Demand-driven local economy of healthy, transparent, and sustainable food commodities in Laguna, Philippines
Empowered Lagunense households thriving in healthy, sustainable, and inclusive food environments, and food systems
In a demand-driven local economy, the government, food industries, small-scale food providers, agricultural workers, researchers, and commoners work together to ensure that the supply from the wider food system, and food environment, meet the demand for a healthy and sustainable diet. Far convincing than what the Green Revolution promised—our vision stands, educating and nourishing the people and planet outweighs the idea of just feeding them. And it all begins in the home and barangay.
Lead Applicant Organization Name
Barangay Integrated Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement (BIDANI),
Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, UP Los Baños
Lead Applicant Organization Type
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
BIDANI is an extension program of UPLB and the lead applicant of the vision. The Institute of Human Nutrition and Food functions as the academic and research arm, along with various departments from the College of Human Ecology.
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Municipality of Los Baños, Province of Laguna
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Republic of the Philippines
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Laguna Province, the third-largest province in CALABARZON has a total land area of 1,759.73 square kilometers.
What country is your selected Place located in?
Republic of the Philippines
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Laguna is home to various international and local development-oriented organizations and institutions—one of which is the Barangay Integrated Development Approach for Nutrition Improvement (BIDANI), a comprehensive nutrition-in-development strategy emphasizing the need to mainstream improving the nutrition of Filipinos towards achieving rural development. BIDANI started in 1978 through the initiative of the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food, University of the Philippines Los Baños. In 1985, BIDANI as a network program composed of various state colleges and universities (SUCs) in the Philippines was established. It was envisioned to attain a responsive network of academic institutions geared towards nutrition-in-development. Its mission was to promote nutrition-in-development through community and other stakeholders’ participation in an integrated management system facilitated by SUCs extension programs. UPLB serves as the national coordinator – spanning 938 barangays in eight cities and 30 municipalities, 10 provinces, and nine regions throughout the Philippines. In Laguna, BIDANI has been facilitating the transformation of various municipalities and catchment barangays and has been a partner in improving the nutrition of the people by addressing malnutrition as a development problem and at its root causes linked to poverty, food insecurity, social deprivation, and underdevelopment.
All members of the team took their undergraduate degree at UPLB. Two are Lagunense, and the others fell in love with the charm of Laguna and were enticed to work here for good. They have witnessed how rapidly the province has transformed, yet economic disparities remain between an average wage-earner and middle-income earner, and geographic racism distinguishes upland, lowland and coastal commoners. Notably, they have witnessed how the appetite and weight of each member have changed. They agree that hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition are more of a food system issue.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
Laguna is a province in the southeast of Metro Manila, south of Rizal province, west of Quezon, north of Batangas and east of Cavite. It is the third-largest province in Region 4A. The province is characterized by flat and rugged terrain and level to the steep slope. It is considered as an inland province, which comprises the largest portion of the Laguna de Bay Region where the Laguna lake lies, the Philippines’ largest inland water and the second-largest freshwater in Southeast Asia.
Laguna by the numbers.
Laguna by the themes (Environment, Diets, Economics, Culture, Technology, and Policy)
We put dietary intake at the center of the challenges of the present (2020) and of future (2050) generation in Laguna.
Searching for a good hike and sight of a great deal of wildlife? Or maybe a quiet time in impressive lagoons, majestic waterfalls or old churches? Or a therapeutic massage from our hot springs? Whether you are a geek and curious spud about how agriculture and rice evolve, or a foodie looking for a different kind of gastronomic experience, the Province of Laguna and its people has more to offer. Situated just two hours and 26 minute-drive from Manila, Laguna is one of the popular tourist destinations of the country. It is placed in the southern shore of the country’s largest lake, Laguna de Bay. It is also home to 24 mountains, including the famous Sierra Madre, Mt. Banahaw and Mt. Makiling. The people are generally hospitable, respectful, religious and have strong familial ties. Throughout the province, two languages are spoken: Tagalog and English, which makes doing business with the locals easy. The population lives in many upland, lowland and coastal communities and is involved in agriculture, trading, food business, tour-related jobs, and manufacturing industries. The province has a strong Spanish influence, as seen in various religious sites and old churches. Not only did the Spaniards brought religion but they also had an impact on farming techniques, various culinary dishes, and festivities. As a rice-consuming country, it’s no wonder that Laguna’s top produce is rice. Its geographical location, being surrounded by mountains and lakes (Laguna de Bay, Taal Lake) provides the province with various production opportunities. The top agricultural crops are rice, corn, coconut, mango, and banana. Laguna de Bay is a major source of fisheries in the country and accounts for 17% of the national fisheries production, 10% of the national aquaculture and 44% of the national production for municipal fisheries. The province has a tropical climate with two seasons, wet and dry.
It can be said that Laguna is a depiction of the Philippines. It is characterized by a fast-growing economy, urbanization, and globalization even though more than half of the population lives below the poverty line. It is also home to top research institutions: University of the Philippines Los Baños, International Rice Research Institute and Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture, to name a few. The proximity of Laguna to Manila has drawn tourists and business investors alike. With 18 industrial estates, it has also adopted the monikers “Detroit of the Philippines,” for hosting major vehicle manufacturers, and the “Silicon Valley of the Philippines,” for its electronic and semiconductor companies. It is an emerging economic hub in Southern Tagalog. The economic growth has resulted in a fast-paced and time-strapped environment in the lowland urban communities, while those who live in upland and coastal areas thrive in old ways of living.
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
On average, our dietary diversity is below five, suggesting we are not meeting the requirements for optimal health. Over the years, the incidence of double-burden of malnutrition among children has been on a steady rise. Among adults, there has been an increase in the prevalence of chronic energy deficiency and obesity and increasing prevalence of diet-related diseases. The hostile and increasing obesogenic landscape of the food environment in upland, lowland, and coastal barangays is the main challenge in Laguna, which continuously shapes our diets, our relationship with food industries, the environment, our culture, and our perception of nutrition and health outcomes. Our food acquisition is influenced strongly by culture, geopolitical and economic pull. The built-food environment is gaining economic momentum and enormously shaping our food system—from culturally accepted hawkers and street vendors to local food retailing industry and modern-type supermarkets. It is only secondary that we source our food from the natural bounty like home production and indigenous sources. The province has dynamic agricultural systems and biodiversity with thriving sectors of rice and vegetable farming, commercial livestock and poultry, and fisheries. However, inconvenient policies, lack of agricultural subsidies and incentives, research funding, and lack of advancement in technologies on food production and distribution have impacted largely this value-chain leading to surpluses of produce in the metropolitan which is more profitable for the farmers, while there exists food desert in many rural villages. The combined availability and affordability of processed and mislabeled food commodity, and convenience and accessibility of western diets and fast-foods, has created food swamps and encouraged eating-away from home. This can also be attributed to Laguna being research, business and academic hub to many migrants.
