Sustainability within households and communities must be promoted through backyard gardening, waste segregation, recycling, and upcycling, to ensure food availability and supply at home and address food security concerns and regenerate ecosystems functions.
Urban gardening is one way to secure and ensure a steady supply of safe and nutritious food even in the most challenging of times. The likes of COVID-19 pandemic do not just spur interest in implementing a household-level backyard gardening set-up as a past time hobby, but it also clearly highlights an ongoing phenomenon where people would want to have ensured access to enough safe and nutritious food. Agricultural activities should not be limited to rural areas since it can be developed even in Metro Manila and other key cities in the country.
Urban agriculture and farming has benefits not only on food sustainability, but mitigate the effects of climate change as well. By planting and producing own food, this reduces food miles, or the amount of fossil fuels burned and carbon emitted when food travels long distances. This also reduces the need for processing, packaging and refrigeration to preserve food over long distances. Also, growing food with sustainable methods reduces the need for petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides, and traps carbon particles in the soil. Composting organic waste reduces methane emissions from landfill sites.
Moreover, the whole community needs to be involved, every household should implement segregation at source and practice the 3Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle. Every household should have segregated garbage bins: one trash can for biodegradable and food waste which will be used to make organic compost; one trash can for recyclables or residual waste, such as tin cans and plastic bottles; and another for special or hazardous waste, such as busted lamps, radio and cellphone batteries. For paper that can be recycled, these can be placed flat in a box or in a paper bag.
We must veer away from the throwaway culture and aim for zero waste economy where the output of each resource use is converted into input for another use.