by: Vicky Hipol
God’s care of nature is a sign of his love, generosity and provision to all of us.
This bible verse inspired Dr.Kaye Retardo, executive director of One Earth Foundation, to launch the “Home Garden Project” for the Youth of Grace Community Christian Fellowship in collaboration with their Youth Pastor, Pastor Rene Briones. This project aims to motivate the teenagers to use their time fruitfully during the pandemic and reconnect with nature by planting herbs in their own backyard to get fresh produce for their dish, helping save money for their families and eating healthier.
Eight bright and bubbly contenders signed up for the project, and each was given seedlings of bokchoy (pechay) and stalks of river spinach (kangkong) to plant using recycled pots. They documented every two weeks the development of their tiny garden with supporting evidence of the date. The first one to harvest must cook a dish using the gathered vegetables and share it with a less fortunate neighbor. Every week, planting tips were shared by each contender, such as using rice wash, which is rich in various nutrients, to water their plants; giving attention to it just like valuing your faith. Other tips included keeping them away from extreme weather conditions and; using eggshells, banana peel, coffee grounds, and pencil shavings as fertilizers.
During the first month, awards for Most Creative Video and Most Resourceful/Earth Friendly to the teenagers who used recycled tire as pot. The grand prize went to two contenders who harvested their vegetables, cooked it with love and gave it to a mother who gave birth and another to a mother who’s looking after her operated five-year-old son. The rest received consolation prizes but everybody was taught the basic money management – Spend, Save and Give.
Ultimately, it was indeed a remarkable program for these teenagers. They enjoyed planting and sharing this experience with their friends about the abundant natural resources God has given us.