ARC Refreshment Corp. advocates urban gardening program
ARC employees show sample of their vegetable and herb plants using recycled PET bottles as pots. This is part of the company’s new advocacy called ‘My Gulay Garden’, which aims to empower employees to find ways to promote sustainability, environmental awareness, and self-sufficiency. (From L-R Brand Manager Clark Lee, Marketing Head James Loverio, Corp. HR -OD Engagement Manager Dothy M. Bungay, Sustainability Manager Grace Dionisio, Kaybiga Plant Operations Controller Ricardo N. Reyes)
ARC Refreshments Corporation, Inc (ARC) has been at the forefront of corporate social responsibility endeavors since 2012. Its programs foster leadership among youth and providing community support, especially in times of calamities, whether natural or man-made. With the outbreak of the global pandemic coronavirus (COVID-19), ARC mobilized its assets and resources to provide immediate relief assistance, primarily to its employees, business partners and communities where its manufacturing plants operate, as well as to front liners and other sectors affected by the ensuing lockdown. As the country phase in to a “new normal”, ARC envisions an advocacy program that will provide a sustainable way to help and support its employees and the community.
Dubbed as “Tulay ng Pangarap”, ARC’s new advocacy will showcase the company’s resiliency amid the “New Normal” and highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts to solve pressing environment issues, such as plastic pollution, by engaging and empowering the community and key stakeholders to be part of the cause.
Urban gardening program
To kickstart the new advocacy, ARC launched “My Gulay Garden”, which promotes the use of recycled RC Cola PET bottles as plant containers to grow vegetables in urban areas. This urban gardening program started with ARC employees.
“We are happy to announce the launch of our ‘My Gulay Garden’ project in order to add to our government’s call towards food security amid the pandemic. Since more than a month ago, we have engaged all our plants nationwide to do waste composting and vegetable gardening utilizing our recycled PET bottles”, said Mr. Butch Aves, ARC Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President.“All our personnel are also expected to learn from our project to be able to do the same in their homes.”
Ensuring food security is one of the immediate challenges that surfaced during the lockdown. With limited access to transportation and reduced financial capacity, Filipinos tried to find sources for food. With the advent of social media, it only took days before people started posting their backyard gardening projects. It was a reawakening of sorts for the agriculture sector. For newbies, the thought of planting and growing their own garden sounds daunting.
ARC launched a digital training to teach their employees how they can reuse and recycle plastic bottles for their urban gardening project. Since most employees are working from home during the lockdown, they have more time to pursue meaningful projects that will help them become self-sufficient. ARC employees across the country underwent trainings on the methods of composting kitchen waste, yard waste, wastewater treatment sludge and all other biodegradable waste.
ARC employees started growing varieties of vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, okra, sili, pechay, mustasa, and herbs like basil, peppermint, tarragon and java mint.
Engaging the community
ARC also encouraged its employees to be a force of movement in their own communities. By setting an example of how to reuse and recycle plastic bottles for agricultural purposes, ARC employees can show their neighbors techniques and strategies on how to start their own vegetable garden, harvest fresh food for their daily needs and develop a resilient and self-sufficient community.
“We commit to help propagate the project publicly so that more of our countrymen, especially those from the urban areas, can produce their own healthy food during the pandemic, with the hope for it to become sustainable and help achieve food security”, added Mr. Aves.