February 2, 2023

A Cordilleran beauty queen who is an advocate of urban agriculture is the new poster girl of the Department of Agriculture-Cordillera for highland agriculture.
DA-Cordillera launched the promotion of highland agriculture through reigning Miss Earth Philippines 2020 Roxanne Baeyens from Besao in Mountain Province, with a program at the Baguio Animal Breeding and Research Center on Sept. 3.
With the theme “Cordillera Agriculture Resilient and Beautiful,” the program aims to promote urban dairying, organic native pig raising, arabica coffee production, and chicken production in the region through their new advocate. 
DA-Cordillera Director Cameron Odsey said they partnered with the Igorota beauty queen to promote the region’s agricultural products and to influence and encourage the youth be engaged in agriculture. 
Odsey said Baeyens will now be the new supporter and advocate of the DA-Cordillera in the promotion of urban agriculture initiatives which is implemented through the “Plant, Plant Plant” program that aims to secure food for urban families especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. 
The Cordilleran beauty who was crowned in July 2020 in the first virtual pageant and coronation of the Miss Earth Philippines, believes that she won the crown through her advocacy on urban gardening that she learned and loved from her mother.  
“When I competed in the Miss Philippines Earth, my advocacy was urban gardening inspired by my mother’s home garden that I grew up with. It was to advocate for re-greening our environment in the midst of the fast pace of our urban development that phase out the trees and gardens in my beautiful city,” Baeyens said in her first speech she delivered with a live audience as the reigning Miss Earth Philippines. 
She said that her partnership with the DA-Cordillera is very timely and it could pave a way for more inclusive reach through her Miss Earth platform. “I could open more eyes to live a sustainable life and embrace urban agriculture,” she said.
The Plant Plant Plant program is a good means of inspiring and giving hope to many in their down moments by educating and assisting them with a startup in planting.
“This program will give them the sense of security that they will not get hungry so there are a lot of potential benefits of urban agriculture in general,” she said.
Urban agriculture will not only provide food security but will also help Mother Earth in general. “It makes the air quality better when we plant. It is the hope for the economy in our country that is why I am a strong supporter of agriculture,” she added. 
During the program, Baeyens was immersed in vegetable planting, fruit bearing and coffee tree planting and cow milking demonstrations. 
She also assisted the DA in turning over agriculture assistance to the farmer beneficiaries and other stakeholders such as distribution of native pigs to African swine fever-affected farmers in Benguet, chickens to the urban agriculture practitioners in Baguio City, and milk products to the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Cordillera and frontline workers. 
The event was also graced by La Trinidad Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan, Baguio City Veterinary and Agriculture Office Head Brigit Piok, Benguet Veterinary Office Head Merriam Tiongan, John Bagalawis representing Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, National Dairy Administration Deputy Administrator Farrel Magtoto, and other farmer groups and stakeholders. – Redjie M. Cawis