroja, Myrra Mae R.
- Franco , Mitchelene A.
- Itchon, Marcelina T. “Ace”
- Lipio, Meryll C.
- Reyes, Angel Grace B.
- Santos, Charmaine Anne B.
Although there were only 7 ASPEN participants, due to other departments having tight deadlines, it was yet another on of many memorable planting experiences with all.
Use any GPS (Global Positioning System) software / application to input the latitude and longitude coordinates to be able to remotely see the location of your trees planted. Some examples include:
Related ASPEN Articles
- Community Training to Grow Food with Balayong Elementary School – ASPEN’s 8th Planting with FEED (15 Dec 2018)
- Mandela’s Mangroves: ASPEN & South African Embassy Celebrate Madiba’s Centenary Through Planting (16 Jul 2018)
- ASPEN Reinforces the “Great Wall of Mangroves” with Bulacan’s Bantay Dagat (Dec 2017)
- “Ace” as FEED Ambassador. CEO of Aspen wants “to plant forever…” (Sep 2017)
- MAKE EVERY DAY A MANDELA DAY. Aspen Plants 200 Trees Honouring Madiba’s Legacy (July 2017)
- “You don’t have to be a forester to care for the environment”. Aspen Plants for the Fourth Time, Aiming to Reach their 1,500 Tree CSR Commitment in 2017 (July 2017)
- SAVE Participants Rehabilitate Philippine Forests that Help Improve the Quality of Human Life (June 2017)
- Millions of mangroves seedlings to be planted in Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite (May 2017)
- Aspen Philippines Honors Mercury Drug Founder as FEED Tributes its Partners (April 2017)
- Living Legacies: Purposeful Planting for your Own Cause (Jan 2017)
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.
Tree-Planting with FEED: Video
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: https://youtu.be/KROn4rjVqBg
© Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.