In 2050, Laguna reaches the mature stage of development, this is an opportune time for large food and retail industries to create bigger food deserts and food swamps. Our increased income and younger population will further increase our appetite for animal-based diets and reliance on retail stores offering processed and unhealthy food. These combined will bankrupt homes to hospitalization and pharmaceutical companies. Rapid urbanization will result in less area for pasture and loss of green areas for agricultural land use. The livestock sector and fishing operations are also in the brick of decline. Trading, employment in factories, and call centers which are huge industries in the province will replace the agricultural sector. The prices of fresh food commodity will sky-rocket due to supply and demand-pull, with climate change coming into play. As a climatically hostile province, increase in temperature will significantly increase the amount and spatial distribution of rainfall, lower water levels in Laguna de Bay, lower rice and vegetable production, and lead to climate-induced diseases affecting livestock—all these have a negative impact on our agricultural system, drinking water, biodiversity, and our health.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Imagine a typical household of six members with children, aged 18 mo, seven and 14 yo, 37 yo housewife, 38 yo working-husband, and 67 yo grandparent, in a lowland residential barangay. Along with rice, is the diet low in fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins, and high in processed foods, added sugar, refined grains, and animal-based products. Their diet is limited in a messed-up food environment, which becomes the root of the intergenerational cycle of food insecurity and nutritional inequality. Our vision of a demand-driven local economy of healthy, inclusive, transparent and sustainable food commodities will change the food environment landscape of this family and drive the government, agriculture sector and food industries to act towards inclusive, sustainable and healthy food systems. We take the perspective of Pinggang Pinoy®, the local depiction of a high-quality, healthy and sustainable diet, as the center of our vision. We envision an informed and empowered Lagunense filling their Pinggang Pinoy® from the bounty of available, accessible, affordable, desirable and tasty food commodities from the rich agricultural system and food industry of the province, as a lifestyle choice. Our vision capitalizes on the promotion of circular and sustainable agricultural systems at the local level. Farmers and distributors will benefit from the economic profitability of a government-supported rice and vegetable farming system, livestock and poultry production, and fishing operations. Our relationships with food trade and trade-related industries will remain strong, while our people’s dependence on food companies and the retail industry will be secondary. Our demand-driven food environment will create a barangay-facilitated production and distribution system capitalizing on the unique agricultural networks of the province. The combined efforts of the government, industry, and commoners will keep Laguna’s natural resources within its regenerative capacity.
In our organization's end, we envision the barangay at the center of the transformation. BIDANI as a strategy is at the heart of building capacity for food systems transformation at the grassroots level. We envision that our locally rooted innovative strategies will regenerate food deserts and food swamps in many rural and urban barangays. With the Barangay Integrated Development Approach, we see empowered stakeholders participating actively in the bottoms-up food systems transformation. We envision that our participative strategy in preventing malnutrition via the life cycle approach and food production and market-driven activities will empower every household to make their Pinggang Pinoy® a lifestyle choice. We envision barangay data banking system to map food flows in the province, showing geographies in which farmers are located, follow and chart the value chains they are involved in, and also as a means to see food and nutrition vulnerabilities among the population.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
The children aged 32, 37 and 44 yo now have their own families, and their parents 67 and 68 yo. The dietary diversity of these households is nine which reflects the healthiness and diversity of the food environment. An empowered household making Pinggang Pinoy® a lifestyle choice nurtures a generation with the same perception. With a healthy, inclusive and sustainable food environment, fruit trees surround the neighborhood, and home gardening comes to life—a mandate of the barangays in response to the supply-side of improving access and availability of indigenous fruits and vegetables. With the province-supported supply-side initiatives, fortified products, and biofortified crops (Vitamin A, zinc-, iron-rice) make its way to small retail stores and supermarkets thus to our homes, adding color and nutrition to everyone’s plate. Our traditional small markets offering diverse food options are more accessible with a barangay-facilitated information system to track their supply chain. Whether you purchase from a hawker, street vendor, carinderia, retail store, or food chain, there’s the trust that everyone is sourcing the ingredients from the province-regulated agricultural network and food industry. With the demand for improved food systems, agricultural innovations and modernization take place—the agricultural workers join the government in rethinking ways to be more productive amidst climate change. With an increased demand for healthy fresh produce, a delivery system is made to reach the farthest barangays. With the informed citizens and more regulated food industry, food corporations and restaurants become accountable to make food labels transparent and practice fair trade with local farmers. The food industries are encouraged to join the movement of serving according to responsible consumption. A food swamp becomes a place where being nourished outweighs the bill of merely eating. There are no more food deserts because the distribution channels become equitable.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
In a demand-driven local economy, the government, food industries, small-scale food providers, agricultural workers, researchers, and commoners work together to ensure that the supply from the wider food system, and food environment, meet the demand for a healthy and sustainable diet.
It becomes a lifestyle choice to have a healthy and sustainable diet in a barangay or community with responsive, inclusive and sustainable food environment.
By working towards healthy, sustainable, and inclusive food environments, and food systems, we nourish and regenerate food deserts and food swamps--reaching the farthest and far-flung communities. Far convincing than what the Green Revolution promised—our vision stands, educating and nourishing the people and planet outweighs the idea of just feeding them. And it all begins in the home and barangay.
There are indications that as early as 2040, the Philippines will enter the mature stage of development. For a first-class province like Laguna, this entails income growth, rapid urbanization and changes in the size and age distribution of the population, with a median age of 26. Also, like the direction of the Philippines, the majority of the people in Laguna will become urban dwellers who’ll be mainly involved in trade, manufacturing and call center jobs. We see evolving work types and fast-paced movements. Strongly, we see the demand for convenient food increases, and our demand and appetite for animal-based diets will increase. We don’t need to worry.
Our vision inspires local solutions to province-wide food insecurity and nutritional inequality. The household as the smallest unit of the society, and the barangay as the smallest administrative unit of the Philippine Local Government System play a central role in the realization of the vision. Our culture is centered on the family. Our history and government code have it, that the barangay is a powerful decision-making body at the local-level that functions on crucial pillars—agriculture, health and nutrition, environment and sanitation, livelihood, education and culture, infrastructure, transportation and communication, women’s and family affairs, and youth.
Our diet is based on Pinggang Pinoy®, a high-quality, healthy and sustainable diet that we source from our home garden, neighbor's backyard, street vendors, carinderia, supermarket, the nearby retail store, and most from the farmers or local shops—all physically accessible and the products available. Even if there’s an increase in income, the government-facilitated products remain affordable for all.
We envision an empowered and environment-, health- and nutrition-literate Lagunense demanding the government, private entities, and food industries to sustain a healthy and inclusive food environment. We envision the barangay to facilitate that the demands meet the supply from the wider food system. We define such a food environment as space where consumers in the villages with demand for healthy, nutritious, honest and locally-produce food commodity would interact with vendors or markets with enough supplies of such. We envision rural citizens whether in lowland, upland or coastal barangays to live no longer in food deserts. We envision urban dwellers whether average wage-earners or middle incomers to resist food swamps. We envision the Lagunense to steer the direction of the food system from the supply-side of health-deteriorating food commodities and profit-centered food industries to the demand-side of healthy and sustainable diets, and the local economy. We envision that our culture of communal cooking together, eating together, and celebrating together remains.
We see the end of the inter-generational cycle of poverty and food insecurity, and the vicious cycle of malnutrition in the 24 municipalities, six cities, and 674 barangays of Laguna. We start to recognize that both obesity and stunting are products of poor feeding practices as mediated by the hostile food environment. We no longer glorify being obese as the new sexy but a condition that can lead to economic and health burdens. Stunting among children ends here because we begin to recognize that it is reversible and is more of a problem related to the quality of diet rather than as a product of two equally stunted parents. In this digital era of faster network connection and mobile technology, where the spread of misinformation and fake news is unavoidable, the local government units become a reliable source of information. Barangay data banking, education, and digital technology at the grass-root levels are at the heart of the transformation in the villages.
Every barangay, every municipality has different agricultural systems and thus different food commodities to offer. A lack in one barangay is an abundance in another. We see the vigor of the agricultural networks of Laguna— a self-sufficient province and nourished people from the upland, down the coastal and lowland communities—before sending its supplies and produce first to the nearby provinces, then the metropolitan. A province-facilitated information system that can map the geographic locations of the farmers and chart the value chains they are involved in will facilitate this process. Our vision of 2050 is a simple coming together of various innovations in the past since the Green Revolution, but in this era, we envision that the products of these innovations come closer if not inside the food environment of all villages in Laguna. The biofortified crops, the climate-smart crops, and fortified commodities to name a few.
What’s in it for our people? Our vision acknowledges that in the current state of our government, economic disparities will remain. However, our vision hopes for positive spill-over effects from the communities that made it out of poverty to barangays that will continue to thrive below the poverty line. This is the beauty of a province-wide and grassroots-level transformation.
