I have seen many Facebook posts of friends who are starting their own urban food gardens. That’s for home consumption. I also see a lot of vertical gardens along EDSA’s underpasses and intersections, as well as in Ayala Avenue. How I wish to see a building converting its rooftop into an urban food garden and market. Any takers?
People are still not that conscious about the food they eat everyday. And everyday you hear of strokes, cancers and even the simple cold virus. “Uso-uso”(it’s in fashion) people say as I find out I’m not the only one who lost my voice over the long workweek. The bug is all over and we need to eat well to keep ourselves healthy and raise our immunity. How do we guard against all these virus and bugs?
1. Know where your food comes from. My sorority sister Ces Drilon already grows her own vegetables in the condominium garden that she has developed. Now she is teaching sports newscaster Dianne Castillejo how to make her own urban garden. My other sorority sister Maricel Pangi¬linan-Arenas also grows her own vegetables besides having Senator Kiko (the farmer) as a brother. Kiko and I both are weekend farmers who direct and control our little farms in the hope we can have a steady supply of organic vegetables for our homes.
2.At least, know who your supplier or purveyor is. I am always careful when eating okra (lady finger) and ampalaya (bitter gourd) because they are the most prone to insect attack and therefore get a good supply of chemical pesticides in them—if you do not know the source. I also am careful about apples and strawberries unless they are from Europe (organic crab apples) or USA and truly labeled organic with a certificate. Otherwise, I stick to local fruits like local oranges and bananas that are of the latundan or lakatan kind.
3.Eat at trusted restaurants or food shops. The worst is spending good money on bad food. Bad food can be contaminated food or simply food that is not safe or pretends to be food. Find out where they get their vegetables. Even sustainable fish can be had but only in places who are willing to pay the price for these priced line-caught tuna and mahimahi. If you must eat well, either cook at home or know your favorite restaurants’ sources. The consumer has the power. If you ask for it, hotels and restaurants will serve it-—grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, sustainable fish.
Being more natural is sustainbale living. Avoiding processed food and sticking to whole foods is really the key. Did you know that the body does not know what to do with food that is super processed? So it stays in places in your body that pack up and cause disease. That’s how simple they explain it. I even heard a horror story from a trusted source that a certain “chocolate” bar in the market cannot be digested by the body. Where does that go? Super processed, super harmful, too.
Yes, all of us will die at some point, but avoiding cancers and the horrendous price of chemotherapy is always a good choice. Avoiding diabetes and kidney disease resulting in hemo¬dialysis is also a good decision. Avoiding a debilitating stroke or heart attack is always a wise thought. And people say, “mamamatay naman tayong lahat” (we will all die anyway). I guess they are not ready to make that choice yet to eat better and think that it’s not too late to start anyday.
And also, pity the kids who have no choice. They are the ones we should feed well with natural food and better organic choices. When I see parents feeding their kids processed food, I cringe because these kids will not grow up eating healthy and using the body’s natural immunity.
It is easier said or written than done. I know. It took me years to develop our farm, and it still needs more work. But at least we are able to get some fresh food and we get to share them with family and friends and our customers.
If you are not ready to even plant a lettuce or two in your garden, at least know your choices and buy organic whenever you can. That will also make prices go down so more consumers can eat well.
If you can, when you can and because you can . . . please grow your own food.
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Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium, Centris QC mall, Davao and Cebu City. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates and NGOs on sustainability, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on twitter.com/chitjuan or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org