ILOILO — Students from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand established a permaculture garden in Nicomedes Tubar Sr. National High School in San Dionisio to help reduce the number of malnourished children due to food shortage and poverty here.
Coined by Australian ecologist Bill Mollison and his student David Holmgren in 1970s, permaculture is a contraction of words “permanent”, “agriculture” and “culture”. It is an agricultural philosophy that allows the use the resources around to its fullest potential.
The project is dubbed as “green library” since they want the 500 square meter permaculture garden to become a library of plants which can educate both the students and their families on sustainable agriculture and proper nutrition.
It is a combined plan of two student teams which came 2nd and 3rd in the university’s 21-Day International Challenge, a competition that aims to “change the world one community at a time.”
They are Caity Prattley, Ashley Stewart, Kendra Titheridge, Melissa Gaskell, Sam Fitzgerald, Ivy Yueqi Wu, Nic Lamont, Alison Faulls, Bridget Williams and Danielle Browne.
Except for Williams, the students were here from November 20-27 with their professor Sussie Morrish, philanthropist Hannah Rhodes and contact person Sol O’Sullivan, an alumna of the school who is now living in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The project is in partnership with Cabiokid Foundation in Nueva Ecija that has been using permaculture techniques for 14 years as climate change adaptation.
Fifteen faculty members and their respective students have been trained by Cabiokid on permaculture prior to the establishment of the garden.
Once the trees and plants have grown, the produce will be used in the school’s feeding program. The school also has the discretion to sell the fruits and vegetables or processed it into products.
The students also worked with Principal Myrna Bernal and teacher Jose Maramento to design and construct an irrigation system to give the school a reliable water source.
The system consists of two rainwater collection tanks, installed guttering on the school buildings, a filtration system and a hand-pump well.
The project also includes the construction of two enclosed greenhouses to enable the school to grow seedlings during rainy days. JAN