“We welcome you all sa inyong pagbabalik sa inyong Mother Division,” SDS Josilyn S. Solana  said as she welcomed the four city divisions in the province of Laguna consisting of Biñan City, Santa Rosa City, Calamba City, and San Pablo City during the first Province-wide Inter-School Garden Visitation last November 9.

The activity was part of the implementation of the Integrated School Nutrition Model (ISNM) which aims to serve as a benchmark in establishing a school garden in adhering to the concept of organic/ nature gardening.

Education Program Supervisor in TLE, Division School Feeding Coordinators, school heads of the lighthouse schools, and the agriculture teachers of all pilot schools in Laguna Clusters visited four schools’ “Gulayan sa Paaralan” (GPP)   in Laguna.

These schools were the Labuin Elementary School in Pila District, Bagumbayan Elementary School in Santa Cruz District, Majayjay Elementary School in Magdalena/ Majayjay District, and Casimiro Guysayco MES in Nagcarlan/ Rizal District. After each visit, the group also conducted seeds exchange and shared their learning through group synthesis.

According to Dr. Solana, the activity will support the intellectual capacity of pupils by providing them nutritious meals by utilizing the indigenous vegetables in the school garden. Solana further expressed her appreciation for the activity and the sustainable partnership between International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), and the Department of Education Region IV-A .

“It answers one of the 10-point agenda of the department and [we’re] hoping for more partnerships like this,” she added.

Irish P. Baguilat, Program Manager of Food Security and Nutrition International Institute of Rural Reconstruction also emphasized the importance of popularizing the utilization of indigenous vegetables in schools and homes.

 “The use of indigenous vegetables provides significant insurance against pest due to their diversity, inherent hardiness, and pest tolerance. It also ensures that the valuable heritage of humankind is conserved for future generations,” Baguilat explained.

The said activity also aimed to strengthen the links between GPP, nutrition education and school feeding program.

Dr. Edwina C. Nabo
EPS-TLE, DepEd-Santa Rosa City