Urban Container Gardening : a sustainable answer to food issues (City Farmer News / Business Mirror / Perfecto “Jojo” Rom))

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Philippine university graduate practices urban farming to answer food issues

Linked by Michael Levenston

Urban farmer Perfecto “Jojo” Rom, an Agriculture graduate of the Xavier University- Ateneo de Cagayan de Oro, plants vegetables in plastic containers in his backyard in Davao City.(Photo by Bong D. Fabe)

“There is a need for fresh food and urban agriculture, through Urban Container Gardening, gives us the opportunity to provide fresh, organic, nutritious food to the market”

By Bong D. Fabe
14 August 2011

First of five parts

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—“If Nebuchadnezzar had his Hanging Gardens of Babylon, I also have my ‘Hanging Gardens of Rom.’”

With this opening sentence coupled with several pictures of Nebuchadnezzar’s Hanging Gardens of Babylon flashing on the screen followed by pictures of ampalaya (bitter melon or charantia) vines hanging from the roof of his rented two-story house in Davao City, Perfecto “Jojo” Rom effectively drew the attention of the crowd to his lecture on Urban Agriculture, specifically on “Urban Container Gardening” or UCG.

Rom graduated from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan in 2001 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Major in Crop Science through a full scholarship provided by the Xavier Science Foundation from 1997 to 2001. He has visited other countries teaching those willing to listen the concept of UCG.

Using discarded, broken plastic containers and even used tires, 35-year-old Rom has embarked on a one-man crusade teaching households and individuals to contribute to the Philippines’ food security program, as well as ecological sanitation and environmental protection through urban farming.



My sincere congratulations go to Jojo for his wonderful achievements in container gardening.  His innovative work is a valuable contribution to the “ home production” of fresh food in containers, an example for all the hungry families, wherever they live.

The “urban container gardening” is also applicable in all rural areas of the developing world.  It is a direct and very effective way to alleviate malnutrition and poverty.

Instead of spending trillions at long-term food aid, it should be envisaged to allocate a part of the available financial resources to emergency aid in cases of famine, but the major part of the funds should go to sustainable local food production through container gardening.

Perfecto ‘Jojo’ ROM’s work in the Philippines shows undeniably that with container gardening most of the food production problems can sustainably be solved with affordable means, e.g. discarded, recycled containers, even by the poorest families.

I strongly recommend to follow Jojo ROM’s example.

Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM



Dear Willem,

Thank you very much for your greetings and appreciation. It’s very inspiring to know that it reaches to this level when I started doing this just with a single tin can to grow “Kamote” sweet potato and asked for a pile of burnt soil from our neighbor. With this I say: “If necessity is the mother of innovation, crisis is the father” hahahaha.

The featured article on UCG in today’s issue of the Business Mirror is part 1 of 5. I am excited to see the succeeding issues. Bong Fabe, the writer just informed me later this morning and realized your greetings is way ahead the news of Bong that it is featured. But anyway, it’s a good thing for all of us because this will explode in the mind of our countrymen and through you and Dr. Holmer will reach to other parts of the world. With this project we hope we could in little ways change the mindset of people about democratization of agriculture.

With gratitude,

Jojo Rom

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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