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Last March 29, 2023, Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines conducted a workshop entitled ‘Promoting our Indigenous Food and Culture towards a Sustainable City,’ participated by practitioners of ‘baeng’ or home gardens and held in the Ibaloy Heritage Garden, Baguio City. The workshop was an opportunity to share various planting methods and materials, seeds, and innovations from home gardens around the city. 

Among indigenous peoples, gardening is not only for food production but also for biodegradable waste management and sustaining the indigenous culture of sharing, may it be food, seeds, or knowledge. 

The learning exchange was joined by City Councilor Leandro Yangot, who discussed about the city council’s initiatives to support home gardens and urban gardening in the city, from waste management programs to innovative garden to kitchen cooking competitions.  

Vicky Macay, one of the participants and an Ibaloy elder who maintains the Ibaloy Heritage Garden, shared the book she wrote that could help in teaching children how to garden. 

There was also a presentation by Teodora Balangcod, professor at the University of the Philippines Baguio, about the rich biodiversity in the Cordillera region as well as the various ways of processing the different plants and crops. 

Throughout the workshop the participants shared their ideas on how the group’s urban gardening activities can contribute to creating a more sustainable Baguio City. For the group, sustainability means that land and resources are managed well for present and future generations and are guided by indigenous values of care for nature and people. The group agreed to help in maintaining the Ibaloy Heritage Garden as a learning site and to encourage more workshops for the promotion of urban gardening. 

Photo by PIKP.