Ganahan gyud mokaon akong mga anak og gulay mao nga nakatabang ang Garden Tower sa among pangsud-an (My children really like to eat vegetables; that’s why the Garden Tower helped in providing our viand),” said Geralyn Rosales, a 4Ps beneficiary from Barangay Logon, Daanbantayan, Cebu.

Geralyn Rosales tends to her garden tower where she planted kangkong and eggplant.

As a housewife and a mother of three (3) children, she makes sure to provide nutritious food for her family. Despite the meager income of her husband, who works as a helper, Geralyn tries her best to manage the income that is intended to purchase for their basic needs like food.

Nalipay ko nga naapil kami sa programa kay nakatabang kini sa among income. Galisud gyud mi sa una kay miski unsa pa among paningkamot, dili gihapon igo nga makakompleto sa mga panginahanglanon sa among pamilya. Ang gamay nga sweldo sa akong bana kay magamit ra gyud sa pang-adlaw adlaw nga pangkonsumo ug wala nay mahabilin pa (I am happy to be part of the program because it augmented our income. We really had difficulty before because despite our efforts in working hard, the income could not suffice the complete needs of the family. The meager income of my husband would just all be used for the daily food consumption and nothing would be left),” shared Geralyn.

The family of Geralyn became part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) in 2023 under Set 12 of beneficiaries. She now receives a conditional cash transfer from the government under the health and education grant as well as a monthly rice subsidy.

Another intervention from the private sector would help Geralyn’s family address food security through a garden tower.

USANA’s Garden Tower

Started in the first quarter of 2024, the USANA Foundation brought their vertical gardens to Barangay Logon, an island barangay in Daanbantayan, located in the northernmost part of the province of Cebu, which will be used to provide sustainable and nutritious food for poor households, just like the family of Geralyn.

Camille Anne Ang, a USANA Foundation Ambassador in the Philippines, was instrumental in bringing the Garden Tower to the island.

Camille Ang, a USANA Foundation Ambassador in the Philippines, proudly shows the garden tower that she brought to the island in order to address food sustainability.

“We started with five (5) garden towers as a pilot project in the northern part of the island and decided that this would benefit more households, so we put more, which reached a hundred towers by March 2024,” said Camille.

Camille frequently visits the island as a scuba diver. The island barangay is popularly known as Malapascua, which is known as a world-class diving site teeming with reefs and marine life, especially with thresher sharks.

As Camille falls in love with island life, she has also seen the situations of the locals in the community, in which livelihoods are primarily dependent on tourism and fishing.

She then decided to bring the garden tower, one of the many civic community projects of the USANA Foundation, to the island, as it would benefit many poor households in addressing food sustainability.

The Garden Towers initiative of the USANA Foundation helped families across the world, including Kenya, Mexico, Uganda, Colombia, and Thailand.

“We collaborated with the barangay in identifying the recipients, and the barangay chairman suggested partnering with the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, or 4Ps. From there, we met with the 4Ps Municipal Links and selected who among the more than 500 4Ps beneficiaries on the island will become the recipient of the initial 200 Garden Towers,” shared Camille.

After identifying the 200 recipients, the USANA Foundation sent materials to the island for building their own garden tower consisting of black soil, loam soil, rice hulls, fertilizer, mesh sacks, and seedlings.

Measuring a mere three (3) feet in diameter, they take up barely any room, which is ideal for families who have little to no access to land. The garden tower can hold up to 120 plants and could last for up to five (5) years.

Together with the 4Ps partner beneficiaries, USANA associates, and DSWD staff, they helped in creating the garden towers that would, in return, help 4Ps families have an accessible food source, especially on the island where there is no sufficient fertile soil.

This project hopes to address food sustainability and lessen food insecurity. Kung wala sila makuha nga isda sa dagat panahon nga tingbagyo ug ang ilang trabaho diri sa mga resort maapektuhan tungod kay off-peak season, bahala wala kaayo sila kita, magamit gyud ang mga utan sa garden tower alang sa ilang pangsud-an (If they cannot catch a fish during typhoon season and if their work in the resort will be affected during off-peak season, even though they do not have much income, the vegetables in the garden tower can be used as their viand),” added Camille.

The USANA garden tower aims to support the 4Ps Gulayan sa Barangay that encourage 4Ps families to implement backyard gardening and communal gardening that will eventually promote food production at the household and community level and ensure provision and access to fresh, organically produced, and nutritionally rich food, especially for the children, which is essential for their growth and development. ###

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