Urban Rooftop Garden

MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Nothing compares to the look of wonder in children’s eyes as they watch plants grow from seed! OnePlate’s inaugural project, the Urban Rooftop Garden in Manila, was born from a desire to show children living on the street how food is grown, and offer them fresh, organic fruit and vegetables they have never tasted in their lives. 

OnePlate’s first project was to create a rooftop garden built above a foundation that looks after children living on the streets. Designed by a leading horticulturalist to produce enough food to feed 100 children, this urban oasis is now flourishing with more than 20 varieties of fruit and vegetables. But the garden provides more than just food. The children, who often experience trauma from life on the streets, find healing, peace and a sense of purpose in tending their garden.

Ripe red tomatoes, deep green calamansi (Philippine lemon), fresh, sweet spring onions, shining aubergines (eggplants) and the aroma of fresh herbs on the breeze… all of this can be found nestled within this thriving rooftop garden atop a four-storey building in the middle of Manila. 

This is not just a garden, it is an educational and therapeutic space, too. Here, gardening is gradually introduced to children who arrive at the special community organisation housed in the building. These are children who are traumatised after being abandoned and who know nothing but survival. The garden is a peaceful place where they learn to leave behind fear, and the ache of hunger and loss, and begin to hope and dare to dream. Many of the children are captivated by the wonder of horticulture and excited to pursue agriculture.

Due to Manila’s tropical climate, plants can be grown continuously without dying off as they do in the cold seasons of the Australian and British climates, so the Urban Rooftop Garden is always bursting with nutritious food.

The Rooftop Garden was OnePlate’s first ever project back in 2016, and continues to bring joy and wonder, as well as beautiful, healthy food for children in great need. Hope sprouts in unexpected places!

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