Press Release
June 29, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara hopes to create vegetable gardens in all 45,000 public elementary schools in the country to eliminate hidden hunger or malnourishment that afflicts 26 of every 100 preschool children.

The advocacy campaign Oh My Gulay! will make this possible for 40 schools that have been selected as the first recipients of donor support this school year.

At the donors' signing yesterday led by OMG! lead convenor Angara and DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro, Banco De Oro Foundation, Asian Terminals Inc., Sunwest Care Foundation, Infant Pediatrics and Nutrition Association of the Philippines (IPNAP) and Aboitiz Foundation formalized their sponsorship of a total of 40 schools.

"The primary reason why our children are malnourished is because they do not eat enough fruits and vegetables," said Angara. "Perhaps we don't realize that our children's diet consists of 83 percent carbohydrates and only 5 percent fibrous and nutritious fruits and vegetables."

The Department of Education will manage the donations that will enable schools to start vegetable gardens suited for each school's space and capacity, including vertical gardens for those that lack space.

East West Seed Co., OMG!'s implementing partner, will train teachers and students to manage their vegetable gardens.

"Studies show that gardening projects, tasting parties, junior cooking classes and cartoons can help increase vegetable intake among young kids. We will conduct these creative activities in our schools to make vegetable-growing and eating fun and interesting for our children," said Angara.

Luistro said the OMG! campaign provides exactly the kind of platform that will allow usually short-lived nutrition programs to be sustainable. OMG! equips students and teachers with the knowhow to do the planting and harvesting themselves. It is also in line with DepEd's other programs, such as "greening" (composting, recycling, etc.) and school feeding.

Angara and Luistro agreed that OMG! will not only promote nutrition, but also allow schools to be self-sufficient in fresh produce. They can even sell part of their harvest eventually.

"We're starting with 40 schools, but that's less than one percent of the 45,000 schools in the country." said Angara. "We hope to reach all these schools within our lifetime."

OMG! was first launched earlier this year in a multimedia awareness campaign featuring celebrity endorsers such as Anne Curtis, Cristine Reyes and Sarah Geronimo.

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