Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Youth Blitz campaigns for Urban and Home Gardening

Wazzup Pilipinas!

On June 2020, The Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition (SKC Philippines), a nonpartisan, non-governmental organization and a national consortium of youth organizations aimed at amplifying youth voices in the Philippines, together with 24 Partner-Organizations all around the Philippines have launched an online campaign for Urban and Home Gardening titled “Youth Gardening Blitz” as part of the Philippine Environment Month.

The online campaign is in support of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Agriculture (DA)’s pre-existing efforts. It is the second annual inception of SKC Philippines’s National Tree Planting Blitz which planted more than 24,000 trees in its first installment on June 2019 but due to limited mobility and restricted public gathering brought by numerous quarantine and lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the main environmental consciousness campaign of SKC Philippines has moved online with relevant modifications such as a mental health advocacy component.

#YouthGardeningBlitzPH took form in two parts: 

1. Through information dissemination on environmental consciousness and how gardening can help alleviate mental health suffering especially in the middle of a pandemic that is continuous beyond June 2020 until the next inception of an environmental blitz campaign; and 

2. A month-long online contest for June 2020 whereby it engaged young people into urban/home gardening by encouraging them to showcase their creativity in developing innovative ideas on upcycling/reusing household materials in their gardening activities which were shared through social media.

The online contest was joined by many participants who submitted their garden entries but only three stood out from the rest due to creativity on their photoshoots and captioning, clarity of narration on how gardening has helped them get through on this COVID-19 Pandemic, faithful adherence to the provided mechanics such as the usage of official hashtags in post captioning, and concise description of what and how the materials are used in a ‘do-it-yourself’ manner, especially if recycling or upcycling are practiced. On July 2nd of 2020, SKC Philippines announced three winners from the month-long online contest.

Top 3 goes to Vanessa Joy Dela Cruz of Aklan province where she wittingly described the process of gardening like having a “jowa” or to care for a significant other with love and passion. She also provided a realization “that farming is the most essential in this world” by having an impactful opening providing a quote saying “Imagine a day without a farmer.” especially in the middle of various forms of community quarantines and lockdowns, amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic where it is most recommendable to be self-sustaining through edible gardening to keep ourselves at home where it is safer and more secured from local virus transmissions.

Meanwhile, Top 2 goes to Jake Flores of Ilocos Sur province where he shared how tedious he has been tending to his indoor garden located in his bedroom by checking his plants “one by one, leaf by leaf, stem by stem and watch every progress they make”, as he said. He also provided that he used recycled materials for his indoor garden by using a scrap wood plank, and a PVC pipe. He has indeed not only surrounded himself by people who make him happy but also by plants! He has provided the benefits of gardening that has done to his mental health by boosting his mood during this COVID-19 Pandemic. He then ends his post by encouraging people by giving an “effort to make ourselves to be more productive and creative”. He then continued by saying that effort shows you are interested and that by looking after plants, we can reap all of its rewards.

Lastly, but not least, Top 1 goes to Neljoy Nobleza Galigao of Capiz province. She began her submission by providing a quote from Wendell Berry saying “The Earth is what we all have in common.”, she has narrated well how the COVID-19 Pandemic brought devastation and distress that can influence the mental health of each one of us. She provided information on how SKC Philippines’s environmental and mental health advocacies through the Youth Gardening Blitz was timely and relevant to both World Environment Day which is celebrated on June 5th of every year, and the coinciding Philippine Environment Month as it isgiven force under Proclamation No. 237 signed by then-President Corazon Aquino on April 4th of 1988 which highlights the government’s advocacy to spread environmental consciousness among Filipinos.

She then provided each one of her plants with bits of information such as their common names and even their scientific names, these include Cucumber also known as Cucumis Sativus, Pole Sitao which is also known as Vigna unquiculata subsp. Sesquipedales (L.) Verdc., Mango with a scientific name of Mangifera indica, Rambutan that is known in its scientific name as Nephelium lappaceum, Guava which is known scientifically as Psidium guajava, Gmelina Tree which is also known as Gmelina Arborea, Ampalaya which is also known scientifically as Momordica charantia, Eggplant also is scientifically known as Solanum melangena, and Mung beans with a scientific name of Vigna radiata. She ended her submission by saying that it is better to plant a tree and be productive than by pondering on negative possibilities, which means that gardening has helped her keep distracted from the dire effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The online campaign is done with warm support from these 24 organizations as partners:

1. Akeanon - Aklanon sa West Organization
2. Abra Youth Organizations Society
3. Interact Club of Zamboanga City West
4. Kids Who Farm
5. Online SDG Youth Action Forum
6. Rotaract Club of Fort Bonifacio Global City, District 3830
7. Rotaract Club of Zamboanga City West
8. Rotaract Club of Rizal Centro
9. Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu, Cebu
10. Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay Barangobong, Villasis, Pangasinan
11. YouthResist
12. 2030 Youth Force in the Philippines Inc.
13. Interact Club of La Consolacion College- Metro Bacolod
14. Interact Club of Negros Occidental High School-Metro Bacolod
15. Lacub Organization for Unity and Development - LOUD
16. Rotaract Club of Metro Bacolod - Community Based
17. Rotaract Club of University of St. La Salle - Metro Bacolod
18. Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay Tinajeros, Malabon City
19. Buhangin Stake Primary Organization - TCJCLDS
20. Youth for Mental Health Coalition, Inc.
21. Pangasinan Youth for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
23. Rotaract Club of Miraculous Medal - Sucat
24. Youlead Initiative

Gardening has been seen to have positive effects on mental health according to numerous studies. It can reduce the risks of depression, anxiety, stress, and mood disturbance. It also leads to increases in quality of life, sense of community, physical activity levels, and cognitive function. It is given evidence through the numerous submissions to the Youth Gardening Blitz online contest especially by the Top 3 winners as provided above. With numerous quarantine and lockdown measures being put in place in reaction to the COVID-19 Pandemic that has led to many restrictions on many of the regular social routines that people are used to such as physical socialization and other activities, tending a small garden while locked up at home can alleviate mental health sufferings.

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  1. It is really cool, that such events exists! We can make our planet more green

  2. That's the truth! I'm a big fan of different plants and I started to plant my own garden. I believe that it would be pretty big after some years. Can you share what type of grow lights do you use? I would be very thankful if you can give a tip. I've already found this website, check it out. Is it a good decision?


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