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With the “plantitos” and “plantitas” trend, edible gardens have become a growing hobby in many households since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Way back before the pandemic in 2017, the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOSTFNRI) has already set-up an edible garden dubbed as Oh My Gulay! sa DOST-FNRI or OMG! sa DOSTFNRI to serve as a model of the feasibility of an edible urban garden in a government office setting and promote vegetable consumption.

Since then, the OMG! sa DOSTFNRI has planted, produced, sold and distributed for free its regular vegetable and herbs harvests to DOST-FNRI and DOST employees during the pandemic. The OMG! sa DOST-FNRI also started disbuting seedlings to DOST-FNRI employees for sustainability. This action is aligned to the proverb, “If you give an individual a fish, you feed this person for a day. If you teach an individual to fish, you feed this person for a lifetime.”

Moreover, several trainings on edible gardening were conducted among the DOST-FNRI and DOST employees to further encourage office and household vegetable gardening and consumption.

The initial undertakings were in partnership with East-West Seed Corporation, East-West Seed Foundation and later with the Villar Foundation, until the DOST-FNRI became independent in managing the OMG! sa DOST-FNRI.

Another partnership was recently forged by the OMG! sa DOSTFNRI with the Edible Landscaping (EL) Team of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) for the two-day online training on “The Oh My Gulay! Sa FNRI: A Step Towards Biodiversity” on June 02 to 03, 2021.

The partnership aimed to promote vegetable consumption among the DOST-FNRI employees and sustain their interest in food production by applying the principles and elements of EL design.

 On June 17, 2021, the EL Team of UPLB visited the Institute and turned over 100 EL Starter Kits for the participants of the said training.

During the visit, Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez, Jr., Project Leader of the EL UPLB, and Dr. Imelda AngelesAgdeppa, Director IV and Scientist II of DOST-FNRI discussed possible future partnership in achieving food security and nutrition adequacy among households.

This new partnership is anticipated to boost the interest of the DOSTFNRI employees in EL and promote homestead food production.

The Starter Kits can help the participants apply the garden layout designs they conceptualized and presented during the training.

During the tour, the OMG garden received praises from the EL Team because of its crop diversification.

The EL Team forwarded suggestions on improving the OMG model office garden.

On June 22, 2021, the EL Team revisited DOST-FNRI and generously provided the DOST-FNRI’s OMG with 56 seedlings of different crops, including herbs and vegetables.

The DOST-FNRI is the first nonagricultural office to manage an edible landscaping with an aquaponics system in the workplace.

The OMG! sa DOST-FNRI is branching out by cultivating partnerships and adhering to the United Nations (UN) proclamation on 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables by helping create “awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security, and health” in achieving Zero Hunger.

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