Food-related ventures, which thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic, have been helping  for the sustenance of many Filipinos rendered jobless due to this global health crisis, said Senator Cynthia A.Villar as Las Pinas celebrates its 7th Food Festival & Urban Gardening Competition.

She congratulated the winners in the twin competitions who got their corresponding cash prizes.

Cooking contest champion from Brgy. Talon
Cooking contest 1st runner-up from Brgy. Pulang Lupa
Cooking contest 2nd runner-up from Brgy. Almanza

Quarantine cooking increases during the pandemic

Meanwhile, while on quarantine and lockdown, Villar said many Filipinos, who lost their jobs especially those in the tourism and travel industry,  embarked on online business related to foods and urban gardening.

Villar, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said many Filipinos have turned into food sellers, using all forms of social media platform to sell their products. She stressed many have learned to cook and bake while others have honed their cooking skills.

She said the so-called “quarantreats” or foods oftentimes prepared by Filipinos became popular. “We have the  Dalgona coffee and the ube-cheese pandesal, among others.”

Due to this, she said Filipinos have been earning money even on quarantine and lockdown that help provide for their daily expenses despite losing their jobs.

Urban Gardening trends during lockdown

Another popular activity in this time of crisis, Villar said, is urban gardening or farming wherein people plant vegetables even in small spaces due to limited supply and access to food.

“Even before the pandemic, I have been promoting vegetable gardening,” said Villar. At the start, some netizens put negative sight as she gave out seedlings or vegetable seeds to encourage residents to plant their own vegetables.

“Some people were saying that what they need are food and money and that they have no time to plant and wait for the harvest,” recalled the senator.

And yet, Villar pointed out that in the latter part of the pandemic, many Filipinos appreciated the value, wisdom, and convenience of growing their own food in the comfort of their homes.

“And every organization has jumped into the urban gardening bandwagon. Ang vegetable ay cash crop, sa 1 1/2 buwan ay maka harvest na. Lahat halos ngayon ay namimigay na ng mga seeds,” happily noted Villar, adding that growing one’s food is really a sustainable solution.

Acknowledging the popularity of community pantries nowadays, Villar said these can be complemented by community gardens, which are more sustainable and cost-effective in the long run.

More than anything, she asserted that urban gardening or farming will solve food poverty since it provides easy access to food for every household.

” It’s already a bonus that it can also be a source of livelihood. Urban dwellers like us should be more food self-sufficient by growing our own food.  As more and more us become more food self-sufficient, hunger and food poverty will be solved also. That is the ultimate goal. So, let’s keep on planting and growing our own food,” she added.

“And we here in Las Pinas have already been practicing it. The participants here are the best examples of how a community-based garden can provide food to residents,” further stated. Villar.