Bio-Intensive Gardening (Philippines)


[Music]
>>Narrator: The world today faces many great challenges.
We need to more than just survive. We need to ensure a habitable planet for our
children and our children’s children. Never before has the human race produced so
much food so efficiently. But massive inequity remains in the distribution
of our food supply. About 25,000 people die every day of hunger.
Excessive and indiscriminate use of pesticides and petro-chemical fertilizers has poisoned
our land and waters. Are these same chemicals slowly but surely
poisoning us? There is a massive relentless production
but who gives thought to managing the waste generated by our economic activities? Climate change looms over us,
but we persist in our polluting ways. Why do we not adopt eco-friendly alternatives?
And there is the ancient struggle against the lack of health, the lack of education,
and the seeming absence of opportunities for millions to transcend poverty.>>Julian Gonsalves: Most people are aware
of some of the environmental problems associated with our systems of agriculture today. One of the good things about the level of
knowledge today is that we already know how to solve most of the problems of food security
and environmental degradation I don’t think we have a shortage of knowledge.
What we need are people willing to apply what is already known to produce food in a sustainable
way and an environmentally sound way. The solutions are there.
Most often the solutions are very simple, very easy to apply.
Bio-Intensive Gardens are one way. Generally, it is an issue of application of
knowledge. [Music] The key concept is having a narrow bed and
a raised bed. So this allows the soil to be kept very deep
as you can see here. You don’t have to dig a plot again and again
you just dig it once and then the plants do the digging for themselves. And over here you see the source of nutrients.
Any leguminous plant can be used as a fertilizer and this particular system is of special relevance
to urban areas as well.>>Marise Espinelli: Bio-Intensive Gardening
(BIG) was packaged by IIRR out of many traditional gardening practices biased towards more organic
and sustainable agriculture. It was a product of 30 years of research and on the ground
practice.>>Narrator: Bio-Intensive Gardening has been
practiced across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Bio-Intensive Approach offers sustainable
solutions if practiced by more and more farms, communities, households, it can help address
issues of food insecurity, malnutrition, environmental degradation and climate change. In 1980, IIRR’s Bio-Intensive Approach contributed
significantly towards reducing hunger and poverty among displaced families of sugar
cane workers in the province of Negros Occidental. And it endures today.
The Sisters of Mary School in Silang, Cavite, catering to 2,000
youth in Luzon, adopted Bio-Intensive Gardening to rehabilitate the soil on their 5 hectare
property. Taking the first step toward self-reliance, food security, and better nutrition for their
students. [Translated Section] At present the farm generates a significant
income for SOM (Sisters of Mary) in the form of savings in food costs and garbage hauling
fees and a long-term benefit in the restoration of this once depleted soil. [Translated Section]>>Dominic Benavente: In June and July we had
all the plants in the soil, they started bearing fruits and within just 2 months, 1,590 Kg
of produce we came up with.>>Narrator: In time, as they continue to apply
the principles of the Bio-Intensive Approach, the farm will have the capacity to sustain
all of their kitchen requirements and this will cut 2.4 Million pesos of their food expenses
each year. [Music] [Translated Section]>>Julian Gonsalves: We are really interested
to be able to influence their thinking about their environment.
Gardens have always been a very powerful device to influence young people about basic environmental
and natural resource concepts. There is a tremendous opportunity offered
by gardens for purposes of conserving our traditional varieties. By growing indigenous
vegetables in a bio-intensive garden you’re actually conserving these varieties for future
generations.>>Narrator: IIRR has successfully developed
a high school level curriculum that teaches the principles and methods of bio-intensive
gardening. In doing this, we can reach a wider audience and credibly teach Bio-Intensive
Gardening to more and more young people.>>Dominic Benavente: Through this project,
students will learn that when they take care of nature, nature will take care of them.>>Narrator: Bio-Intensive Gardening can support
the nutritional needs of both rural and urban families, assure food security, and can serve
as their source of income.>>Julian Gonsalves: The big problem today
is increasing urbanization. People are moving to the cities for work or they’re driven because
of climate change issues or because of issues centered around acquisition of land. One of
the things that has not yet been tested or developed enough in the Philippines for example,
or other asian countries, is the concept of community gardens. Where a small area of land,
say 1,000-2,000 sq meters is sub-divided into small plots and allocated to urban families
so they can garden in small plots of no more than 100 sq meters each, ideally 50 sq meters
each. Now here’s where gardens can make a difference, for people who are internally
displaced, for people who have had to move out for 15-20 years. You know the problem with Bio-Intensive Gardening,
it’s just so simple that nobody pays attention to it. They don’t realize the value of it.
I think it’s an issue of how to get people to appreciate how important is Bio-Intensive
Gardening.>>Narrator: Supporting the expansion of Bio-Intensive
Gardening and other sustainable agriculture projects contributes not only to the livelihood
and food sufficiency of poor communities, but also mitigates the impacts of climate
change.

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