By Chito Chavez
The Quezon City government has supported the initiative of Greenpeace Philippines in urging public schools and government offices to promote healthier plant-based meals.
“Public institutions are some of the biggest purchasers of industrial meat. By encouraging them to serve less and better meat, and more plants in their canteens and during meetings and events, we reduce bulk demand for meat,” Virgina Benosa-Llorin, Greenpeace Philippines’ Food and Ecological Agriculture campaigner said.
Dr. Verdades Linga the city’s Health department chief also called on city government employees to practice what this advocacy preaches.
A food truck was sent to city hall to prepare plant-based siomai, gyoza, and siopao for city employees, while the People’s Food Movement gave away baskets of vegetables to city officials.
According to the report of Greenpeace International, global meat and dairy production and consumption must be halved by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change.
Llorin said there is a need for people to reduce their excessive intake of meat and increase the consumption of plant-based food to help preserve thee environment.
In 2012, the Quezon City Council passed City Resolution 5596-2012 that calls for a “Luntiang Lunes” (Green Monday) to promote more vegetable consumption and other healthy food every Monday among City Hall employees, public school students, and residents of the city’s barangays (villages).
Introduced by former Councilor Jessica Castelo-Daza, the resolution is patterned after the United States’ Meatless Monday that aims to improve the nutritional intake of residents.
Further, Llorin expressed fondness for the city, as it undertakes a “Joy of Urban Farming” program that adopts the idea of people cultivating their own food to provide families with a safe and healthy diet.
“‘Yung Greenpeace kasi natutuwa at dito sa Quezon City, mayroon kayong program na Joy of Urban Farming. Isa ‘yon sa pino-promote namin sa Greenpeace sa ating mga mamamayan na matuto tayong magtanim ng sarili nating pagkain para hindi tayo umaasa sa mga bilihin sa mga supermarket na masmadalas ay may halong chemical. ‘Pag tayo ang nagtatanim, sigurado tayo na safe ang ating kakainin (Greenpeace is elated in Quezon City due to the Joy of Urban farming program. It is one of the programs being promoted by Greenpeace that encourages the people to plant vegetables and not only buy them in supermarkets where they are laced with chemicals. If we plant our own vegetables is it guaranteed safe for consumption),” Llorin added.
Before being widely referred to as “The Joy of Urban Farming,” the program is formerly known as “Task Force Greening” which has been initiated by former Vice Mayor Charito Planas in 1992.
It primarily aims for a zero-waste city and promotes urban-gardening among the residents of Quezon City.