Farming hope: Creating sustainable food sources in fields and in backyards

Addressing the challenge of providing a healthy and sustainable food source for communities, SM Foundation continues to constantly improve and evolve its sustainable agriculture program Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmers’ Training.

As such, SM Foundation introduced its Urban Farming and Gardening Training course in 2015. Like the KSK program, it also aims to help promote food security as well as provide an extra form of livelihood for the participants but targets the marginalized sector in the urban setting.

Harbest Agribusiness, SM Foundation’s constant partner in its KSK programs, conducted the training. The project was envisioned to help teach the participants the concept of smart farming using the limited spaces or backyards of their households. The end objective was to bring nutritious food to every table of its participants.

Last year, SM Foundation’s last training of the year was held in Bagobantay, Quezon City, a short distance from SM North EDSA. The 12-week program taught the participants how to utilize space for backyard farming by using recycled containers as planting pots which can easily be replicated in their own backyards.

Crops that were grown during the training included lowland and upland vegetables and fruits such as bitter gourd, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, okra, radish, squash, sweet potato, tomato, watermelons and melons, to name a few.

A total of 467 individuals from Manila; Bacoor, Cavite; and Quezon City completed the training last year.
SM Foundation also continued to conduct its regular KSK trainings, effectively rolling out 17 trainings nationwide. The 12-week program teaches participants new and doable agricultural technology and methods through modular lectures and hands-on training on high-value crops. It also ingrains into them the importance of providing healthy and safe food for their own table.

Aside from agriculture training conducted by Harbest Agribusiness, SM Foundation also partners with the Department of Social Welfare and Development which conducts values formation and entrepreneurship trainings for the farmer-participants.

Including its Urban Farming and Gardening Training, SM Foundation has conducted a total of 20 KSK trainings benefitting 2,670 farmers and interested participants for 2015.

SM Foundation capped off the year by ending 2015 with its 100th KSK training. By end of 2015, the program was able to train a total of 12,750 farmers from 2,123 barangays in 551 municipalities and cities from various locations throughout the country.

In a steady phase, SM Foundation continues to strengthen its initiatives to support its goal of enabling people to attain food security in the various communities it serves.