Remember the family of six? It’s lunchtime. And every member is in different dining tables. The couple, now 67 and 68 yo, has on the table: a colorful and tasteful feast of Vitamin A-biofortified rice, sinigang na bangus (slow-cooked tamarind-sour soup with milkfish, tomato, onion, okra, green leafy vegetables, string beans, and radish), and a piece of ripe mango. Magiting, now 32 yo waits for his food in a restaurant near his call center office. The waiter offers him the menu for the day based on the available catch—seafood pasta and fresh mango juice. Mayumi, now 37 yo orders online from the Filipino's fast-food chain, Jollibee. She has on her plate, iron or zinc-biofortified rice, fried chicken, mixed vegetable on the side and fruit juice. Masipag, now 44 yo who works at a manufacturing company is enjoying his lunch in the company canteen, with iron or zinc-biofortified rice, ginisang monggo (sauteed mungbean) with ampalaya, and banana—a free meal provision of the company. They are now parents and choose to work in Laguna. The gain of working in Laguna is the same as working in Manila. Living in rural communities is enticing because livelihoods and agricultural opportunities are many. They don't need to worry about the meals of their school-children because the policy to serve healthier options is being implemented in all food-service providers, more in the school.
We share with the passion of our food street vendors and hawkers in ensuring the year-round availability and accessibility of food-on-stick, dirty ice cream on a cone, or snack delicacies on a banana leaf, known to generations. We share with the joy of our sellers in carinderia of continuously delivering affordable and desirable old recipes, slow-cooked food, and a variety of meals along the roadside. Both have been part of our culture and service to many blue-collar workers. In our inclusive food system, we envision them to source their ingredients from honest and local suppliers, and that they will respond to our call of ensuring food safety for both the consumers and vendors and economic profitability and sustainability for this local business. For the fast-food and large chains of restaurants, we join them in their desire of delivering fast, convenient, and tasty meals at a reasonable price to clients especially in this era of fast-paced jobs. In our healthy and sustainable food system, we take delight in meeting our demand for honest and healthier food choices by following the Pinggang Pinoy®, and recommended portion sizes—entailing that responsible service meets our demand for responsible consumption. In our food environment, we envision to patronize transparent, honest and healthy food commodities as seen in the food labels. For the multinational food companies or food manufacturing industries, we demand to know the source of our food, the ingredients that go to each pack, tin or sachet, its nutritional value and whether it has been approved by our government. We demand the use of fortified ingredients in the products we purchase. As one of the major contributors to plastic waste, we envision that their corporate responsibility vision aligns with our hope of minimizing and eventually eliminating plastic waste in our homes. Those involved in small-scale rice or horticulture farming, livestock or poultry production, and fisheries whether as a farmer, trader or marketer, we acknowledge their role in shaping our agricultural landscape. Our vision recognizes that by creating a space for sustainable food and agricultural systems, we see a reduction in the number of poor and hungry, we become resilient to climate change and we regenerate and preserve natural resources. Our vision of demand-driven local economy calls for a sustainable and equitable value chains that support farmers, traders, and marketers, and help them continue the business in a profitable, responsible, and sustainable manner. We envision a modernized system of producing, distributing and handling our produce.
It’s the village, not countries that will make a regenerative and nourishing future. The people at the grassroots know better. The barangay-level or grassroots-level approach recognizes that local solutions have great potential to address the systemic problem. And this is the call for the government. It is more probable that the lack of knowledge on the existence of food deserts and food swamps, and its implications to the economic and health of the population, and lack of acknowledgment on the impact of climate change drives the inaction of the government to change the landscape of the food system or create policies to reduce environmental impact. Far convincing than what the Green Revolution promised—our vision stands, educating and nourishing the people and planet outweighs the idea of just feeding them. And it all begins in the home and barangay.
How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?
Describe how your Vision developed over the course of the Refinement Phase.
The story of Mayumi has reached a global audience, but there’s no better success than engaging Lagunense during the refinement phase. We recognize the agri-industrial cum eco-tourism strategy of the provincial government, and the transition foresight of Districts 1 and 2 into an urbanized cluster; Districts 3 and 4 keep its economic activities in agriculture and eco-tourism. Our vision leverages on existing innovations and recognizes the need for policy coherence. During refinement, we listened to many food system stakeholders. Our shared aspirations for the future and fear due to uncertainties bring a transformative yet sustainable approach to shape our future food system. Our vision remains true to the role of villages and local government, which in times of COVID-19 has stood up to sustain the operations of the food value chain. The vision is refined by many visionaries who see themselves as elders in our 2050 food system—resilient for the next pandemic, empowering, and nourishing.
Please provide the names of all organizations you meaningfully partnered with to develop this latest version of your Vision (they contributed at least 10 hours of time to the Vision development during the Refinement Phase).
Our vision operates in four core strategies and is aligned with the mandate of institutions we partnered with.
Agri-food value chain innovation: Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR)
Food industry innovation. World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature- Philippines and Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST)
All contribute to Food Systems Data Management and Advocacy, Communication and Education, together with The Provincial Government of Laguna (PGL), and the College of Human Ecology, University of the Philippines Los Baños (CHE, UPLB).
Describe the specific steps you took during the Refinement phase to include different stakeholders to develop your Vision, including a description (age, profile, and total number) of the stakeholders engaged, and how you engaged with each.
Mapping out and stakeholder engagement were implemented to ensure stakeholders’ involvement in our vision. Key actors in shaping the food system of Laguna were identified. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual interviews, meetings, and online surveys were conducted.
The consumer-stakeholders from the four districts were respondents to an online survey and as participants to a lunch plate photo collection activity. A total of 272 survey respondents (19 to 76 years old); 30 young professionals (20 to 35 years old) and 42 parents (on behalf of their 6 to 12 years old children) who submitted photos were included (N=344). The majority are professionals; some work in service and sales-related activities, agriculture, and elementary occupations. Seven out of 10 respondents are females.
The stakeholders along the agri-food value chain and food industry were involved through the follow the food path activity. Interviewed about their experiences in the businesses were farmers in crop and livestock production, and in fisheries (n=29); and those involved in trading and marketing (n=15). They are 25 to 68 years old, and 60% are males. Stories during the pandemic were also obtained from eight additional stakeholders.
Perspectives on the food system of Laguna, before and during COVID, and aspirations of the 2050 scenario were elicited from barangay (village) leaders (n=6), various municipal (n=10) and provincial (n=6) offices through informant interview. Stakeholders are 28 to 62 years old with equal gender representation.
Stakeholders from the academe (professionals and graduate students), and two food and nutrition system experts provided feedback on the vision. UPLB units, national agencies, and international organizations working along the food value chain, including food companies were also contacted. Virtual meetings were held with eight out of 16 institutions. Five became our partners and participated in different phases of the vision refinement.
What signals and trends did you draw from to inform your Vision? Please provide data or examples that back up each signal or trend.
Climate and hazards. The farmers we interviewed claimed to experience the effect of changing climate--a warmer temperature, heavier rainfall, drought, and flooding.
Economic development. Laguna is moving positively towards economic development over the next years. There exist gaps between economic and social classes, as more middle- to high-income households live in Laguna. Our projection based on findings and trends indicates that District 1 and 2 become industrialized while District 3 and 4 remain to engage with agricultural activities. Whilst the difference in economic strategy, the four districts continue to develop and contribute towards the goal of Self-sufficiency in the Province.
Land use, Natural Resource, and Settlement. The influx of population will increase in Districts 1 and 2 due to migration brought about by economic opportunities in the province. The province has to prioritize land conversion or vertical development in the urban districts.
Basic facilities. The province has not achieved 100% coverage for electricity, water, and sanitation, but will likely to achieve in 2050 with alternative energy being a trend in some parts of the province. External linkages (transport, road network, and railway) of the Province continue to develop, thus become more accessible.
Diet and Consumer behavior. From the trend of ultra-processed food and eating away from the home, the food consumption of people has drastically changed due to the pandemic and will remain in the post-pandemic scenario. Home gardening has become a family affair. Appreciation towards growing your own food has intensified during the lockdown. People have become aware of the importance of the role of food-value chain actors.
