In the Philippines, the loss of income and lack of mobility during the community quarantine lockdown has made everyone realize that food security is the most important issue in front of us.
With most of the working population living paycheck to paycheck (and maintaining a negative savings rate), these unprecedented series of events has forced everyone's eyes wide open to the terrifying fact that most people are simply unprepared to deal with calamities.
Our economy relies heavily on trade, tourism, outsourcing, and service sectors. All have been impacted and while a few are able to work-from-home, most are instructed to remain idle during the lockdown.
The loss of income will create a firestorm in the next few weeks, if not months. We cannot begin to imagine the level of public unrest when families run out of what little money they have left, and the national gov't not able to provide the basic needs for the majority of 109M Filipinos.
When people are hungry, there's no telling what kinds of desperate acts people will be willing to do. The prospect of social unrest is frightening.
Recently, we've submitted our Vision for the OpenIDEO Food Security Challenge Prize with our entry about urban rooftop greenhouses. Unfortunately, we were not selected as finalists, but in this time and in this fight, we are winning the fight against food insecurity.
Our greenhouses have refrained us from panic buying goods. Our families and community neighbors have been eating healthy vegetables. There's no shortage of vegetables growing in our growing systems. We'll be food-secure for as long as it will take to lift the community quarantine.
In a tropical country, it is difficult to cultivate fresh vegetables without reliance on good weather and agri-inputs. Our agricultural innovations aimed to address these challenges and we are now realizing the true value of our work.
It is sad to see others struggling and in despair. We have pledged donations of our next crop of green leafy vegetables to the local community Church to distribute among their most vulnerable members. In this time, money is not as valuable as food right now.
Our social media channels are active and we continue to promote the message to become food secure. From the urban gardener to the rural farmer, everyone that has the space available needs to have a grow system setup to provide them with food when food products becomes scarce.
This message, one of self-sustainability and preparedness, needs to promoted and shared the world over.