The program was formally launched at Segundo Esguerra Sr. Memorial Elementary School in Pulilan, Bulacan on February 17. NPI Chairman and CEO Jacques Reber and Corporate Affairs Head Ernie Mascenon spearheaded the event, with no less than Senator Cynthia Villar and Pulilan Mayor Maritz Ochoa-Montejo as special guests. Froneri employees, led by Froneri HR Head Luz Tanquintic, were also present during the launch. Other guests included officers from the Central, Regional, and District Offices of the Department of Education.
Delivering the keynote address, Senator Villar commended Nestlé on rolling out such a worthy project, saying that she believes vegetable gardening can help solve malnutrition among school children. She underscored the importance of agriculture and expressed hopes that the NutriGarden project will also give school children an early exposure to and appreciation of agriculture.
Nestlé chose East-West Seed Foundation (EWSF) as its partner for this program because of the foundation’s extensive school vegetable gardening program called OMG-TSK (Oh My Gulay– Tanim Sa Kinabukasan). EWSF has helped establish over 250 school gardens in the past five years through the help of previous donors such as BDO, Novartis, and EWSF invited the EPP (Edukasyong Pantahanan at Pangkabuhayan) coordinators of the chosen elementary schools to participate in a three-day training program where they were taught extensively about vegetable gardening. These EPP teachers then received their individual garden kits per school, consisting of seeds, fertilizer, and tools.
The launch in Pulilan, Bulacan is part of the first wave of the NutriGarden implementation in this first half of the year. The second wave is set in the second half of 2017 and the third wave will be in 2018. Harvest days for Wave 1 started in April. Nestlé plans to collect data on the harvest yield of the schools and the effect of the yield on either nutrition or income of the school.
To date, the joint effort of Nestlé Philippines and Eastwest Seed Foundation has resulted to 66 elementary schools breaking ground for their school vegetable gardens as part of the first wave of the NutriGarden Program.
This project is a true reflection of Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.
To learn more about the Nestlé Healthy Kids Program, click here: https://www.nestle.com.ph/stories/nestl-healthy-kids