Government efforts. Government programs are geared towards intensified agricultural production, mechanization, and funding for agricultural services, and likely to continue during the term of the current administration. Local government units have taken a central role in keeping the operations of the food value chain and will remain the key factor in ensuring the community is well-prepared for the next pandemic.
New food market and delivery system. Due to limited mobility, mobile markets and trade centers of various agri-fishery produce have been launched to improve food access and availability. Informal sectors and food industries lose livelihood during the pandemic while food delivery has been on the rise to facilitate contactless activities.
The digital era. Numerous daily activities have shifted online. E-commerce and online shops thrive during these times, and likely to become the new norm. The rise of digital technology and the central role of data management information system has never been important to deliver necessary information and facilitate connected networks in the food value chain. Internet access, mobile applications, and gadget become invaluable.
Describe a “Day in the Life” of a key food system actor within your food system in 2050 (e.g., farmer, chef, supply chain actor, food policy actor, etc.).
I am Mayumi, a 37-year-old woman, a middle-income worker, wife, and mother. I live with my husband, who tends our family farm, and our 12-year-old boy, a 9-year-old boy, and 5-year old-girl children, in a quaint house in Calamba City, a sprawling urban city in the province of Laguna.
It’s Friday morning. I am preparing the breakfast of my family: fried egg from the free-range chicken brought by her husband from our farm, chicken soup, and rice.
Before that, I also looked at our family food garden. We have plants and herbs in our house that provide food in our backyard. This is aside from the produce that we get from our farm, and what we buy from the market.
I have also prepared my lunch that I shall bring to the office and the lunch that my kids will bring: bulanglang (squash, stringbeans, eggplant, okra, and saluyot), organic chicken adobo, iron biofortified rice, and pineapple. I must ensure to have vegetables, fruits, meat and rice or other crops, and water. My children know when one item is missing.
I am using an app to monitor their daily intake and growth.
And off to school, the kids go, off to the farm my husband, and me, off to work. I am a manager at a semiconductor manufacturing company here in Calamba. It’s a good decision to work here than to go to Metro Manila—the benefits and salary are the same, and I get to enjoy my time being a mother. Today, at work I shall do my regular checks of our assembly line in the morning, followed by a meeting with people from our company’s head office in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, my husband goes to our farm. He has hydroponics and vertical farming since our farm is in District 1, an urbanized and industrialized area. We also have organic poultry with free-range chickens. Decades ago, the government initiated this kind of technology and the policy on what to grow in urban districts. Thankfully, our agriculturists and scientists were able to develop high quality and nutrient-dense varieties that can withstand the test of changing weather conditions.
And after a couple of hours, it’s time to go home. I am fetching my kids from school. For sure, they are all dirty, it’s Friday and it’s planting and harvest day for them in the school garden. They are served with snacks as well from the produce they harvested. I am happy the schools reinforce eating nutritious food. There is even a subject on agriculture.
We’ll go to the community market to buy the missing items in my pantry. For our trip this weekend, we are set to visit Pandin Lake in San Pablo, the underground cemetery of Nagcarlan, and the slipper shops in Liliw. We’ll get some local delicacies being sold by the local entrepreneurs of Nagcarlan, too. We’ll bring them to my parents – my kids’ grandparents – on Sunday. I wonder what my mother is planning to cook for our usual weekend lunch.
While on our way home, my little girl said she wanted fried chicken from a fast-food restaurant for dinner. She says their ads on TV and on her tablet convinced her that it is delicious. These advertisements never changed! I, too, was convinced of that story when I was a kid.
I told her that we have food in our home, we’re having chicken pasta for dinner and she has to squeeze the calamansi (Philippine Lemon) for the juice. She and her brother got excited. So we all arrive at home, and we prepare dinner. My husband prepares the ingredients, and the kids set the table. Tonight, we are having chicken pasta, mixed greens, and juice prepared by my kids. Funny how we can experiment on our dinner when we’re together. After we eat, it’s time to go to bed.
As we lay down beside each other, my husband shared how he thinks about the new governmental policies in agriculture. He mentioned that the government contacted their cooperative for a town hall meeting. Maybe it’s about the harvest season or the use of drones and robots in farming.
They are now more responsive to the demands of the farmers and key stakeholders, he says. There are more available technologies to choose from, and the government is ready and very able to assist.
I am more optimistic today than decades ago when I watch my parents toil our land. I think of my brother who after losing his job in the Metro Manila, was able to enroll in an agriculture training program in Laguna, and now is working in the cattle farm that supplies milk to coffee shops and to schools.
I think of Magiting, he’s working in the provincial government. His IT skills are superb that he maintains the website of the province on the food supply chain. My parents are already in retirement. Good thing the government provides full social security to farmers.
Our food is more diverse now. I have economic freedom, and I feel empowered to make decisions as a mother, a worker, a consumer, and as a woman. And this is the kind of power I wish my kids will get in the coming years. All families deserve healthy food on our tables.
Remember Mayumi, Magiting, and Masipag?
They're doing pretty good in Laguna, Philippines. Read the story of Mayumi and how she enjoys the life of being empowered mother, worker, consumer, and woman thriving in healthy, sustainable, and inclusive food environments, and food systems.
Environment | How will your food system of 2050 adapt to climate change and remain resilient?
The temperature is warmer, the amount of rainfall is heavier, drought and flooding are more difficult, and natural calamities are more frequent. The agriculture sector and food system are now more threatened and face severe challenges. The negative impacts of farming practices have cascaded to multiple unfavorable scenarios in our food system. However, our food system in 2050 is more resilient than ever.
It starts from the plate. The diversity and nutrition on our plate every single meal regardless of location and class reflects the agricultural biodiversity, varied landscapes, and natural resource capital of the Province. Our demand for diverse and healthy diet calls for sustainable and diversified agri-food value chain activities.
It continues on the farm. Farmers adopt sustainable agricultural practices that do not depend on the best-selected seeds, chemicals, synthetic fertilizers, or mechanisms offered by big agribusinesses. Farmers increase livestock and pasture productivity through efficient use of foraging grounds, improved feed quality, and veterinary care. There is a gradual transition to regenerative, agroecological, and integrated approaches like agroforestry, permaculture, circular farming, and organic farming. Such integrated systems are useful for small farm systems and ensure that Laguna de Bay remains productive and healthy.
The aim of our food system is to keep the traditional knowledge of farmers, rebuild soil health and protect soil biodiversity through reducing the use of chemicals, lower greenhouse gas emissions from synthetic fertilizers, and promote efficient water management through smart irrigation technologies, and water conservation systems such as rainwater harvesting. Diversity in farming systems and working with nature build resilience in the farming systems through economic independence from the extra costs of chemical inputs, more profitable business, close loop systems with nutrients recycling and micro-climate management within the farm, and increase resilience against diseases and weather instability.
It invites private-public and community-concerted efforts. Economic development and urbanization are inevitable. As District 1 and 2 move towards industrialized development, and District 3 and 4 remain as agricultural and eco-tourism areas, the local government units, and the private sector work together towards protection and creation of greener industrial parks where nature and industrial infrastructure co-exist.
Laguna is rich with research institutions that work on climate-smart and climate-sensitive technologies that can be used in the agri-value chain. To meet the demand for diverse food options, various innovations must be employed as farming systems adapt to demand. Such innovations aim to improve crop breeding suitable for warmer temperatures, rethink how production systems work, reclassify areas hardly hit by climatic changes where it becomes impossible to grow crops and design technology that tracks climatic events. The urban cluster is assisted for maximum utilization of spaces and efficient use of finite resources (rooftop-gardening, hydroponics, and container gardening) for food production which leads to self-reliance and minimum dependency to food trade between provinces that also minimizes transport carbon emissions. Diversity in collaborators and partners bring multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary ideas and actions in building a more resilient future.
It calls for local government action. Laguna has strengthened enforcement of development plans that ensure the protection of environmental resources, improves peri-urban mobility and economic opportunities, and creates avenues for green infrastructures. These plans are Resource/ Production, Environment Protection, Settlement, Infrastructure, and Disaster Preparedness and Climate Change Adaptation. Diverse and concerted government actions work towards efficient natural resource management and land use, reduce food loss and waste, and ensure access to innovations that increase productivity and income among food value chain actors.
