Follow Urban farmer Perfecto “Jojo” Rom (Philippines)

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Philippine university graduate practices urban farming to answer food issues

Linked by Michael Levenston

Urban farmer Perfecto “Jojo” Rom, an Agriculture graduate of the Xavier University- Ateneo de Cagayan de Oro, plants vegetables in plastic containers in his backyard in Davao City.(Photo by Bong D. Fabe)

“There is a need for fresh food and urban agriculture, through Urban Container Gardening, gives us the opportunity to provide fresh, organic, nutritious food to the market”

By Bong D. Fabe
14 August 2011

First of five parts

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—“If Nebuchadnezzar had his Hanging Gardens of Babylon, I also have my ‘Hanging Gardens of Rom.’”

With this opening sentence coupled with several pictures of Nebuchadnezzar’s Hanging Gardens of Babylon flashing on the screen followed by pictures of ampalaya (bitter melon or charantia) vines hanging from the roof of his rented two-story house in Davao City, Perfecto “Jojo” Rom effectively drew the attention of the crowd to his lecture on Urban Agriculture, specifically on “Urban Container Gardening” or UCG.

Rom graduated from Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan in 2001 with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Major in Crop Science through a full scholarship provided by the Xavier Science Foundation from 1997 to 2001. He has visited other countries teaching those willing to listen the concept of UCG.

Using discarded, broken plastic containers and even used tires, 35-year-old Rom has embarked on a one-man crusade teaching households and individuals to contribute to the Philippines’ food security program, as well as ecological sanitation and environmental protection through urban farming.



My sincere congratulations go to Jojo for his wonderful achievements in container gardening.  His innovative work is a valuable contribution to the “ home production” of fresh food in containers, an example for all the hungry families, wherever they live.

The “urban container gardening” is also applicable in all rural areas of the developing world.  It is a direct and very effective way to alleviate malnutrition and poverty.

Instead of spending trillions at long-term food aid, it should be envisaged to allocate a part of the available financial resources to emergency aid in cases of famine, but the major part of the funds should go to sustainable local food production through container gardening.

Perfecto ‘Jojo’ ROM’s work in the Philippines shows undeniably that with container gardening most of the food production problems can sustainably be solved with affordable means, e.g. discarded, recycled containers, even by the poorest families.

I strongly recommend to follow Jojo ROM’s example.

Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.