The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up our everyday world. Where we once were able to move and travel freely, to work with, see, and interact with those around us without restriction, and where we once trusted the food system and economic organization, this unprecedented experience has changed that. Most of all, if has changed the ability of many people to survive.
As the country settles into the new normal, one of NGP IMC’s clients, ARC Refreshments Corp. envisioned an advocacy program that aimed to provide a sustainable way to help and support its employees and the community. Dubbed “Grow as One”, ARC’s new advocacy showcases the company’s resilience amid the pandemic, and highlights its environmental and sustainability efforts to solve pressing environmental issues, such as plastic pollution, by engaging and empowering the community and key stakeholders to be part of the cause.
COLLABORATION BETWEEN BRAND AND AGENCY
“Grow as One” was inspired by the fact that nowadays it is not necessary to own a big plot of land to have a garden, but that it is possible to have your own garden through container gardening, where seeds are planted in containers filled with soil instead of directly in the ground. This urban gardening practice maximizes the use of space and recycles containers such as pots, tubs, or even plastic soda bottles to be used as planters.
Recycling PET bottles, like soda bottles, can be a great alternative for clay and ceramic pots, as they are not only cost-effective but environmentally-friendly as well in that it reduces plastic waste. They can be used as plant containers, starters, vertical garden holders, or self-watering bottles! Households can surely think twice before throwing plastic products out, as there can still be many ways to use them.
To kick start the new advocacy, “My Gulay Garden” was launched, 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 as a testament that ARC practices what it preaches. As early as May, ARC has engaged all its plants nationwide to do waste composting and vegetable gardening utilizing recycled PET bottles.
EMBRACING VIRTUAL SOLUTIONS
The agency launched a digital training via Zoom to teach ARC employees across the country and from various departments ways to reuse their very own plastic bottles for their urban gardening project. Topics discussed were on composting kitchen waste, yard waste, wastewater treatment sludge, and all other biodegradable waste. With most employees working from home, they were able to put into immediate practice their project for self-sufficiency.
The employees chose to grow a healthy variety of vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, okra, sili, pechay, mustasa, and herbs like basil, peppermint, tarragon and java mint.
START AT HOME
With the advent of social media, people started posting their backyard gardening projects and before long, it was the norm. Plantitos and plantitas—urbanites who enjoy growing plants inside their houses or in their small backyards, flaunted either their decorative plants or their fruit-bearing plants and their variety of vegetables. ARC was no different in being part of the solution for self-sufficiency for Filipinos.
“Grow as One” has a strong image in mind of what it would like to inspire: communities reclaiming their food production through urban gardening by encouraging consumers to reuse their recyclable RC Cola PET bottles as plant pots for fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the safety of their residential spaces.
And community efforts start from individual homes. There is an opportunity to use the resources that surround us to create food systems that respond to the realities of the environment and the needs of the community. This movement gets people starting from their precise location to identify what seeds fit into their environment while creating connections with those around us to do the same.
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.
GO-TO AGENCY FOR ADVOCACY
NGP IMC collaborates with its clients in developing advocacy campaigns that are more than just good intentions. Together, we’re creating and maximizing your brand’s or organization’s positive impact on the social and environmental systems in which you operate.
NGP IMC believes that the most impactful and sustainable advocacy programs are informed by a company’s mission and va lues — and are designed to deliver meaningful and measurable outcomes.
Grow as One campaign is just one of the advocacy initiatives shaped by NGP IMC whose purpose is to give back to the community and build a better tomorrow.