THE City Agriculture’s Office (CAO) plans to refurbish their rooftop garden to be a more ideal organic agri-tourism destination.

The 250-square meter (sqm) roof deck garden, located on the roof deck of the City Agriculture’s Office building along Pichon St., was first launched December of 2016. During the launching, invited guests saw the different organic vegetables, herbs, and spices grown in the garden.

During an interview with CAO head Leo Brian Leuterio, they target the refurbished rooftop garden to look like a homestead. Within the 250-sqm total area of the rooftop garden, they are going to allot a 50-sqm space intended for a specialized homestead, which Leuterio said will hopefully create the impression to the visitors that urban gardening is doable and that space is not a limitation to do gardening.

“Right now, the vegetables and other plants are still there. As a matter of fact, we are scheduled to harvest lettuce anytime soon. Maybe we’ll just triple the lushness of the garden. We’ll put texture of agri-tourism potential,” he said.

As a start, visiting representatives of local government units (LGUs) in the country have visited the roof deck garden such as LGUs of Marinduque, Negros, and Leyte. Since its launch, Leuterio said the garden had already been visited by five to 10 different LGUs.

“They were very impressed especially because it’s not always available in all places. We like it to be very pretty and hopefully be a model to other LGUs that they will copy it in their respective cities and provinces,” he added.

To strengthen its pull towards the agri-tourism direction, Leuterio said they are also thinking of planting ‘thematic plants’ that will best fit the season. He cited as an example their plan to pre-schedule crops that they would plant so its harvest time would align with Kadayawan Festival.

“For Valentine’s Day, example, there should be a lot of red. By the next summer, maybe, we could add a few sunflowers. But it the plan is it should cadence together with our festivities such as Araw ng Dabaw and Kadayawan Festival, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day,” he said.

Despite their push for a better agri-tourism component of the roof deck garden, Leuterio said they still make sure and see to it that its organic component is sustained. The CAO’s organic experts, he said are the ones monitoring the processes and making sure the crops stay organic. The roof deck garden produces its own soil in their seed box area, vermiculture, organic pesticides, and organic pesticides.

“With these, our capacities are really solid. It’s really like producing model gardens at this time,” said Leuterio.

“We cannot just tell everybody to do have organic urban gardens at home when we don’t have it here. That’s why we have this model gardens so show to them that it’s doable even with limited space,” he added.