BAGUIO CITY—To help boost their sustainable sources of livelihood and contribute to the production and supply of organically raised vegetables for the rapidly increasing number of consumers in this city, local farmers successfully finished ‘urban gardening’ training course recently. Fifty-nine farmers—all current recipients of the government’s conditional cash transfer program—graduated from a 12-week course. A project of SM Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan livelihood program, the urban gardening course is aimed at providing permanent sources of livelihood for families and creating model organic farms within the thickly populated urban centers. The successful candidates, pre-qualified and selected by the City’s Social Welfare and Development Office, harvested their produce in time for their graduation day rites from two planting sites: The Quezon Elementary School and in Happy Hallow. The KSK Farmers Training Pro-gram, together with Harbest Agribusiness Corp., and the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with LGUs and NGOs, was the seed that bore fruits all over the Philippines. In 2006, SM Group founder, Henry Sy Sr., thought of a sustainable project that will uplift the living standards of small Filipino farmers. Since the first graduation of the KSK Program at SM City-Bacolod in May 2007, the KSK has evolved into one of the pillars of the SMFI’s CSR Program. 10 years after, the KSK Program has graduated more than 15,300 small farmers, agribusiness entrepreneurs, and agriculturists from the LGUs.
The pro-gram has covered 124 sites all over the country where SM malls and SM Markets are located. The 12 week, season-long technical and hands-on training on fruits and vegetables high value crops has an average of 100– 120 participants per site.