20 October 2019, Barangay Maunong, Calamba, Laguna. 45 super enthusiastic Earth-warriors from Biogenic Alcohol (by Cosmetique Asia Corporation) – some of whom had already experienced one or both prior planting sessions with FEED* – received a first-hand experience in the Training of Trainers focused on the theory and practice of “FOOD FORESTS” including Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG).
Upon arrival at the site venue (FEED nursery and Laguna partner Ayala Greenfield Estates (AGE) at 7:30 AM, Biogenic participants walked through the October rainshowers for the indoor welcome talks and Training of Trainers hands-on experience in Food Forests, delivered by FEED’s Director of Partnerships, Anne-Marie Mananquil Bakker.
Biogenic’s “Lend a Hand” campaign with FEED kicked off in 2017 when they planted 1,020 Philippine indigenous trees with 48 volunteers; followed by 1,000 native Philippine mangrove species (topped up by then-Mayor Amboy of Hagonoy, Bulacan ) planted in 2018 with 43 volunteers from Biogenic and Rakso CT – the latter being the marketing partner of Biogenic. This year’s Lend a Hand campaign saw the instalment of a sustainable Food Forest and Bio-Intensive Garden for the benefit of the local communities particularly a public elementary school in Barangay Maunong surrounding the AGE compound in Calamba, Laguna.
A collection of 600 assorted native Philippine fruit bearing trees and organic vegetable seeds, seedlings and cuttings were planted in a public area on the AGE compound, in collaboration and with guidance from the Environmental and Community Relations Committees of the AGE Board, comprising residents active in the pursuit of sharing the “Training of Trainers” experience in sustainable and native, nutritious, climate smart and low-cost food production with Barangay Maunong – which they already hold lasting relations with. An additional set of tools (stainless steel shovel, rake, bamboo hand shovels, cutters and a complete Bio-Intensive Garden seeds kit) was also donated by the Biogenic team to the public elementary school, care of the AGE Board.
Some of the native BIG seeds, seedlings and cuttings installed in the Food Forest include roselle, chaya^, edible canna, Japanese malunggay (moringa), kamatis (tomato), kamote (orange, purple and yellow sweet potato), katuray (corkwood tree flowers), saluyot (nalta jute), talinum (fame / flame flower), talong (eggplant), uraro (araró or arrowroot) and kakawate (madre cacao).
See an example of the benefits of Chaya below.
^Chaya Leaves Amazing Health Benefits To The Body
Chaya leaves have numerous health benefits for the body, it is also called as “God’s Gift” because it can treat almost 100 diseases.
Chaya is also called as tree spinach and it is a fast growing plant that was cultivated worldwide. It is believed that this plant originated in Mexico and spread worldwide. It is a leafy vegetable which is similar to spinach.
It is both used for culinary and medicinal purposes because it has a wide range of usage. This leaves must be cook first before consumption because it contains toxic hydrocyanic glycosides similar to cassava. It is also a tasty vegetable such as spinach.
Aside from cooking it has a lot of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, B1, ascorbic acid, iron, calcium, phosphorus, protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and other nutrients that are beneficial to the body.
It has also an antidiabetic effect that helps a diabetic patient in treating their diabetes. But cooking Chaya leaves in an aluminum pan may cause diarrhea so consumers were not advised to cook these leaves in the aluminum pan.
Many people believe that this plant can cure almost 100 diseases due to its numerous health benefits to the body. Chaya can dissolve cyst, cancer, and numerous types of diseases, that’s why it is called a “gift of God.”
It can treat asthma, anemia, sore throat, infections, headaches, kidney and liver diseases. It can prevent hemorrhoids, varicose veins, anemia, osteoporosis, and other serious diseases due to aging and environmental effect.
It can also regulate cholesterol levels, uric acid, blood sugar levels, balance metabolic system, and helps children growth. Chaya leaves can also enhance the health of the eye, cognitive ability, boost the immune system and other health benefits.
