Based on a vision put forward by founder Henry Sy, Sr., and a program that began in earnest in 2007; SM Foundation mounted simultaneous Urban Farming initiatives last July 7, at the SM City North Edsa Annex and 16 other SM malls. It was a wonderful way to highlight its progress over the years and to celebrate the vision with the strategic government agencies and LGUs that have been such valuable partners over the 16 years.
This Urban Farming initiative is led by the SM Foundation through its Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture Program (KSK-SAP). It’s about uplifting the farmer community, fostering environmental consciousness, food security, and creating livelihood and income opportunities for marginalized urban communities. Through the KSK-SAP, a comprehensive program of urban farming techniques, product development, marketing, and basic accounting are offered in strategically-located field schools.
The KSK program has successfully conducted over 260 sustainable agricultural trainings, benefiting a total of 28,550 farmers. These trainings have taken place in both rural and urban settings, where participants have been exposed to sustainable farming modules that promote the cultivation of nutritious, high-quality vegetables and fruits.
Partnering with the SM Foundation, SM Supermalls, and SM Markets are the following government agencies; the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Tourism, and the Quezon City Government. Each government organization and LGU plays a vital role in maintaining the viability of the program, and so that no stone is left unturned in ensuring its success.
As an example, the SM Foundation has brought SM Supermalls and SM Markets into the picture so that as these urban farmers successfully harvest, they’re given an opportunity to market and sell their produce at the Sunday Markets that are now being held in several malls across the nation. When the produce reaches a volume that goes beyond this Sunday marketing mechanism, the SM Markets offer other alternatives.
It’s about creating integration and circularity so that a mini-economic ecosystem is realized. After all, it can’t be about teaching them what and how to farm and then leaving them with no outlet with which to monetize this harvest. The SM Foundation creates these strategic partnerships so that true income opportunities become part of the overall scenario.
Who would have thought that this vision of Henry Sy, Sr., back in 2007, would have been so uncanny in predicting the mounting problems and issues we face today in agriculture, sustainable food production, food security, and urban development? It’s a vision and dream that those in the SM Foundation are very proud to carry on, and deliver.
SM is in the business of creating a sustainable environment. From being the first to consider renewable energy in mall buildings, to implementing energy-saving devices, we continue to meet significant sustainability milestones.