School, urban farming pushed

Camille Villar
Las Piñas lone District Rep. Camille Villar.

A NEOPHYTE solon is pushing for school and urban farming amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Las Pinas City Rep. Camille Villar's pending House Bill 6492 seeks to Institutionalize the Gulayan sa Paaralan.

Villar is encouraging students to do planting even in their backyards at home.

To date more people are encouraged to grow their own gardens in the light of the pandemic.

Under the bill, Villar is proposing schools set up their own backyard farms.

"It is important to introduce the concept of cultivating their own campus farms inside schools to students at a very young age as more people are shifting to a new normal in this time of pandemic,"Villar said.

Once enacted, local governments are mandated to grant incentives for urban agriculture efforts in their areas, while tax perks await private individual and private corporationstht will provide grants, endowments, donations or contributions and technical assistance to schools for the promotion of school gardens.

School gardens are important to cushion the impacts of COVID-19 while harvesting nutritious food especially in urban areas, Villar added.

"Kapag umuwi sila ng bahay, 'yung mga pinagtabasang gulay tulad ng kangkong, alugbati at iba pa maaari nilang itanim," Villar added.

The concepts of urban agriculture and vertical farming will be integrated in the curriculum of both public and private educational institutions.

Villar noted that school gardens are also an important tool to motivate kids and stimulate learning in classrooms. Researchers noted "numerous positive effects" of garden-based learning among students compared with those without campus gardens, she added.

The Department of Education has reset the school calendarto  August 2020 to April 2021.