These leaves can be both added to salads, soups, or used as a tea. Chaya can be only consumed cooked or boiled but never consume it raw. Here are some tips how to prepare Chaya tea from its leaves.
The Bio-Intensive Garden (BIG) approach was created by one of FEED’s Living Legacy Partners, the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), who trained FEED staff in its implementation, maintenance, challenges and solutions; so as to enable other particularly Public Elementary Schools in marginalized areas, to sustain the childrens’ nutrition needs at the lowest cost possible, in order to significantly enhance their educational attendance, performance and thus opportunities, by means of providing proper nutrition and environmental education.
Nursery Work, Seeds & Seedling Management
Following the 10 minute “Climate Change” welcome and agroforestry introductions by Bakker, FEED’s VP of Operations, Diane Penales shared details on starting a Bio-Intensive Garden, soil management and preparation, seed drying and seedling management, crop management and care in handling of garden produce, and finally the nutritional aspects of the bio-intensive garden; followed by a practical demonstration with the participants planting of organic okra and eggplant in 2 nursery trays; which were to be transplanted in 3 months time to the Food Forest at AGE, managed by the local maintenance crew, who also received the same training with FEED.
Photo Journal (20 October 2019)
Post-planting in the rains, participants enjoyed a much-deserved native Binalot meal put together by FEED and with support from the same local gardeners and maintenance team who also prepared the land with FEED in advance – scrumptious appetites were warmed by the native mongo with malungay/moringa, stir-friend mix of the assorted vegetables mentioned above, and chicken adobo with fried eggplants! Everyone including the maintenance team and guards ate to appreciate what they had just planted – the perennial harvests of which will be donated to the selected AGE public elementary school, with the harvest seeds to be propagated in the AGE and school’s nurseries.
GPS Coordinates for Remote Monitoring
DD (decimal degrees)
- Latitude: 14.166831559625782
- Longitude: 121.159258886911
DMS (degrees, minutes, seconds)
- Latitude: N 14° 10′ 0.594″
- Longitude: E 121° 9′ 33.331″
Use any GPS (Global Positioning System) software / applications to input the latitude and longitude coordinates to be able to remotely see the location of your trees planted. Some examples include:
Status of the Biogenic Food Forest (As of 22 Nov 2019)
About FOOD FORESTS with Bio-Intensive Gardens (BIG)
Working with the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) – FEED’s first and longest Living Legacy partner since the 1990’s, “Food Forests” is a term FEED coined to describe its agro-forestry based approach to tree planting and reforestation programs in the Philippines.
Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. This intentional combination of agriculture and forestry has varied benefits, including increased biodiversity and reduced erosion.
Whether in Public Elementary Schools or upland watersheds, downstream coastal and midland farms, FEED and its partners aim to “form progressive and productive communities where farming is harmonized with environmental conservation principles for sustained production of food, wood and provision of services through the use of sound agroforestry practices.” (Quote: Institute of Agroforestry, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, UPLB)
The “BIG” Challenge
As part of a total response to mitigate hunger and improve nutrition situation, the Department of Education (DepEd) institutionalized the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program (GPP a.k.a Vegetable for School program) in 2007. This program was further revitalized in 2010 with the National Greening Program, this time incorporating climate change mitigation and adaptation of components within school.
FEED’s adopted agro-forestry approach (guided by UPLB) in Food Forests and Bio-intensive Gardening (BIG) technology addresses problems earlier identified as hindering the effective introduction and maintenance of school gardens. These school based Food Forests aim to contribute to environmental and climate change protection, food security and nutritional needs of school children; strengthen their appreciation and skills in agriculture, forestry and environment; upgrade their parent’s knowledge in these fields, help conserve agro biodiversity of nutritional importance and eventually enhance transgenerational learning about the role of vegetable in family nutrition and health In schools. The goal is to enhance the school nutrition program by improving the availability and use of nutritionally relevant indigenous vegetables. In both poor rural and urban communities, community garden and backyard approach is promoted to enhance dietary diversity of households. (Source: IIRR)
FEED’s Food Forest program incorporates not only the site preparation and planting, but also a Training of Trainers (TOT) designed to provide local community / school leaders with technical inputs and experiences for School Gardens and Community Gardens, such that they are in turn able to retrain others.
