Allotment Gardens of Cagayan de Oro City: Their Contribution to Food Security and Urban Environmental Management

Four allotment gardens were established in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, by converting idle lots to facilitate the legal access of 32 poor urban families to land for vegetable production. These gardens were proliferated by the thousands in German and other European cities in the second half of the 19th century. Surveys show that twenty percent of the allotment gardener’s produce is consumed by themselves, five percent is given away to relatives and friends while 75 % is sold to walk-in clients from the neighborhood. While designed according to the so-called “Gardens for the Poor“, the income of the gardeners, a secondary occupation for all of them, has increased by 20 %, their vegetable consumption has nearly doubled. This is particularly notable since more than thirty percent of Philippine children suffer from symptoms of malnutrition, particularly vitamin, mineral and protein deficiencies.

The allotment gardens contribute also to the reduction of solid waste in the neighborhood. About 1000 households in the pilot areas are segregating their waste and bring the biodegradable fraction to the allotment garden for composting. The volume of waste brought to the landfill could hence be reduced by more than 50 %. GIS-based community mapping was done to include the views and opinions of the community into the database of the city government to enable a more participatory approach in city planning. Aside from the improved economic situation, the allotment gardeners enjoy spending quality time with their family in a clean and healthy environment. They have formed an association which enables them to sustain the activities even after the project funding ended almost two years ago.