The transformative role of data. Data is a powerful tool to build climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. The use of mapping systems and data from the ground serve as a basis for decision making, policy development, and are used as projection and foresight for mitigation and adaptation. The lessons learned in the past decades are collected and compiled in an open-database system, the Food Systems Data Management with a mobile application to make it accessible.
Diverse data collected along the agri-food value chain includes crop, fisheries, and livestock biodiversity, production systems and cultural management, food loss and food waste, land use and tenure, long-term climate adaptation, and marketing and trade. These data enable policymakers, businesses, and farmers to bring about huge investments in local and regenerative strategies of sustainable land and water use.
Diets | How will your food system of 2050 address malnutrition in all its forms (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency, metabolic disease) for the people living there?
By diversifying diets, ensuring major staples are fortified, making food commodities affordable, eliminating saturated and trans fats, high salt and free sugar in the food supply chain, and guaranteeing a lifecycle approach in program implementation, we can address undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and metabolic disorders.
It starts in the first 1,000 days. A lifecycle approach is applied in the implementation of nutrition and health programs in Laguna—ensuring a strong foundation for every child through proper maternal and infant and young child nutrition. Nutrition-specific interventions complement nutrition-sensitive programs.
It continues on the plate. As a food-based dietary guideline for a general population, Pinggang Pinoy® evolves to highlight the quantity, quality, diversity, and safety of the diets appropriate for all age groups. With this guide comes a demand for more legumes and nuts; more fish and seafood with a considerable amount of chicken, pork and beef; more fruits and vegetables; more alternatives for white rice; fresher and whole food; and less saturated and trans fats, salt and free sugar. The diversity of our 2050 diet ensures diversity in nutrient intake of each individual, thus ensuring uptake of diverse nutrition and health benefits.
The food environment takes center stage. It is essential to make the food environment a venue where following PP® becomes a lifestyle choice.
Availability and accessibility. The food system of 2050 is a buffet of healthy and diverse local and indigenous produce of Laguna. Energy-giving food expands to varied choice of rice (heirloom, brown or unpolished, red-purple-or-black, and yellow rice); roots and tubers (cassava, sweet potato and yam), whole grains, rice products, and bread; Protein-source food includes legumes and nuts, freshwater fishes and seafood, chicken, and a small amount of pork, sometimes beef. Indigenous vegetables and upland salad vegetables come in many, along with local high-value fruits such as pineapple, lanzones, rambutan, and mango to name a few. Nutrition-sensitive efforts like biofortification and diversifying the diets are efforts to nudge the population towards eating healthy.
Vendor and product properties. Our mixed food systems whether in urban or rural clusters diversify our food sources, from the home garden, a public market in the municipality/city, neighborhood market, supermarket, online shops, community garden.
Prices and affordability. Whilst price and taste are the drivers of food choice, making fresh and healthy foods more affordable is the game changer to create initial significant demand force to shift from highly processed food. The food industry can lead the public health goals by ensuring the supply, marketing, and retail of nutrient-rich foods at economical prices.
Desirability and Convenience. Our behavior and knowledge towards PP® and healthy diets start in the home. Home gardening becomes normal, which contributes to household food security and consequently develop the family’s healthy eating habit. In the community, the youth are involved in farm-education programs and income-generating projects. In schools, student’s agriculture and farming activities are part of the curriculum; the school feeding programs source ingredients from the school gardens and use fortified products. Sustainable tourism is promoted, ensuring the promotion and use of local and seasonal produce, offering healthier options, and minimizing waste at dining.
Marketing and regulation. The food system shapes the food demand, though people make the final choices on food and diets, these are often influenced by food markets. Changing the mindset of food markets towards nutritious food and improving people’s access to wider food choices change the view of food. Our food system keeps up with marketing and encourages the use of front-of-pack labeling. Regulation in the marketing of food products and the use of health and nutrition claims are in full implementation. Fiscal mechanisms on healthy diets are adapted like taxation on the sugar-sweetened beverages.
It is calamity-ready. For a country in a hazard zone, it is fundamental to include nutrition and lifecycle interventions in emergency preparedness plans. In addition, the development of varied, nutritious, readily available, and culturally acceptable foods for emergencies ensure that amidst any pandemic, our people remain healthy.
The transformative role of data. We need to continually understand the relation of diets to health and nutrition outcomes. The Food System Data Management collects data on diet and nutritional status, food environment, cultural and social aspects, and demography. These data can be used in policy recommendations to facilitate the delivery of healthy diets for better nutrition and health outcomes.
Economics | Where and what will the jobs be that support living wages in your future food system of 2050, and how will these jobs impact gender equality?
Laguna is operating in a mixed food system. As the gap between economic classes continues in 2050, food retail and informal workers in the food value chain comprise the workforce. Our food system boosts local economies by enabling the government, food industries, small-scale food providers, agricultural workers, researchers, and other stakeholders to maximize income generation from diverse food production systems, and equitable distribution.
It starts from the plate. Our preferred diets open opportunities to develop an efficient food value chain system aligned with current demands for diverse and nutritious food. When agricultural enterprises flourish it opens other opportunities for employment boosting the economy. This strengthens local enterprises like food processing and other small-scale livelihood industries such as a backyard or small-scale livestock.
It tells the tale of the urban and rural clusters. Smallholder farmers that provide the majority of the food we get remain in business. As it is quite impossible to do full mechanization, more people are employed in agriculture and small scale businesses. Districts 3 and 4 are major agricultural areas and employ people in diverse farming systems, crop production, fisheries, and livestock, as well as agriculture-based cottage industries. The urban district although mostly engaged in manufacturing and electronic industries employs a small quantity of agri-food value chain workers.
It provides equal opportunity for women, youth, and the informal sector. Agriculture is a lucrative business for women and young individuals. Women are more involved in taking leadership roles. We see the rise of young entrepreneurs and farm owners. The participation of women, youth, low-income groups, daily wage earners, and the informal sector in agricultural training and businesses open up doors for better opportunities. This change caters to various jobs for traders, marketers, and retailers in formal and informal sectors or businesses.
It goes along the agri-food value chain. In the agricultural production subsystem, professionals are needed to ensure the systemic application of technologies and policies taking into account the rural-urban linkages. This opens more job opportunities for agriculturists, nutritionists, economists, and food scientists, as well as social technologists, urban planners, and development professionals. The linkage between small food producers to mainstream value chain becomes better. Transport change in this era, giving emphasis on the barangay-facilitated system, a network of farmers delivering products to consumers in urban localities. Mobile markets are also organized to reach consumers. Again this opens more employment and strengthens small-scale industries.
In our inclusive food system, we need to ensure that cold-storage facilities are available even in the farthest barangays. This opens a new business thus generate livelihoods. With the diverse agricultural produce, a public-private partnership is needed to develop cold-chain, bulk-chain, and improve post-harvest handling technologies for Laguna.
As Laguna aims for zero food loss and food waste, opportunities to transform these products into productive outputs would generate businesses and add extra income. The postharvest losses and non-food waste are addressed providing new business ventures, for instance, the use of rice straw as biofuel. The transition to sustainable packing leads to the revival of traditional packaging and livelihood to communities. Markets, retailers, street vendors, and small stores are where the majority acquires their food. Online and delivery become normal in urban areas, giving jobs to male-dominated industries. This way, we can ensure an inclusive and diversified market system and improve the accessibility and affordability of food commodities.
It interacts with the existing economy. Many are involved in making the tourism industry in Laguna "a brand" and more sustainable. Eco-tourism is one of the rising industries in Laguna where people would engage with as well, through restaurants and souvenir outlets. Sustainable tourism is also part of the food system, ensuring that food is sourced from local farmers, processed according to requirements, use eco-friendly packaging, have a nutrition label, and provincial tag detailing the ingredients and fairness in the distribution of revenues along the supply chain. The local manufacturing industry is an important source of income in the Province with both men and women engaged in manufacturing activities like woodcarving, delicacy making, barong embroidery, and others.