The native tree species selection depends on the locality and ability to source relevant and indigenous Philippine fruit and other tree species from within the same province.
BIG is a biological (as opposed to chemical) form of agriculture in which a small area of land is intensively cultivated, using nature’s own ingredients to rebuild them and maintain the soil’s productivity.
Described as a low-external input approach, bio-intensive gardening (BIG) is widely being promoted in public elementary schools and communities. BIG provides simple solutions to the common issues in gardening. The training aims to facilitate establishment of school gardens that will serve as a spring board for wider promotion.
The TOT also aims to capacitate participants in implementing BIG in their respective communities and schools. Specifically, at the end of the training, the participants would have: (1) gained knowledge on basic concepts and practices of BIG and its link to nutrition; and (2) identified feasible actions to apply lessons learned.
About Biogenic Alcohol
It cleans, disinfects, acts as an antiseptic, an anti-bacterial and something that is sanitizing to your hands. With Biogenic Alcohol, you are not only clean, but germ-free!
*Related Articles (Prior plantings of Biogenic Alcohol with FEED)
- Saving Trees, Saves Bees: Biogenic Alcohol via Rakso “Lend-a-Hand” to Restore a Vital Part of Our Ecosystem 8 July 2017, Siniloan, Laguna – Sierra Madre Mountain Range. 1,020 Philippine indigenous trees* were planted by 48 volunteers from Biogenic Alcohol’s “Lend-a Hand” for a germ-free world campaign, including representatives from The Love Club and Biogenic partner Rakso CT…
- Biogenic’s 1,000 Native Philippine (Mangrove) Trees Topped-up by Hagonoy Mayor’s 1,000 Commitment 2 June 2018, Hagonoy, Bulacan. Thanks to Biogenic Alcohol, a leading brand of Cosmetique Asia Corporation in the Philippines, one thousand native Philippine mangrove trees were planted by 43 volunteers from Biogenic and Rakso CT – the marketing partner of Biogenic….
About Biogenic Alcohol
Cosmetique Asia Corporation, established in 2001, is guided by its founder, Mr. Alexander S. Co who has over 30 years of cosmetic retailing experience.
The company began with the introduction of its flagship brand – Silka Papaya Soap, its first venture in the cosmetic industry.
After the Silka Papaya line gained popularity and market share in the whitening soap category, Cosmetique Asia launched Juicy Cologne, the company’s first foray in the fragrance industry.
With the success of both the Silka and Juicy brands, Cosmetique Asia brings in a new category to its growing portfolio in 2014 – Biogenic Alcohol.
As the company continues to expand its product lines, Bambini is relaunched as its first endeavor in the baby category. Bambini Baby Cologne is introduced in 2016.
Today, Cosmetique Asia Corporation continuously innovates and develops products to address the needs of its consumers.
About RAKSO CT
Rakso CT is a digital solutions provider composed of both the young and the young-at-heart who like creating the inexistent and perfecting the imperfect.
Located in the heart of the bustling city of Makati, we are made capable to execute amazing digital marketing and advertising campaigns and services to our clients here and abroad.
What we do
An ad campaign lets you know more about a product. A story goes with you for the rest of your life.
Here at Rakso, we don’t just create campaigns – we tell stories.
We believe that we are one of the first dreamers of the digital age in the Philippines, as we have been fulfilling dreams since 2006.
For more, visit: https://www.raksoct.com/
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: https://youtu.be/KROn4rjVqBg
© Fostering Education & Environment for Development, Inc.