When Ana and Max decided to join a local vegetable garden contest in Kabulihan, Philippines, they had no idea it would transform their lives the way it did.

Before the project began, the entire community had been struggling with a lack of nutritious foods and income. As farmers, Ana and Max made only $2.33 a day – just barely enough to get by while taking care of their niece and nephew.

Each participant planted a variety of vegetables in their backyards from the seeds they had accessed, like string beans, pepper, squash, eggplant, okra and tomato.

Three families, including Ana and Max’s family, won a cash prize for their gardens.

With all of the extra vegetables (and rice) they had on hand, they made an average additional income of $2 per day.

Now, more than 40 families in Kabulihan have their own backyard gardens, and the local hunger problem is slowly being phased out of the community.

“If a man wants a fish, teach him to fish. It is the same with gardening – if someone wants vegetables to eat, give them seeds and teach them to plant. This is what we are teaching our neighbors and friends – to plant so they can have their own source of food. We are not selfish; we just want to encourage them so they can produce their own vegetables,” said Max.

Click here to learn more about garden projects.