The transformative role of data. To ensure social and economic inclusivity, the Food Systems Data Management is crucial. The food systems stakeholders especially the informal sectors must be accounted for, registered, and enrolled in local banks. This opens opportunities in farm-to-table initiatives, and for small-medium enterprises to thrive.
Culture | How will your 2050 food system ensure that the cultural, spiritual and community traditions and/or practices in your Place flourish?
Community tradition in Laguna is centered on agriculture. The diversity in food production is reflected in our cultivated landscapes. Food is the center of gatherings, holidays, occasions, and religious/ritual observance. Filipino culture of eating together or “salu-salo” with family and friends is part of social activity and includes a diverse selection of local delicacies, slow-cooked recipes, and hearty meals.
It starts from the plate. Our identity and history can be seen in the diversity of our food. The Spanish influence is evident especially on our habit of eating rice and using it to make desserts. Our 2050 food plate is a more colorful feast of quality, diverse and safe food coming from our various agricultural food commodities, and regulated food industries.
It is reflected in our agricultural diversity. We continue to enjoy the diversity of our products which becomes more affordable and accessible. Laguna Lake offers a variety of freshwater fish and seafood. Our dry and wet seasons allow us to enjoy local tropical fruits and indigenous vegetables. The revival of forgotten indigenous crops is a celebration of our cultural heritage. We also take pride in our local delicacies and local food manufacturing industries that preserve the recipes of our ancestors.
It is embedded in consumer knowledge and behavior. Food literacy and indigenous knowledge introduced at a young age are important to make the food systems demand-driven. Memories and sensorial experiences begin at home, school, and community. As a child, one should know how the authentic and locally produced cottage cheese tastes like, how varieties of rice differ, how to experiment on food pairing, or how processing and preservation save the family from economic changes. Experience, more than knowledge, can shape behavior. Farming (homestead, school garden or community) is a viable platform to embed healthy dietary choices in the popular culture and can be used to mainstreaming cultural recipes, celebrating crop diversity and uplifting the contribution of local producers to achieve the PP® for all.
It is ingrained in the past and present. Women, elderly and marginalized communities play a role in the development and preservation of local knowledge and behavior, we engage them as we aim for social inclusivity. Empowerment of these stakeholders, in knowledge, skills, and financial capacity, is as important as creating demand from the middle sector players to ensure no one is left behind. In addition to experiential learning, tapping modern technology to promote healthy food choices could be a huge facilitating factor. There is much opportunity to strengthen behavior change by translating lessons from researches into digestible pieces of information utilizing mobile technology.
It is reflected in our food environment. The food environment decides how people make food choices, prepare, and consume food. Urbanization has encouraged eating away from home however, with sustainable tourism and restaurant business models, we keep the local delicacies and traditional recipes available. The rural cluster keeps the traditional way of the market that serves low-income households. The presence of Municipal Market remains a significant venue where consumers interact with sellers. Through the barangay-facilitated system, local farmers can sell their produce either in talipapa (local makeshift market) or directly to consumers. The more urban cluster utilizes supermarkets, and many online applications to deliver food but the contribution of traditional markets and retail stores remains.
It is mirrored in our celebrations, spirituality, and traditions. Many festivities related to good harvests are celebrated in Laguna. Anilag Festival, the mother of all festivals in the province, centers on thanksgiving for the prosperity of the thriving agriculture, and it showcases the unity and teamwork among farmers’ cooperatives. Different local products are promoted; it is also a blend of cultural, historical, and religious celebrations.
It is emulated in our tourism and livelihood. The majority of the livelihoods in Laguna are centered on agriculture and eco-tourism. Cultural syncretism and diffusion, mixing, and spreading of culture are inevitable. The province's beautiful landmarks, culture, and history are rich eco-tourism industries that generate employment aside from the opportunity to promote healthy living. Through these marketing of souvenirs and pasalubong like candies, cottage cheese, buko pie, and local fruits in which the province is very rich would help culture preservation and promotion.
The transformative role of data and Advocacy, Communication, and Education. Understanding the drivers that influence the diets, documenting traditional food knowledge, habits and practices, old recipes, touristic and cultural sites open the opportunity for preservation and education.
Technology | What technological advances are needed to transform your food system into one that meets your goals and embodies the values of your Vision in 2050?
As District 1 and 2 moves to a more industrialized cluster, and District 3 and 4 upgrade its agricultural and eco-tourism economy, the technological needs of both are more likely to differ. What unites them is the diet that guides the food value chain.
It starts from the plate and the food environment. Price and taste are drivers of food choice, secondary to consumer knowledge on healthy and sustainable diets. The move to a localized and personalized Pinggang Pinoy® becomes one of the popular innovations. The drop on average time spent preparing a meal and drive for convenience are added factors among the urban population, an opportunity for the food industry to design dish-based PP® products.
The use of digital technology and mobile applications enables information dissemination, along with nutrition counseling, labeling, and detecting fraud in the food chain. Urban cluster sees the use of many online applications to deliver fresh produce, and quick meals, with a small contribution of traditional markets, convenience stores, retail stores, and supermarkets. Both clusters utilize the province online platform where one can see the flow of produce from one municipality to another.
We accommodate the shift in purchasing habits, especially in urban centers. Online purchasing and subscription buying through barangay-facilitated system enable registered farmers in District 3 and 4 to sell their products to consumers in District 1 and 2, on a twice-a-week basis.
It runs along the value chain. Food system players are empowered and assisted by the local government through mobile technology that maps formal and informal sectors like retail stores, hawkers, vendors, and food outlet owners. Through this innovation, they can avail of local government assistance like financial support and food and product handling and development. The local government units also use this technology in promoting diverse agricultural products and one-town one product initiatives, as well as to create linkage from farmers to local government or farmer direct to consumer.
Food is transformed to cater to the taste of consumer and their clamor for the use of whole primary products and environmentally sustainable and alternative packaging.
The provincial government continues improving farm-to-market roads, upgrading and maintenance existing roads and bridges connecting urban centers with adjoining rural areas to ensure to reach the farthest areas and include them to subsidies and technology transfer. Local government support farmers and producers through subsidized cold-chain, bulk-chain, and post-harvest technologies. These technologies enable efficient handling of food and other produce that prevent food losses and waste and avoid the creation of food deserts.
The province partnered with various technology demonstrations for modern farming and crop care technology initiatives, to include hybrid high-value crops, the grow-out culture of fish, or hatchery technique. Lagunense intensifies the program on Agriculture Mechanization, integrated diversified farming systems model, the revival of indigenous crops, the adaptation of plant breeding that is climate-smart and climate-sensitive, technologies like rain-water harvesting, and use of weather forecast, estimate of rainfall and drought resilience against diseases.
It ensures social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Through partnerships with research institutions, agriculture technology innovators, energy players technologies are developed that enhances empowerment particularly of women, youth, and the differently-abled. It allows for alternative and efficient energy (biogas, solar-powered irrigation systems) to be used by the food systems industry. We capitalize on the participation of the marginalized sector as valuable players to use and assist in developing technological innovations and prototypes. Agro- and eco-tourism in the Province promote environmental sustainability through alternative and green packaging technologies. Engineers and architects in the province apply green infrastructure and architecture to build energy-efficient establishments.
The transformative role of data. The open-source barangay-based food systems management system capture data that connects the farmers and other agricultural producers to local government units, and consumers. It leverages the available technology in the province like the use of a Geographic Information System to assess land suitability use, mapping of industries, and identifying hazard zones. This could expand to the inventories of supply or produce by each farmer which can aid in rationing to different markets throughout the province. This allows the promotion of circular and sustainable agricultural systems at the local level and results in traditional small markets offering diverse food options which are more accessible with a barangay-facilitated information system to track their supply chain.
Policy | What types of policies are needed to enable your future food system?
