COMMUNAL GARDEN. Field validators from various government agencies visit a communal garden in Currimao, Ilocos Norte on Jan. 20, 2023. Ilocos Norte is promoting the establishment of vegetable gardens to help boost food security in the province. (PNA photo by Leilanie Adriano) 

LAOAG CITY – The province of Ilocos Norte is taking its “Gulayan sa Barangay” to the next level as each village attempts to produce its own organically-grown food.

ABC president Elmer Faylogna on Monday said the establishment of a community garden in every barangay aims to promote organic gardening and a healthy lifestyle while helping the country achieve food security.

“We are enhancing our community gardens in support of the government’s effort to become a food-secure Philippines,” he said in an interview.

In support of the barangays, the Ilocos Norte government continues to distribute vegetable seeds, insect repellents and organic fertilizers.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is also offering free courses on organic crop production while enjoining out-of-school youth, including housewives and marginalized earners to learn new ways to produce organic fruits and vegetables.

In Currimao town, the local government unit is also spearheading an annual clean and green contest among its villages wherein they set up their own communal garden.

Whatever is produced in the communal garden is shared to the community while anything surplus is sold to the market.

As the cleanest and greenest barangay and a hall of fame awardee this year, Lang-ayan village chief Gemma Fernando said she is thankful to the all-out support of her constituents for keeping their village clean and healthy.

Lang-ayan is among the largest barangay in Currimao town. Fernando said they take advantage of their idle lots planted with papaya and along the streets with malunggay (Moringa oleifera) where anyone in the barangay can harvest it for free.

At one time, the local government unit entered into a memorandum of agreement with a fruit and vegetable company where they sell their produce to them.

"With the increasing prices of basic commodities, it's a big help for us in the barangay that we inspire each other to produce our own food. It's healthy because we grow it organic through vermiculture," said Fernando. (PNA)