Time to eat green

If there is one thing parents have a challenge with, it is getting their kids to eat green leafy vegetables. Kids find they don’t taste well, whether cooked with meat, condiments or boiled. A National Nutrition Survey in 2008 showed that 26 out of 100 preschool children in the Philippines are malnourished. The survey also shows that 26% are underweight with 28% are under height from age 0-5 years old. Meanwhile 25% are underweight and 33% are under height from age 6-10 years old.

Alarmed by the increasing malnourishment in the country, Sen. Edgardo Angara last year launched the “Oh My Gulay” campaign, an advocacy program to create awareness about the nutritional values of common vegetables as well as to encourage parents to teach their children not only to eat vegetables but also engage them in vegetable planting.

“Sen. Angara wanted a vegetable program and it was really wanting to do something,” says Josie Paule, one of the heads of the program.

Together with government agencies such as the Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Health and private companies, the program has since been launched in various schools in the provinces. Among the provinces so far reached by the program are Bulacan and Negros Occidental, which according to the data provided by the Department of Education has one of the highest children malnourished rates.

The project began with students being given vegetable seedlings to plant in schools. Paule said that they are encouraging parents especially the mothers to help their children as not only will it be source of food but also extra income.

“The harvest is theirs. It can be brought home and then plant more,” says Paule.

To further increase the awareness of the program, the people behind “Oh My Gulay” tapped notable celebrities from the Viva rosters of artists headed by pop princess Sarah Geronimo, actress Cristine Reyes and singer Mark Bautista who endorsed specific vegetables.

Paule said that the artists did the project for free, believing that vegetables was one way of helping alleviate the malnourishment in the country.

With the recent commercial of the “Oh My Gulay” campaign aired, feedback has been very good. Their main target now is to get more private sectors into the project. They are also eying more schools into the program.
While the program has yet to reach its peak, Paule says they are optimistic the program will go a long way. Asked how people can help, Paule says it all takes simple pots, seedlings and gardening tools to start with. That way not only is you planting food but also helping in contributing to the environment.

For more information about Oh My Gulay you may contact-FRANCINE ANNE P. SAYOC 0917 504 3265


  • Cris

    @Danny @Bert

    The first step in any advocacy is awareness. So that’s what the pretty pictures are for — using celebrities to “popularize” vegetables. From this, offshoot programs will be undertaken, such as the school vegetable garden program which will start this school year. Private companies have adopted schools nationwide and will be set up with vegetable plots that the students will maintain and whose harvest they will take home.

    I don’t think this is political. Senator Ed Angara doesn’t need votes because he’s not running (end na ang term nya accdg to his website). Maybe a good way to leave a legacy? And even without his name involved, the program is good enough to stand on its own and make an impact. It’s multisectoral, ie supported by the private sector, academe, goverment and media.

  • GabbyD

    let me be cynical… how is this supposed 2 work, exactly?

    its an advocacy campaign…? meaning they’ll talk about why vegtables are good?

    so the problem is people dont think vegtables are good? i dont think people suffer that misconception.

    i predict that if we go to rural areas, all they eat is gulay, the cheap ones of course.

    if so, who is the target of this advocacy?
    if they want to help, they should:
    1) tell people/kids/mothers how to cook veggies so that they kinda taste good without losing calories. make more recipies.
    2) encourage gardening, communally. esp for the urban poor who dont have their own land.

    • Bert

      GabbyD is correct, sawa na sa gulay ang mga tao, more so those living in the provinces.

      ‘Oh, my gulay’ will give Angara some notice but not convertible to votes. And speaking of votes, Angara will lose the grass roots, pun not intended.

      • Cocoy

        i honestly just like the photos. hehehe.