THE National Nutrition Council (NNC) is campaigning to make food gardening a way of life for this year’s Nutrition Month.
Gladys Mae Fernandez, nutrition program coordinator of NNC-Northern Mindanao, said this campaign aims to contribute to improved nutrition by increasing the number of households, schools, and communities engaged in food gardens.
Fernandez said food gardening prevents micronutrient deficiency, provides a diverse diet, reduces food insecurity, and increases consumption of fruits and vegetables.
According to NNC-Northern Mindanao, seven out of 10 households practice food gardening at home. About 79.1percentof households with home gardens utilize their produce for personal consumption, while only 17.6 percent consume and sell their produce.
Fernandez said food gardening in households not only improves one’s nutritional status, but it also has health benefits.
“It reduces depression, anxiety, and body mass index, physical activity levels as well as increases in life satisfaction, vigor, psychological well-being, sense of community, and cognitive function,” she said.
To promote gardening in homes, the City Government has launched the urban container gardening program in an aim to combat the rising problem of malnutrition, poverty, and high drop-out rates among school-age children in the city. Impoverished families in at-risk communities are taught to feed themselves by planting their own vegetables with their own, sometimes limited, space.
The City has incorporated the program to families of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and was used as cash-for-work program of the Marawi internally displaced persons.
Joseph Borja, City Agriculture Office’s urban agriculture coordinator, said they are promoting container gardening, particularly in Barangays 1-40, but this year, the program has already reached Barangays Consolacion, Nazareth, and Macabalan where malnutrition is prevalent.
“Among gatutukan nga ang families na naay children especially tong children nga identified as malnourished, especially sa Macabalan isa sa among gatutokan nga area,” he said.
“Although ang malnutrition situation in the city has greatly improved, we really want to zero in the number of malnourished kids in the city, ingon si Mayor Moreno, kung mahimo unta before his term ends, there will be no more malnourished kids in Cagayan de Oro,” he added.