Hope in farming takes root in urban communities

SM Foundation marks graduation of Urban Gardeners

Some of the KSK farmers in Manila harvest the vegetables in SM City San Lazaro’s urban garden.

The once niche practice of urban gardening is now gaining ground in various cities across the country through SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) on Sustainable Agriculture Program.

Through the program, SM Foundation has successfully trained 27 farmers in SM City Urdaneta Central and 19 others in SM City San Lazaro on Urban Gardening. For weeks, the farmers cultivated vegetables in the midst of city spaces—from SM Supermalls’ own rooftops to community plots. 

In addition to the comprehensive lectures on farming in an urban landscape, SM foundation and its partner schools included topics on the basics of entrepreneurship and principles of SM group founder Henry Sy, Sr.  These were done to empower them to take control of their livelihoods, generate more income, and contribute to economic development.

SM group representatives from SM City Urdaneta Central and SMFI Asst. Vice President Cristie Angeles join the Harvest Festival.

Homemaker empowered to take on new role

Homemaker and aspiring entrepreneur Mheryll Ignacio completes SM Foundation’s KSK training.

Mheryll Ignacio, one of the KSK graduates in SM City San Lazaro, had a new-found power after finishing the program.

“Gusto ko po talagang matuto ng iba’t ibang paraan para kumita. Ang asawa ko po ay isang mekaniko, pero nakadepende po ang kita niya sa dami ng nagpapagawa ng sasakyan sa araw-araw,” she shared why she was always looking for ways to earn and support her family. Excited and happy, she joined the KSK without hesitation as soon as she learned about it from their barangay leaders.

She was confident that she could always provide healthy meals for her family despite rising food prices, as she could rely on the urban garden she cultivated with her community.

Mheryll (third from left) and other urban gardeners from Manila learn more about marketing and how to become a supplier in SM Markets during their Market Tour.

“Katulad ngayon, napaka mahal ng bilihin. Kung may alam ka sa pagtatanim, meron at meron kang pagkukunan. Pag tumataas ang bilihin, hindi ka masyadong mag aalala dahil kampante ka’t alam mong meron kang pananim na masasandalan.” she said.

“Maganda pa dahil masustansya ang maipapakain mo para sa pamilya mo,” she added.

Mheryll also said that the training served as the bedrock of her goals. Beyond enhancing her role as a more informed mother, KSK empowered her to embrace entrepreneurship, enabling her to stand as an additional provider for her family. “Higit sa lahat, puwedeng pwede mo rin ibenta ‘yung mga inani mo,” she started, sharing that she was already able to sell their harvest to their neighbors.

“Dahil dito, nagkaroon ako ng power na tumayo sa sarili ko dahil meron akong alam na alternatibong pangkabuhayan ng aming pamilya. Bilang isang ina, nagkaroon ako ng kakayahang makapagtaguyod sa aming pamilya," she said.

As she reaps the fruits of KSK, Mheryll hopes to pass on her urban gardening knowledge to other mothers in their community: “Gusto ko rin pong yakagin sila at sabihin na masayang magtanim lalo na pag nalaman niyo kung paano ito gawing pangkabuhayan.”