IT'S long overdue, but, we're glad this finally took form: the Davao City Urban Garden Program.

Last week, the Davao City Agriculturist's Office (CAO) launched the urban container garden program at the rooftop of the Davao City Hall Annex Building along Magallanes Street, a month after the rooftop was made into a vegetable garden using containers.

"Ang idea is gamay na luna maka-produce ug food (The main idea is that you can produce food in a small plot of land)," CAO officer-in-charge Leo Brian Leuterio said.

With just a 50 square meter lot, he said, one family can have an estimated P10,000 worth of vegetables a month. Now, a family does not need P10,000 worth of vegetables, meaning, they can produce all that they need in an even smaller lot.

That the vegetable garden was built on the rooftop shows people that you do not need to have a plot of uncovered earth in your front or backyard, containers will be enough to raise the vegetables you need. For as long as you have a space on your balkon or backyard or frontyard or garage that the sun shines on, then you are all set to go.

We do not need to look far to learn how it's done. The CAO will be very willing to help. Moreso, the man that has been advocating urban gardening: Perfecto "Jojo" Rom Jr., a Dabawenyo who has made his middle-class subdivision house into a "farm", including a tiny pond where he raises pangasius (cream dory), the space surrounding their home providing all that they need for their food.

Rom has been tapped by other local governments soon after typhoon Ondoy devastated Metro Manila. There he taught urban container gardening to help achieve food self-sufficiency. One of his pilot projects in San Mateo, Rizal not only helped families cope, it later became a livelihood for many locals.

Rom has since been tapped as consultant for the recovery of disaster affected communities - in 2011 for tropical storm "Sendong" survivors in Cagayan de Oro, in 2012 for Super Typhoon Pablo Survivors in Davao Oriental, and in 2013 for Super Typhoon Yolanda survivors in Leyte.

Rom has been showing the way, and the CAO has adapted this. There is absolutely no reason at all why families who need to provide for their children should not follow suit. We can all plant our food needs and be healthier because we did.