MANILA, Philippines — Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is converting portions of its head office in Ortigas into small urban farms to help build self-sufficiency among its support staff.
In a statement, SMC said interested employees and workers doing support jobs would be given a plot of land which will be dubbed as SMC’s “Malasakit Garden” for them to use as a space to grow whatever produce they like.
Employees can opt to bring home their harvest or to sell these for a profit at a small Malasakit Garden Farmers market stall to be set up at the complex.
“In this time of pandemic, many Filipinos are looking for ways to earn extra income or at the very least make sure they have sufficient supply of food,” SMC president Ramon Ang said.
“Realizing the importance of food security, many are also exploring growing their own food. That is why we thought of this simple project to help our maintenance workers, as well as our own employees,”he added.
Ang said the company partnered with non-profit organization SEED Philippines for the project, which will teach SMC’s support staff about urban farming.
“With this, we hope the Malasakit Garden can augment healthy food supply for some of our workers or serve as an additional source of income,” Ang said.
“Our hope is that they can really grow to like planting, they can hone their skills, and it becomes a practical life skill for them,” he said, adding that many support workers actually grew up in the province and know how to plant, except there is no land for them to do it here in the city,” he said.
SEED’s advocacy is to help eradicate poverty in low-income families through specialized programs on agri-entrepreneurship.
The group teaches organic vegetable production, soil management, planting materials production, and pest and disease management.
The non-profit organization will also be serving as mentors during the early stages of the project.
He said the project also aims to encourage more businesses to transform urban spaces into functioning ecological spaces and help agriculture flourish.
“The land is available and good for planting. It doesn’t take so much to try and help people, especially those who help us do our work everyday,” Ang said.
Article and Photo originally posted by Philippine Star last March 2, 2021 12:00am and written by Catherine Talavera.