07 June 2007

Growing food, growing partnerships, growing Naga

THE ABOVE is an abbreviated title of the final talk yesterday by the UBC Urban Agriculture Group. By the time the four ladies were deep into their presentation, a distracting palpable chatter can be heard towards the back of the BSTC audiovisual room, which even forced Jeff Deby to stand up and, in a nice way, ask the audience to listen.

I had a feeling though the noise is our subconscious speaking: about our "been-there-done-that" attitude towards agriculture and the low priority we assign to the sector, almost to the point of lip service. There is also the cultural aspect weighing it down, which Nora described so clearly: farming, like teaching, is the last option we give our children; "medyo mahina ang ulo mo anak, mag-agriculture ka na lang."

Then, there is CSSAC, short for Camarines Sur State Agricultural College whose sprawling campus is about 10 kms south of Naga, but whose presence has yet to be felt in the sector. If there is a perfect metaphor for everything that's wrong with the local agriculture sector, I said, it has to be CSSAC. But all these I will reserve for this week's column for Vox Bikol.

Meanwhile, the slides of the Urban Agriculture presentation follow after the jump, courtesy of Slideshare. In about an hour, the final three topics are due for discussion at the BSTC.