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Agricultura Urbana – Espacios de Cultivo para una Ciudad Sostenibles

Urban Agriculture – Spaces of Cultivation for a Sustainable City

By Graciela Arosemena
Editorial Gustavo Gili, S.L.; 1 edition
2012. 128 pages.

Excerpt from review by François Mancebo, PhD:

In her short book Urban Agriculture, Graciela Arosemena, gives an overview of urban agriculture’s history until the great rupture and asks a question: Now that agriculture has moved outside the city, is it time to bring it back again? Her answer is “yes”, for many reasons which she associates with the idea of making cities more sustainable. In her vision, urban agriculture can stop the vicious circle of real estate speculation, provide a healthy leisure, foster social cohesion, support a new management of organic waste to reduce city’s ecological footprint and provide food security—if not complete self-sufficiency—by allowing citizens to consume locally grown vegetables and ripe fruits.

She relies on Ebenezer Howard’s interest for self-sufficiency in his garden cities and the philosophy of ruralizing the city—which she improperly attributes to Ildefons Cerdà, when in fact it was the idea of one of his followers, (the linear city of Arturo Soria y Mata)—to legitimize her vision of urban agriculture. As everybody knows urban agriculture has become trendy in recent years. Does it still need to be legitimized? Maybe not, but this book is a lot more than a pro domo plea: this short, bilingual book (English and Spanish, on facing pages) is a kind of “Swiss army knife” about urban agriculture. Its material is not only made of considerations on the merits of urban agriculture, it also provides insight, knowledge and techniques to make urban agriculture an activity accessible to everyone. Graciela Arosemena shows how parks and public spaces, gardens, terraces, roofs, and balconies can be converted to cultivating different types of vegetables and fruits. She also shows how organic waste can practically be used to grow fresh food while reducing the ecological footprint of the city. The book is full of photos displaying the different places and techniques for the introduction of agriculture in the city.

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