Community Urban Agriculture in Venezuela: 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.
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..
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!.
Together with the CIARA (Training and Innovation to Support the Agricultural Revolution) and some students, we cut the grass and cleared the land for planting. Now you can see the fence at the back! On the other side of that fence is our community notice board.
But its never all hard work, some times we stop and rest, chat about politics, sometimes a neighbour brings us cool, freshly made juice.
A neighbour making rows and plants seeds.
Life starting to grow.
The CIARA also provided us with seeds to start off with (here, coriander seeds), and some tools..
We planted a tonne of lettuce seeds in a small 'nursery' - a small bit of the land, then when they grew to be 'babies' we transferred them over to the vegetable beds- a week between each vegetable bed so that they would be full lettuces at different times, rather than all at once and leaving us with more than we could eat!
Also, we'll leave some lettuces to flower, so that we have more seeds. Now, we're producing our own seeds and won't need to buy any more, we can also exchange the seeds with other gardens.
In Merida it rains like crazy so the vegetables grow well, only now and then do we need to borrow water from the next door car wash, to water them ourselves. Apart from the lettuce and coriander, we also planted carrots, brocoli, corn, capsicum, chick peas, spring onion, and aloe vera..
The yellow zucchini flowers and the fruits they became. We use no agro-chemicals, only the compost from our improvised compost holes!.
Carrots! They take a long time to grow- today we pulled out weeds from inbetween them, and covered up the ones like this that were poking out..
The idea is also to learn as we work- rather than lessons in a classroom, we work the garden and our CIARA helper teaches us about the plants, about how to grow different plants together so they help eachother, and other neighbours chip in their own knowledge too..
Corn is such a hardy thing, it grows no matter what...
Picking out weeds, with coriander flowers in the background and foreground. They'll produce seeds soon..
Opening the corn!.
Today's group! Myself in the centre back. We work in the garden voluntarily every Friday- some people come every week, some occasionally, and sometimes there are new people..
Published on Oct 19th 2012 at 3.37pm