Edible landscaping a food safety solution

The edible garden inside the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus also looks like a typical garden, except that it is also planted with vegetables. UPLB PHOTO

EXPERTS from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) on Wednesday highlighted the potential of edible landscaping to help the country achieve food security amid the pandemic.

Speaking at the Manila Times forum titled “Plantastic: Sustainable Gardening for Home and Business,” professors from the UPLB-College of Agriculture and Food Science (CAFS) discussed the huge potential of landscaping edible landscaping, which primarily involves the use of innovative food production and landscaping technologies. produce a targeted food supply.

Edible landscaping is growing in importance as rising food prices, food nutrition and food security remain major pressing issues today, said Fernando Sanchez Jr., professor and unit project leader UPLB-CAFS edible landscaping program. Currently, about two out of three Filipino households experience food insecurity, he cited.

Sanchez said edible landscaping aims to achieve the four goals of aesthetics, functionality, health and wellness, and self-sufficiency. “With edible landscaping, we can establish attractive and functional spaces.”

He cited an edible technology demonstration garden on the UPLB campus and a school classroom garden in Pilar, Laguna as some of the edible landscaping success stories.

“Through edible landscaping, we can also promote health and well-being across generations. We can start [teaching] our children to help grow plants and eat vegetables and seniors can find time to do edible landscaping instead of watching Netflix or they can teach their [grandchildren] how to grow plants as a healthy hobby for young and old,” Sanchez explained.

Based on a 2019 Expanded National Nutrition Survey from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute’s Department of Science and Technology, there has been a substantial increase in vegetable consumption among Filipino adults, regardless of household income. Meanwhile, a World Health Organization study found that adults should consume at least 400 grams of vegetables, excluding potatoes, tubers and starchy foods, to reduce the risk of non-healthy diseases. transmissible diseases and help ensure an adequate daily intake of dietary fibre.

For nearly 30 years, the Philippines has suffered from undernutrition, Sanchez lamented, and “there has been virtually no improvement in the prevalence of undernutrition in our country.” Citing the World Bank, Sanchez also noted that one in three children under the age of 5 are stunted or short for their age.

ways and how

During the forum, Bryan Apacionado, assistant professor at the UPLB-CAFS Institute of Crop Sciences, discussed the process of edible landscaping – design, implementation and maintenance.

First, he said landscapers should identify their desired “softscapes” or the plants they want to grow in their spaces with edible plants in mind. While planters can include ornamentals, Apacionado reminded them to follow the 70-30 rule – 70% edible and 30% ornamental. “They should be nutritious because that’s what we feed our family.”

Next, one must identify the “hardscapes”, which are the non-living components of the landscape or garden, according to Apasionado. This can include aisles, benches and tables, among others.

Second, he mentioned the crucial process of analyzing its landscape area and identifying its biophysical and microclimatic conditions. “Normally we have pinakbet vegetables in hot areas and chop suey vegetables in cold areas.”

Next comes drawing and design, which should be guided by the principles and elements of design – shapes, colors, lines and texture, balance, contrast, proportions, emphasis and harmony, listed by Apacionado.

“Here we need to know how we combine plants to create a more interesting landscape…so that we can create an edible garden that not only fills our stomachs but also makes our eyes wonder and enjoy,” he explained. .

Tips and tricks

Meanwhile, Ryan Rodrigo Tayobong, Technical Staff and Assistant Professor at UPLB, shared some plant care tips and tricks that landscapers, especially beginners, can follow, as he noted that “we want to always plant but sometimes we lack experience and also lack of confidence”. on how to manage the plants in our garden.”

Some tips include practicing crop rotation and creating a crop schedule to reduce pests among plants and restore soil fertility.

He also mentioned the importance of setting up a vermicomposting pit and a rainwater collector.

“It is also important to consider the durability [and] continuity of the maintenance of your garden. And it is very important not only to plan the design of your garden for cultivation, but also to design a space or your source of fertilizer and other compost,” he added.

To achieve relevant goals of edible landscaping, Sanchez said the UPLB team worked proactively with different sectors, community and private organizations, and government agencies. Currently, the team is distributing edible landscape starter kits that they developed in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture-Office of Agricultural Research as the funding agency.

Comments are closed.