Nurturing the Traditional Garden Greens Growing at Filcom.
During the past few months, healthy green, red, and yellow vegetables had sprouted at FilCom. The last few weeks, the plants had matured and needed harvesting and will soon be replaced with other vegetables. Soon malunggay, saluyot, ampalaya, talbos ng kamote, okra, and tomatoes-the basics for pinakbet! – will be ready for harvest and FilCom will be offering tips on how to prepare the traditional staples of the Filipino diet, now recognized as superfoods, super rich in nutrients.
The FilCom Garden has evolved into a project to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle for the community and encourage the benefits of returning to traditional diet. Initially, the garden was conceived to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable landscaping with less use of pesticides and minimize reliance on commercial seedlings.
Spearheading the effort is Rene Ramiro, co-owner of Cools in Catering, who is experienced in both culinary and agricultural pursuits. Rene headed the effort to deploy sustainable landscaping practices at the Aloha Stadium, where he also works as a groundskeeper. He has been in charge of daily food operations at the Paradise Cove Luau, and in the Philippines. Prior to moving to Hawaii, he worked in cotton and tobacco at the Cotton Research and Development Institute located in Batac, Ilocos Norte, and founded a catering service aimed at providing employment in rural areas.
An agriculture graduate of Mariano Marcos State University, he was selected as one of the Ten Outstanding Volunteer Youth Leaders in the Philippines (1987) by the Department of Agriculture.
Rene’s efforts are also focused on growing enough seedlings to replace the plant cover around the parking lot. “We need something hardy and easy to maintain”, he explains, since the current green cover has been infected by pests.
“I am hoping to see katuday and squash, pole beans, maybe upo or spring squash so that when the Filipino summer school for kids starts next year, the students can learn to sing Bahay Kubo and see the actual vegetables in the song,” says FilCom President Rose Churma. And maybe learn how to cook pinacbet.
Visit the garden on the southern side of FilCom, near the staircase leading to the grounds of the Leeward YMCA, during your next visit. And if you come on a Sunday, you may just see Rene tending to the garden! See you at the FilCom!