Aeschylus once said that from a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.

This means that every big accomplishment once had a small idea. The same is true with humanity. In order to produce dignified and successful people, one must plant, cultivate, and nurture seedlings of virtue and values in the minds of the young generation.

The MCCT-IP Pantawid beneficiaries in Barangay Sebod, Municipality of President Manuel Roxas in Zamboanga del Norte, do exactly what is supposed to be taught to their young indigenous children and to the millennial generation, in general.

As IPs, organic gardening is introduced to them at a very young age. This may be one if not the oldest chore that a young Subanen must learn. Despite being in an identified Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Area (GIDA), the IP beneficiaries seem to be adept in cultivating their land, growing green, leafy vegetables and root crops.

A parent leader took initiative to discuss the benefits of having a communal garden with the principal of Sebod Elementary School and the latter delightedly agreed and offered a plot for gardening in the school vicinity. And so, last November 2017, through the efforts and initiative of the MCCT beneficiaries, a communal garden became possible in the area and was launched with the support of their local partners.

After every CFDS, the group of beneficiaries collaboratively go to the gardening site and work on cultivating and improving their garden. They agreed to contribute a minimal amount to purchase seedlings and tools for maintenance. As for the IP children, they are encouraged to maintain cleanliness in the area to keep their plants healthy and fresh.

Come harvest time, the produces are shared with the community and donated to the barangay as additional ingredients to the Supplemental Feeding for IP children. The beneficiaries acknowledge the importance of healthy and nutritious food hence they make sure that the ingredients during their feeding are organic as well.

This project has helped the local officials in ensuring food security and promoting a healthy lifestyle amongst beneficiaries and their children.

According to the Community Facilitator Assistant (CFA) in the area, Benjie E. Bina, there were 2 reported cases of malnutrition in the area prior to the implementation of the project.

During their most recent update last January, the Barangay Health Worker reported 0 case of malnourish children in the said barangay. They credit this significant achievement to their strong promotion and involvement of children in health and nutrition.

Because of the positive results of such endeavour, the school principal suggested that the gardening should be extended by providing them additional lot for more vegetables to be planted to which the beneficiaries gladly accepted.

It is imperative that we secure children’s health by providing them nutritious food. But it is even more imperative that we teach them the value of a healthy lifestyle and how they can contribute to health and nutrition as young as they are.