Our food system leverages the existing fundamental policies and laws already passed to protect the natural reserves, environment, Laguna Lake, and agricultural lands. Strategies are also in place in different provincial offices tasked with different sector roles such as in agriculture, education, tourism, health, and nutrition from the provincial level down to municipal and barangay levels. Both policies and institutional frameworks must be coherent in our vision of regenerative and demand-driven local food systems.
It starts from the plate (Consumer) and food environment. Pinggang Pinoy® remains the national guide of a local, healthy, and sustainable diet. It continues to influence policy directions and necessitates collaboration and compliance from the food industry sector, households, school cafeterias, farmers, and other business enterprises from micro, small, and medium businesses. What we see in the plate is a depiction of law that has a high regard for individual health and nutrition; incentivizes no food loss and waste; encourages home-grown foods through strengthened Food Always in the Home program; promotes well-being in the school and workplace; and inspires small business to assist the government in its implementation of the sale of fortified, retail diversity, and suggested retail price and availability.
It continues in the food value chain. The agriculture sector, policymakers, and other stakeholders works together to adopt sustainable and environmentally supportive agriculture and food system. Our vision ensures efficient management and effective governance of Laguna de Bay and other bodies of waters within Laguna, and work together with local government unit on land conversion and help create policies that improve search and development of productive agricultural lands.
It is also crucial to create food loss and waste reduction targets, and enact a policy that puts household and restaurant accountable to lessen food waste, and provide monetary incentives; along with seeking all part of the value chain (production to retail) to minimize food loss.
It ensures coherence with national policies and highlights local-level initiatives. Aside from national mandates, Laguna has at least 50 laws and policies related to environment stewardship and efficient water and land use. These policies aim to regulating or minimizing conversion and re-classification of remaining agricultural lands in the province, reducing natural and manmade destruction of natural resources, and minimizing population pressure or forest occupancy in the upland. These policies are also coherent with policies that are implemented from the national down to the barangay level.
It ensures social inclusivity. Local food systems policy creates an enabling environment that hastens social inclusion, particularly the indigenous and marginalized communities. Socially inclusive programs can be in the form of relaunching of Bagsakan Center (Makeshift market place); sourcing or procurement of all farm produce from Lagunense farmers; livelihood and technology automation for the micro- small and medium enterprises; use of technology as in the development of barangay-based open source platforms that linkages agricultural producers to consumers; provision of subsidies for start-up capital and other financial grants; and various agricultural extension services with different programs from soil health to seed subsidies and self-sufficiency program on rice and integrated pest management.
There is also a need for policies to enjoin the youth, women, marginalized and informal sectors in training and capacity development activities in order to diversify the workforce and to provide more livelihood in farming and agricultural systems.
It aims for sustainable operation. To enable sustained food systems operation, the local government units must consider the creation of local food systems task force. The task force is composed of inter-agency personnel from the local government with members from the public sectors, community-based farmer or fisherfolk associations, academe, and private business sectors. To avoid redundancy in the creation of the task force, local government units can opt to include the function of the food systems task force within the development committees headed by the agriculture office in collaboration with the health and nutrition office.
The transformative role of data. The use of barangay based management information system that helps identify all constituents and all vulnerable groups; enumerate available lands for appropriate classification; and enumerate products in the barangay and the farmers (supporting rice, vegetable farming system, livestock, and poultry production, and fishing operations to increase economic profitability of farmers and distributors) will be the basis for the local government and all stakeholders to create innovations and promote equitable and inclusive food systems.
Describe how these 6 Themes connect with and influence one another in your food system.
The connectedness of the six themes in our food system revolves around “diversity”—from the diet, celebrations, farming systems, food sources, workforce, and menu options for technology and policy adaption.
An empowered Lagunense uses Pinggang Pinoy® as a guide for his food purchase and consumption. PP® has evolved as a food-based dietary guideline that recognizes planetary, health, and economic impact of the diet, and at the same time celebrates biodiversity and culture of the local community. With stronger consumer-demand for diverse, healthy and sustainable food commodity, our diet expands to include more legumes and nuts; more fish and seafood with a considerable amount of chicken, pork and beef; more fruits and vegetables; more alternatives for white rice; more fresh and whole-food; and less saturated and trans fats, salt and free sugar. Diversity, moderation, and safety of the diet along with the life-cycle approach in program implementation lead to better nutrition and health outcomes.
Our diet is a celebration of our agricultural biodiversity, and celebrations around harvests of local and indigenous produce. Food literacy and experiential learning with our grandparents and community elders shape our knowledge and behavior towards food and traditions. Our many food acquisitions have ingrained social and cultural influences—from our fruit trees and backyard garden, to food hawkers, retail stores, and makeshift public market.
The feasibility and cost of producing high quality affordable raw ingredients necessary to complete PP® is highly dependent on climate change and the state of our natural resources. To meet this demand requires recognition of the role of the food environment in shaping diets, equity in the food-value chain, and the gradual transition of the food system activities to smart and regenerative strategies of sustainable land and water use, and strong implementation of policies and regulation around food. To facilitate this transition, food system stakeholders must have equitable access to innovations (technical, institutional, technology, financial, policy, and regulations) that favors increased productivity within the resources’ regenerative capacity, and increased income among food value chain actors.
Laguna’s food system strengthens local economies by enabling the government, food industries, small-scale food providers, agricultural workers, researchers, and other stakeholders to maximize income generation from all parts of the food-value chain. The increasing demand for diverse and local food commodities and the revival of forgotten crops along with better access to innovations invite new business ventures and workforce to operate. Likewise, the drive of the government for smarter and greener technology for food production especially in the urban areas opens new opportunities for labor. Our food system also recognizes the role of the informal sector, youth, and women in all parts of the food-value chain.
Describe any trade-offs you may have to make within your system to attain your Vision by 2050.
Our envisioned food system transformation for Laguna is more of restoration, renewal, revival, and reinforcement, less of trade-offs.
The practice of regenerative agriculture among small-holder farmers, which is central to transformation in the production side would deliver economic, health, and environmental benefits. It favors a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, reverse climate change, improve soil, and improve crop nutrition and yield. Likewise, smart technologies such as community-initiated rooftop gardening and hydroponics as a complementary food source to feed the growing population in the urban districts provide many returns for the people and the environment.
In our vision to diversify food commodities, the types of production systems must be diversified as well. This means supporting farmers through access to innovations and ensuring the market for their products, and in turn, increasing profit, boosting local economies, preserving traditional knowledge and seeds, nurturing biodiversity, improving soil health, and improving nutrition.
As a climatically hostile region, farmers need climate-smart technologies. Although it would incur costs, this would build resilience in the food-value chain.
Our vision to tackle food losses and wastes from farm to plate opens new markets, increases economic gains for the food system actors involved, and increases the amount of food for consumption. However, negative social outcomes and inconvenience are inevitable from other members of the food chain mainly from retail, food outlets, and households.
Making the food systems equitable through access to innovations (i.e. technology, technical support or capacity enhancement, institutional framework, financial, and policy and regulations) would benefit the farmers but would mean additional costs to businesses and the government.
While we strive for self-sufficiency, the food system is dynamic, and Laguna is situated at the intersection of many provinces and Metro Manila. The decision to choose between local products but not agroecological produced or agroecological produced but not local products lies in the economic gain of the consumer.
The reinforcement of product reformulation, fortification, and other financing mechanisms to food industries means a big shift for food industries however cascade to many health and nutrition benefits for the people.
Technological advancements in food retail and delivery replace several informal workers in the food retail industry but open new business ventures and livelihoods.
In our attempt to understand the actors, activities, and products of the food system to inform policy and innovations, we are collecting an immense quantity of data that might raise concerns on privacy.
3 Years | Describe 3 key milestones that you would need to achieve within the next three years for your Vision to be on track?
Transforming the BIDANI’s Barangay Management Information System (BMIS) into Barangay Food System Data Management System. The improved BMIS enables the profiling of food system-related information of Laguna. In the first year, we start with our catchment barangays, then covering all 681 barangays towards the end of three years. The stakeholders we engaged during the refinement period serve as case studies to inform the direction of data management in the agri-food value chain. Action-based research facilitates the mapping of the food-value chain actors and activities and understanding the food environment, consumer behavior, and diet. The outcomes of the research and data collection would enable formulating food systems indicators, as well as feeding the data to existing databases at the regional and national levels.
