From Mangrove Forest to Food Forest
Through its 10-year partnership with Fostering Education and Environment for Development (FEED), Aspen Philippines has continued its advocacy to create a greener earth by fulfilling its pledge to World Environment Day to plant 3,500 plants in 2019.
As part of this commitment, and in line with Aspen Philippines goal of providing quality education for all children, the team chose to create food forests for the schools damaged by flooding in mangrove forests, which has resulted in malnutrition among children. The Teodora Cruz Elementary School in Hagonoy, Bulacan was specifically chosen for their Mandela Day activity.
Food forest gardening is a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Combined with the Bio-Intensive Garden approach, the aim is to educate the schools’ faculty, students, and parents on creating their own sustainable source of nutrition for the children and eventually develop the school grounds into a fully sustainable food garden or food forest.
FEED hosted a Train the Trainers Program with Aspen’s eco-warriors, members of the South African Embassy, the school’s teachers and gardeners; representatives from different classes, some of the parents and members of the Parent Teachers Association, and local community leaders interested in learning about food forests and how to source and propagate seedlings and plants to harvest from organic vegetable seeds.
Once the training was complete, the teams geared up with their gardening tools, boots and raincoats and set to work to establish food forests to help sustain the school’s students.
Healthy Smiles for a Healthier Future
In a separate collaboration with the South African Embassy and Project PEARLS, Aspen Philippines participated in a dental mission and soup kitchen for the community of Barangay Batia, Bocaue in Bulacan.
Our partner Project PEARLS help the poorest of the poor children and tries to improve their lives by giving them P.E.A.R.L.S.: Peace, Education, Aspiration, Respect, Love and Smiles through education, empowerment, nutrition, nourishment, and healthcare. One of the focus communities is Helping Land in Barangay Batia. This is an impoverished community relocated from an active dumpsite in Tondo, Manila where the people’s main cradle of living is scavenging disposed or leftover food from restaurants.
About 300 children from Helping Land received dental checkups and were educated on good oral hygiene by our partner dental association. Their smiles were fully complete when they received hygiene kits and a delicious lunch from Aspen Philippines’ team of volunteers.
Continuing our Acts of Random Kindness (ARK)
Kind hearts are naturally embedded in Aspen Philippines’ employees. Consequently, Mandela Day ARK is the event of the year when the team excitedly opens their hearts to share their blessings with the people they find inspiration from.
This year, more than 50 sales representatives paid tribute to the people who unknowingly have touched their hearts in their own ways. Truly, we live by the adage that happiness is not so much in having as sharing; we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. And as such they touched those who needed an act of random kindness in their lives on Mandela Day.