Community Urban Agriculture inVenezuela: The Story of our Merida Garden in Photos
By Tamara Pearson – Venezuelanalysis.com
With the help of the government, our community council La Columna, in the Andean city of Merida, began a project of urban agriculture so that we can grow food free of agro-chemicals in a way that doesn't damage the land, recycle organic waste in our composter, contribute to national food sovereignty, and start to break down alienation in our community.
Every Friday morning, we open up the garden and work on it, and have it available as well for people in the community to bring their organic waste, to buy some of the crops at very cheap prices, or to get involved.
All photos except the last one by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com. Last photo by Ewan Robertson, for Venezuelanalysis.com.
A member of the community who had a piece of land that he currently isn't able to use, lent it to the community in July this year. It hadn't been used in a while and was full of long grass, we couldn't even see the back wall!
Kids from our community among the coriander flowers. The flowers will dry up into seeds so that we can plant more flowers, and also exchange the seeds with other urban agricultural projects, avoiding having to buy them..
Our helper and teacher from the CIARA (Training and Innovationto Support the Agricultural Revolution) brought some of his students, and together we began to cut down the grass and clear and dig up the land to prepare it from planting..
But it wasn't all hard work, there's always time for rest, to chat about politics, and a neighbour usually brings us fresh cold juice..
The grass is almost all gone and we can see the fence at the back now! On the other side of that fence we've painted our community noticeboard..
This neighbour helps make rows in the dirt, and plants some seeds..
New life begins to grow..
And we make more vegetable beds; loosening the soil, and picking out the larger rocks. The CIARA provides us with our initial seeds- here some coriander seeds from the Agriculture Mission..
We planted a lot of lettuce seeds (native, Venezuelan lettuce) in a 'nursery'- in a small piece of land - then transferred the 'baby' lettuces over to the vegetable beds where they coudl grow bigger. We did one bed per week so that a certain amount of lettuce would be ready to consume each week rather than all at once..
The yellow zucchini flowers grew quickly, then turned into the fruit..
With Merida's constant rain, the plants grow well and quickly. Only now and then do we need to borrow water from the next door car wash, to water them..
It's a hands on learning process, with our CIARA helper teaching us as we work, and other members of the community chipping in with their own knowledge and experience. One man on the right is tearing up cardboard for the composter..
The carrots take a long time to grow, but around 3 months after planting, they are begining to show. Today we pulled out some of the weeds growing around them and covered up any bits of carrot peaking out above the ground..
Young and even younger work together..
The corn grows so easily, its a hardy plant..
Chickpeas! Other things we've started growing include spring onions, parsley, capscium, spinach, and aloe vera. We grew some native long beans, but they died..
A neighbour weeding the carrots, with the coriander flowers in the foreground..
Published on Oct 19th 2012 at 3.26pm