To promote crop diversification and improve the sufficiency of supply of seeds and seedlings among school gardens, the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) conducted the Seed Production Training for Crop Museums for Quezon Cluster in North Palale Elementary School, Tayabas City on Febraury 23.

With Quezon Cluster composed of three schools divisions namely Quezon Province, Lucena City and Tayabas City, IIRR Staff and Tayabas City Schools Division Superintendent Catherine P. Talavera coordinated to make North Palale as one of the Lighthouse schools in CALABARZON.

The 60 designated Gulayan sa Paaralan Program (GPP) coordinators of the select crop museum schools including the 4 Lighthouse Schools in Quezon Cluster and the EPS in TLE/Agriculture were the participants of the training.

Louie L. Fulledo, the EPS in charge of GPP explained the difference and complementary description of a lighthouse and a crop museum. He said that Lighthouse Schools are the implementers of integrated school nutrition model that promote the school feeding program, bio-intensive gardening and nutrition education while crop museums function as schools propagating vegetables and seeds and sharing them to other schools across the division.

Abner Zubieta, the City Agriculturist representing the City Mayor commended the participants’ attendance and assured the full support and cooperation of the Office of the City Agriculturist for the efforts of the IIRR and the Department of Education in institutionalizing the GPP in all schools in the region.

The IIRR team asserted that for the success of the implementation of the GPP under Integrated School Nutrition Model through International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) and to facilitate the scaling up of diversification and sustainability of school gardens in CALABARZON, it is necessary that crop museums in all schools be established to serve as laboratory and focal point for saving crop varieties. This is a garden where teachers, students and community members can view diverse range of nutritionally relevant and climate hardy vegetables. These can include trees, shrubs, root and tuber crops, vines, and short-season annual crops.

To improve Crop Museums in all schools across the region, Kirstein Itliong from IIRR facilitated the expectations of the participants. She also discussed the overview of the Integrated School Nutrition Model and the presentation of crop museums specifically their roles and their responsibilities.

Ronnie De Castro, the IIRR convenor facilitated the presentation on indigenous vegetables and their nutritional value. He also explicitly demonstrated and guided the hands-on activity on seed processing and the important things to remember in the selection of good seeds to be planted in the school bio-intensive gardens.

Ian Kurt, the IIRR staff facilitated the action planning development, the seed exchange activity of the participants and the project evaluation of all Lighthouse schools. Kurt reminded the participants that the implementation of their action plans would be closely monitored and evaluated by the division GPP focal persons.

This activity is in line with the DepEd Memorandum No. 223, s. 2016 and the Regional Memorandum No. 446 s. 2017, encouraging the adoption of Crop Museums in the whole CALABARZON Region.