I never promised you a rose garden, but it’s worth a try
Proud of their accomplishment, MMDC’s HRAD Manager Roselyn Suante and mess hall keeper Mary Jane Intano are seen in left photo within one of the areas they transformed into a vegetable garden, while right photo shows a bounty of various vegetables they recently harvested.
Helping Marc achieve its goal of becoming leaner and more efficient is something we all take seriously," Marcventures' Human Resources and Administration Department (HRAD) Manager said as she explains how she came up with the idea of gardening. "It was then that the idea of growing vegetables around the campsite came as on offshoot of my desire to help the company reduce its operational costs.”
Suante also explained that her natural fascination for gardens was inspired by the novel "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" -- one of the novels she read and loved as a student then, because as she said, "My name is "Rose" so that novel is close to my heart. Haha!", Suante added with a hearty laugh.
The phrase "I never promised you a rose garden" is another way of saying that something was not guaranteed to be easy especially when the outcome fell short of someone's expectation. Suante said that similar to their goal of realizing the success of this gardening project, she understands that the process will not be easy. This however will not stop her and her team from doing all the means possible so that the desired results will be achieved.
Suante and some MMDC employees may also have just found a fun and productive way to spend their spare time outside work hours through the veggie gardens. The gardens they’ve begun as a hobby are now sprouting from the lawns and vacant areas within the company campsite – and providing part of the mine’s daily vegetable requirements. Little did Suante know that cultivating gardens would eventually bring them other benefits.
Mary Jane Intano, one of the company’s mess hall keepers who employees fondly call "Ate Jane", says gardening gives her “a refreshing and relaxing feeling”. "Every day, I am eager to head to the gardens and water the plants," Ate Jane relates with excitement. "The gardens are just a stone’s throw away (from our work stations). The experience reminds us so much of home. It’s as if we’re just gardening at our own backyard."
Some 10 HRAD personnel voluntarily assist Suante in maintaining the project, “but everyone is welcome to participate in the gardening, especially during weekends,” she points out.
Since they started planting in March this year, they have grown and harvested a variety of root crops and vegetables, such as garlic, cassava, bell pepper, ampalaya, tomatoes, chili, squash, water spinach, eggplant, and okra. Altogether, the garden now produce supplies up to 40% of daily vegetable dietary needs within the mine.
As part of their expansion plan, Suante says members of the garden team are now experimenting on growing carrot, cabbage, lettuce, and cauliflower with the goal of meeting up to 70% of the mine’s vegetable requirements by yearend. They intend to use up all other vacant spaces for gardening if the experiments yield positive results.
When asked about the cost of putting up and running the gardens, Suante explains how inexpensive the whole process is since the seeds are mainly donations of employees from their own gardens at home. Meanwhile, the organic fertilizers they use are excess stocks from the Environment Department’s nursery and rehabilitation activities.
Suante also hopes to grow flowering plants in the coming days to further beautify the campsite while maximizing vacant patches of land surrounding the whole compound.
Tending to the gardens is considered by the employees as something equally beneficial as their actual office chores because for them, gardening offers lessons that are also applicable at work – the values of patience, dedication and perseverance.
"As soon as you start harvesting the vegetables and other crops, you just can't wait to plant and harvest even more," Suante says. "It's addicting, but in a very good way. We hope through this effort, we will have done our humble share in promoting Marcventures’ values of environmental sustainability and improving the quality of life of its partners.”
Going back to the novel that inspired her love for gardening, “I never promised you a rose garden, but I’m sure it’s worth a try,” a hopeful Suante concluded.