Update dietary guideline, and formulation of advocacy, communication, and education blueprint. With our partners, we provide recommendations for the updating of food-based dietary guidelines based on the data collected through the Food System Data Management System. Also, comprehensive advocacy, communication, and education blueprint is established to inform behavior change strategies across various levels in the food value chain.
Important policy recommendations have to be crafted based on the data collected on food value chains system: (1) existing resource-efficient crops with information on their agronomic characteristics, input requirements, yield performance and quality traits for end-use applications; (2) land-use changes and agricultural development across time to determine shifts in land use and agri-food production within Laguna; and (3) trends on food nutrition and the changes in food production, distribution, and consumption across different demographic conditions in Laguna
Parallel to these technical milestones, we also aim to achieve increased partnership and stakeholders’ involvement and commitment, and successful resource generation.
10 Years | What progress will you need to make—by 2030—that would set your Vision up to become a reality by 2050?
Our progress by 2030 is based on how far our four core strategies have been operating.
The open-source Food System Data Management is up and running. The food system indicators and data from the system serve as a vital tool for development planning and the annual investment planning process.
Advocacy, communication, and education strategies are successful in mainstreaming Pinggang Pinoy® and use as basis in bottom-up food system transformation. At the local level, food systems thinking has been incorporated into the development planning process to support an enabling policy environment for Pinggang Pinoy® adoption.
Both the agri-food value chain and food industry innovations facilitate the following progress: (1) A completed system transformation of the food system. Inclusive and diversified systems on distributed, regional, and local, short supply chains centered around efficient agroecological production, sufficient food consumption, and absolute reductions in energy and material throughput; (2) Institutionalized new and innovative business models. Enable local businesses to generate higher income for all food system actors while keeping consumer prices affordable and products accessible, and improving the delivery of environmental and social benefits; (3) Encouraged more locals to invest in food processing technologies. Strengthen local food systems, and make nutritious foods more available and affordable to local consumers; and (4) Effective quality assurance or standardized control systems. Employing enabling policies, these critical control systems are set up to maintain the quality of fortified foods as they are released in the marketplace, where informal and traditional traders, marketing agents, and retailers are likewise considered important.
If awarded the $200,000 prize what would you do with it?
The prize will be mainly used as start-up money to achieve the milestones during the first three years and to generate increased support and commitment from different stakeholders, partners, and funders to make the Vision a reality by the year 2050.
Sixty-five percent (65%) of the prize or $130,000 prize will be allotted for research activities along with the planned core strategies namely: 1) food systems data management system; 2) advocacy, communication, and education; 3) agri-food chain innovation; and 4) food industry innovation, which BIDANI will implement together with the partner institutions. Each of the four strategies will be given a 10% allotment for personnel services (research personnel and/or graduate students) and maintenance and operating expenses. The remaining 15% will be used to procure a service vehicle.
Twenty percent (20%) of the award or $40,000 will be used to communicate the Vision among stakeholders, and to attract additional partners and funding agencies. Meetings and/or round table discussions among stakeholders will be convened yearly to discuss and update activities. A scientific conference will be held in the 3rd year to share the milestones and findings. These accounts for 10% of the prize. Another 10% will be for lobbying activities and partners’ meetings to generate funds. Prospective funding agencies are international organizations, national as well as international, national, and local NGOs. It is targeted that additional funding is sourced beginning the 2nd year.
Fifteen percent (15%) of the prize or $20,000 will be for administrative related expenses. The prize money will be managed by a foundation authorized by the University that charges a 10% administrative fee. Part of the remaining 5% will be used for the team’s participation in the virtual and in-person accelerator phase, and the completion of the required documents. The rest of the amount will be used for tokens/gifts to stakeholders involved, team members, and partners.
If you are chosen as a Top Visionary, The Rockefeller Foundation would like to share your Vision widely with a global audience. What would you like the world to learn from your Vision for 2050?
"Everyone has the right to food, but no one has the right to eat wrongly." However, social and economic inequalities in our food system and the ignorance of our right to healthier and sustainable food take away the opportunities to make an ethical food choice. We are changing this narrative. As the new generation of empowered people, we strongly believe that we hold the power to imagine, demand, live in, enjoy, and cultivate a regenerative and nourishing future for Laguna.
Our community co-created and local-level four core strategies facilitate the achievement of a demand-driven local economy of healthy, transparent, and sustainable food commodities in Laguna. Our province-wide open-source food system data management system facilitates the profiling and accessibility of food system-related information of the province from plate to farm. Our stakeholder-driven education, communications, and advocacy arm ensure bottom-up food systems thinking, teaching, and decision-making. Our agri-food value chain innovation invites huge investments for local and regenerative strategies of sustainable land and water use. Our food industry innovation ensures increased involvement and commitment in implementing transparent marketing and distribution of affordable, healthier, and sustainable food supply.
Our vision stands, educating and nourishing the people outweighs the idea of just feeding them, and it all begins in the home and barangay.
Please share a visual that communicates the structure and operation of your food system in 2050. Describe the visual.
The movement in the food system starts with the consumer (household), the most important driver, and stakeholders in the food system. There is a divide between urban and rural households in terms of accessibility to various food sources. The most pronounced difference would be the urban and rural food environment where different stakeholders and systems operate.
For the urban household, the availability of food, and accessibility to food sources is technology-driven. For instance, the use of mobile delivery applications and mobile markets. Container gardening, community-initiated rooftop garden, and hydroponics are few innovations to efficiently produce food. The local government, business owners, and retail vendors are the stakeholders in this system.
The rural household has more access to diverse and affordable fresh produce. The many small-holder farmers involved in livestock, crop production, and fisheries shape the rural food environment, along with supply from cultivated sources such as fruit trees and backyard gardens. The government-facilitated delivery system ensures profit gain for the farmers who are the main stakeholders in this system.
The urban district is operated by small and medium enterprises, informal retailers, and businesses involved in food delivery and marketing. While technology allows efficient production of food, most of the food supply of the urban clusters are provided by the agricultural districts. With strong rural-urban linkages and road networks, and cold-chain technology, accessibility, and availability of produce in the urbanized districts are not hampered.
This is the rural district, which is mainly operated by small-holder farmers, traders, the association of farmers, land tenants, and farm owners.
While the urban and rural food environments differ (small dotted circle), the two districts are operating on an overlapping agri-food value chain and food system. The interdependence of the two clusters is evident. And in order to ensure self-sufficiency and the system working, the role of the government, agriculture and food systems task force, knowledge institutions, business, and finance, along with other agencies are equally important.
The provincial and municipal governments, as well as the barangay (village), ensures that the food value chain produces ethical, healthy, and sustainable food commodities.
Next to a home, learning institutions advance the knowledge and skills of individuals on making ethical food choices.
Smallholder farmers who adopted our food system innovations play a key role in ensuring a regenerative future, and healthy and sustainable diets for all.
Small and medium food enterprises, including those operating in the informal food retail industry who adopted our food system innovations, are crucial in making healthy and sustainable food options even away from home. Their direct link with the farmers and other food producers in the food value chain ensures equitable profit for both.
The consumer has the power to create a demand-driven local food system. The upward arrows strongly suggest that the diet based on Pinggang Pinoy® of an empowered individual shapes the food environment and all the subsystems of the food value chain. There are several factors and drivers within our food system, mainly brought about by the institutional and biophysical affectors. The four core strategies exert forces to drive the food system transformation in Laguna to meet consumer demand.
The four cour strategies to realize the vision. These are the forces that will make the food system transformation into more inclusive, sustainable, and healthy one, possible.
The four core strategies have a non-linear relationship to achieve the vision of a demand-driven local economy of healthy, transparent, and sustainable food commodities in Laguna, Philippines.
Our food system operates on different levels with the stronger force coming from the consumer.