How we reach for the sun

  1. Facilitating collective learning

To facilitate the social process of learning and the regular interactions needed to learn, adapt, solve problems together, and share solutions with others, we used the cluster approach. This was used by the farmers in Good Food Community’s network as they transitioned together to organic farming practices, crop planning, and collective marketing, but we adapted the cluster approach to the realities of the project in Payatas. These clusters were intended to help everyone collectively study and learn, make sense of their experience for better results, and coordinate with the other clusters for the concerted pursuit of our objectives.   

There were three clusters, and arrows correspond to areas of frequent interaction or dependencies:

  • Project-team cluster
  • Community cluster (Payatas)
  • Urban-growers cluster

PROJECT TEAM – Regular project team meetings were held via online calls, and updates were done via group chats. Each team member chose aspects of the project that they were interested in being accountable for. Given the largely online nature of the learning and coordination at the project team level, PLM and the growers could not join the team calls because the signal was usually weak and intermittent. It was initially attempted but it proved challenging for the community. A mobilizer on the ground, who is also part of the project team, would visit the community whenever possible, such as during Food Today vegetable drop-offs, and take these visits as opportunities to get feedback, share updates, and address issues that need immediate attention.

Legend:

1 – Operations – Project management; Creation of garden starter kits, modules, and workbook; Documentation of proof of concept and toolkit  development (CoP); Monitoring and evaluation; Fiscal health; Reporting

2 – Community – Coordination with PLM; Overseeing of farmer training and engagement; Community visits and events (graduation, patikim/harvest festival, etc)

3 – PLM – Organizing and mobilization of the community around FTFT; Oversee Kusinang Bayan

4 – Communications – Branding of project; Social media presence; Creation of communications strategy and IEC materials to generate different kinds of support for project 

5 – Partnerships – Identification of possible partners to create two expansion sites in QC for scaling out within 2021; Project sustainability in community (seed bank, composting bank, graduates as trainors), 

6 – Fundraising – Resource the replication of Food Today Food Tomorrow following SF Italy fundraising guidelines, donor engagement/management

COMMUNITY – It is at this level that plans to collectivize the individual training and the micro gardening are discussed and resolved to achieve food security beyond the household level and make sure the project benefits the community and does not inadvertently create haves and have nots.

Recommendations come from the community itself, guided by KADAMAY. Regular interactions were done face to face at the PLM office. While the project was ongoing, PLM was able to realize its long-standing plan of creating an Agroecology Committee, which includes food gardens as an essential element in the urban poor’s struggle for housing and economic rights.  

Legend:

1- PLM Executive Committee + Agroecology Committee

2- Almasiga Cluster leader

3 – Dapdap Cluster leader

4 – Tindalo Cluster leader

5 – Creek Cluster leader

6 – FTFT Project Team rep (Community)

URBAN GROWERS – Twenty urban growers who volunteered to be part of the first batch were divided into four clusters with five members each. Clusters were determined by the urban growers themselves. Given the social aspect of learning, they chose cluster membership according to their proximity to one another so that they could regularly visit each other and share their experiences. This also allowed some members to combine their gardens.  

Four group chats were created with members of each community cluster (those who had mobile connection and/or data), member/s of the FTFT project team, a volunteer agriculturist who can answer questions the growers may have about urban food gardening , and a youth campaigner for food and the environment. Unfortunately the youth campaigners were unable to engage in any of the group chats. Cluster leaders were tasked to make sure that the cluster members supported each other throughout the learning process. 

Legend:

1 – Cluster leader

2 – Urban grower 1

3 – Urban grower 2

4 – Urban grower 3

5 – Urban grower 4

6 – FTFT Project Team rep/s

7 – Volunteer agriculturist

8 – Youth campaigner


(Next: Sample prompts for community learning)

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