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Cultivar en la Agua: Signalling Modern Urban Gardening

by: Rtr. Ma. Theresa Lanelle C. Bañez

Rotaract Club of Zamboanga City West

As our environment is slowly being devoured by the transitions under the manipulation of humans and the society, the call for resiliency and unity are urgent factors to combat the challenges brought before us. The call of the pandemic signaled the club to dominate the idea of endorsing an innovative and cost-efficient way to address the season’s invitation: the hydroponics gardening.

The Siembra PAZ: Peace through Agricultural and Communal Farming in Zamboanga of the Rotaract Club of Zamboanga City West introduces a new phase of impact in the context of soil-cured plantation to the society, especially to the recipients of the project ─ the Association of Tulungatung Innovative Women (ATIWA) farmers.

It had been seven years when Zamboanga City suffered from the 2013 siege, and Barangay Tulungatung held home to 500 residents who were originally from the coastal areas that relied on the seas for their livelihood. This initially posed a challenge since the area is upland-agricultural and far from their previous main source of livelihood.

Elevating the practice in gardening, RCZW, together with the Kids Who Farm (KWF), had piloted the Cultivar en la Agua: A Hydroponics Sustainable Way to Gardening which was inspired by the inauguration of the Siembra PAZ as club’s pledge and pact of sustainability to the women farmers from the 2020 Edison Ong National (EON) Awards of the Rotary Club of Manila Magic.

The project aims to introduce modern effective urban agriculture technology and promote gardening using hydroponics. Primarily, the materials utilized were grapes styro, styro cups, bio-organic coco peat, nutrient solutions, UV plastic, and garbage bags.

The preparation of the UV shed and other materials had taken the club 15 days to establish before the ATIWA farmers were trained about the hydroponics technology. After the installation of the modern farming technology, the club looked forward to fruitful production of the variants of lettuce─the most prominent farming specie planted ─ for 30 days and market the harvest. Fifteen percent of the proceeds will be used as funding for other gardening projects in different existing communities, while the remaining income is managed by the farmers.

With the successful implementation, the project gained international recognition as it bagged the the Rotaract Outstanding Project Award (ROPA) 2021 for the Asia Pacific Region. The outcome of this citation had solely reflected how the club has delicately conceptualized the sustainability and effects of this modern gardening after its installation.

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