SESAM-UPLB, Santa Rosa City launch project under ACCCRN Small Grants Program

The School of Environmental Science and Management - University of the Philippines Los Baños (SESAM-UPLB), in partnership with the City of Santa Rosa, launched the project, ‘Building Capacity for Urban Agriculture in the City of Santa Rosa’ on June 16 at the Santa Rosa City Hall.

The project, supported by the Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN) Engagement Building Small Grants Program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and implemented by ICLEI, intends to explore strategies on integrating urban agriculture into local climate change and development plans. One of the major outputs is the establishment of a demo farm in Barangay Sinalhan, Santa Rosa City. Implementation of the project would entail multi-stakeholder cooperation from various sectors.

A total of 56 individuals attended the launch, including representatives from government agencies (Laguna Water, Department of Education-Santa Rosa Science and Technology High School), barangays and subdivisions (Caingin, Sto. Domingo, Malitlit, Dila, Malusak, Aplaya, Pooc, Labas, Ibaba, Pulong, Sinalhan, and Southville 4), schools (Polytechnic University of the Philippines - Sta. Rosa, Colegio de Sta. Rosa De Lima Inc., Kairos Learning Institute, and Holy Rosary College) industries (Asia Brewery Inc., Toyota, Coca-cola) and a real estate company (Nuvali Estates).

They were joined by members of the Offices of Planning and Development, Assessor’s, Agriculture, Engineering, and Environment and Natural Resources of the Santa Rosa local government.

The program started with a brief introduction of ICLEI and the organization’s scope of work, presented by Mr. Vince Marin, Communications Officer of ICLEI Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS). Mr. Marin discussed the provisions of the Small Grants Program and its objective to provide tangible, financial support for city-community collaboration and initiatives on urban climate change resilience. The Dean of SESAM-UPLB, Dr. Decibel Faustino-Eslava, was also present to give a welcoming message to the participants.

The next set of presentations included the project overview by Dr. Rico Ancog, Project Leader and Assistant Professor at SESAM-UPLB; on land use and climate change adaptation strategies, presented by Architect Therese Santiano, urban planner and project consultant; and on the establishment of the demo farm by Mr. Garry Hidalgo, urban agriculture expert, and Mr. Noel Villodres, horticulturist.

Ms. Clarissa Ruzol, Project Assistant, presented the training design and timetable of capacity-building workshops and trainings, which will be conducted in the succeeding months.

After the presentations, the activity served as venue for the exchange of insights about the proposed demo farm, for which a menu of design options was presented. Attendees were able to raise questions on the construction of the pilot site, as well as share their experiences on urban agriculture in their respective barangays, schools, and offices. Overall, the project launch was a success as attendees manifested their support to the project by expressing their willingness to sign up for the trainings.

Ms. Erlinda Creencia, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer, closed the activity by delivering a brief message of thanks to the participants.

The activity was organized by SESAM-UPLB and the Local Government of Santa Rosa led by Dr. Rico Ancog (Project Leader), Ms. Ayesha Sarapuddin (Project Assistant), Ms. Clarissa Ruzol (Project Assistant), Ms. Erlinda Creencia (Santa Rosa City ENRO), and Ms. Maria Amor Salandanan (Santa Rosa City ENRO staff).

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