In celebration of Earth Day this year, a new community pantry distributing seedlings instead of food has been established in Quezon City.
Called “Community Pan-Tree,” this is an initiative of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-National Capital Region.
The pan-tree is located at DENR-NCR’s headquarters in Quezon City and is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
In a Facebook post, the agency said it hopes that this program will encourage residents of Metro Manila to start urban gardening and help them cope with pandemic stress.
“In celebration of Earth Day 2021 and to help Metro Manilans cope with the stress caused by the pandemic through urban gardening and planting, DENR National Capital Region will be establishing a Community Pan-TREE,” it said.
“Inspired by the various community pantries that started sprouting in various areas of the country, DENR National Capital Region’s Community Pan-TREE will be giving away seedlings of fruit-bearing trees and vegetables to those in need. Private individuals and groups who share a passion for urban greening may also donate plants in support of the project,” it added.
DENR-NCR also hoped that this initiative will address the issue of food security in the region, amid the pandemic and the changing climate.
To those who will drop by, the agency advised them to bring their own pots and other recyclable containers. They also reminded residents to observe the mandated minimum health protocols.
In a separate post, DENR-NCR shared photos of people lining up to get seedlings. Seedlings that were distributed include fruit-bearing trees atis, bayabas, bignay, guyabano, and lipote, as well as seedlings of eggplant, tomato, and other vegetables.
In an interview with ABS-CBN, DENR Regional Executive Director Jacqueline Caancan said that their goal is to distribute seedlings several people as possible.
Citing the slogan of the Maginhawa community pantry, Caancan also quipped that their version is: “Magtanim ayon sa kakayahan. Umani ayon sa pangangailangan.”
The official also assured that the agency has plans to establish more community pan-trees in other parts of the region.
“Just as we worry about our health during these times, we also need to worry about the health of Mother Earth. And to restore her health, we must contribute by doing our part as responsible stewards, to plant more trees and reduce our ecological footprints,” she said.
Community pantries spread across Metro Manila and some provinces after organizer Ana Patricia Non started it in Maginhawa Street in Quezon City.
Other similar bayanihan initiatives were also launched after. These include a free online library for literature lovers, a go-to hub for hygiene kits, free breakfast taho and coffee, and a pantry dedicated for delivery riders.