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Category — Latin America

Venezuela to Expand Small-Scale Urban Agriculture

President Maduro and Urban Agriculture Minister Freddy Bernal launch the Plan 2018 (Ministry for Urban Agriculture)

Government projections suggest that small scale urban agriculture can cover 20% of national food demand within three years.

By Paul Dobson
Venezuela Anaylsis
Mar 19th 2018

Excerpt:

Venezuela revealed that it is looking to expand grassroots and family-based urban food production this weekend, as the government unveiled its National Urban Agriculture Plan 2018.

Areas of expansion include incorporating animal rearing, the Green Rooves project, and seed import replacement, as well as using more lots of land for urban food production than in previous years.
“This plan looks to cover 96,000 hectares across the national territory and produce more than 2,071,000 tonnes of food,” explained Urban Agriculture Minister, Freddy Bernal.

Under the terms of the national plan, urban agriculture, which is normally private or community organised, should “be able to cover 20% of the national population” within three years, he said.

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March 20, 2018   Comments Off on Venezuela to Expand Small-Scale Urban Agriculture

In Mexico, monarchs versus avocado farming

A dying butterfly at the monarch butterfly reserve in Piedra Herrada, Mexico. Without trees to provide thermal cover and roosting sites, the butterflies can freeze to death. Associated Press/Rebecca Blackwell

Avocados are much more lucrative than almost any other legal crop Mexican farmers can grow, and many landholders appear to be turning to avocados, legally or illegally.

By Mark Stevenson
Associated Press
Feb 21, 2018

Excerpt:

Mexican environmental inspectors said Wednesday that they found 7.4 acres of illegal avocado plantations in the Monarch butterfly wintering grounds west of Mexico City.

It’s apparently the first time that a wave of avocado planting has directly affected the heart of the Monarch area, a protected nature reserve.

Monarch butterflies migrate from the U.S. and Canada to pine and fir forests that thrive at about the same altitude as prime avocado-growing land.

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February 26, 2018   Comments Off on In Mexico, monarchs versus avocado farming

Freddy Bernal Rosales, Venezuela’s minister for urban agriculture, one 10 Venezuelans blacklisted for corruption, undermining state vote

Minister of Urban Agriculture, appointed on June 7, 2017, by Nicolás Maduro, replacing Erika Farías.

By Kirk Semple
New York Times
Nov. 9, 2017

Excerpt:

CARACAS, Venezuela — The Trump administration on Thursday imposed sanctions against 10 more Venezuelan officials, including members of the country’s election commission and several government ministers, accusing them of undermining democracy through their use of corruption and censorship in support of President Nicolás Maduro’s tightening grip on power.

“As the Venezuelan government continues to disregard the will of its people, our message remains clear: the United States will not stand aside while the Maduro regime continues to destroy democratic order and prosperity in Venezuela,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a statement.

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November 10, 2017   Comments Off on Freddy Bernal Rosales, Venezuela’s minister for urban agriculture, one 10 Venezuelans blacklisted for corruption, undermining state vote

Boosting bees could sweeten chance of a greener Mexico City

Beekeeper Alfonso Cestelos Sanz blows smoke on a beehive at the Ectagono community project in Mexico City September 12, 2017. — Thomson Reuters Foundation picture.

Figures from the agriculture ministry (SAGARPA) show the number of hives in Mexico City, as well as honey production, dropped by about 17 percent between 2006 and 2015.

By Sophie Hares
Reuters
Oct 15, 2017

Excerpt:

Urban beekeeping is on the rise in cities such as London and New York where homeowners, companies and restaurants are setting up rooftop hives that each house thousands of bees. But strict rules in densely packed Mexico City about the location of hives restrict them mainly to the city fringes.

As the city continues to expand, reducing green areas, beekeepers have less space to work, said Adriana Pena Veliz, a vet who advises Efecto Colmena (Beehive Effect), which rescues and relocates bee swarms.

“The bees are starting to lose their habitat,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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October 16, 2017   Comments Off on Boosting bees could sweeten chance of a greener Mexico City

Venezuela’s government tries to sell its hungry citizens on the nutritional benefits of rabbit

Lapping up lapin – Venezuela’s war on cuteness

The Economist
Sept 21, 2017

Excerpt:

But the hutch-based solution that Mr Maduro has hatched has run into a hitch, as Mr Bernal discovered when he visited the beneficiaries. “People were naming the rabbits and taking them to bed,” he told Mr Maduro in a cabinet meeting broadcast on state television. Some had put bows on them, Mr Bernal complained. “People must understand that a rabbit is not a pet, but two-and-a-half kilos of meat with high protein and low cholesterol.” Re-educating them is not easy. “We’ve been taught that rabbits are cute,” Mr Bernal lamented.

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September 27, 2017   Comments Off on Venezuela’s government tries to sell its hungry citizens on the nutritional benefits of rabbit

Venezuela’s ‘Plan Rabbit’ encounters ‘cultural problem’

President Maduro said Plan Rabbit had encountered early setbacks.

The leader did say that the “rabbit plan” had not got off to a good start and the minister of urban agriculture, Freddy Bernal, said there had been a “cultural problem”.

BBC
Spet 14, 2017

Excerpt:

“When he came back, to his surprise he found people had put little bows on their rabbits and were keeping them as pets, it was an early setback to Plan Rabbit.”

“A lot of people gave names to the rabbits, they took them to bed,” Mr Bernal said.

The minister urged Venezuelans to start seeing rabbits “from the point of view of the economic war”.

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September 14, 2017   Comments Off on Venezuela’s ‘Plan Rabbit’ encounters ‘cultural problem’

Mexico’s stunning floating gardens help supply its most famous restaurants

Yolcan’s operation is 15 acres, and it creates about 2.5 tons of produce per month.

Sarah Jacobs
Business Insider
Aug. 20, 2017

Excerpt:

While the farm-to-table idea is not new in the food world, some higher-end restaurants in Mexico City are beginning to source their ingredients directly from the famed floating gardens of Xochimilco. Sometimes referred to as the “Mexican Venice” for its canals and brightly colored boats, Xochimilco is home to gardens that use ancient cultivation techniques to produce over 2.5 tons of food per month.

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August 26, 2017   Comments Off on Mexico’s stunning floating gardens help supply its most famous restaurants

Brazil: An Urban farm at Curitiba, Parana-Brazil

Figura 6: Trecho da Horta Santa Rita IV no bairro Tatuquara.

A agricultura urbana e suas múltiplas funções: a experiência do Programa Lavoura da prefeitura de Curitiba-PR

By Ferrareto, Luciane Cristina. Urban Agriculture and its multiple functions: the experience of Agriculture Program Curitiba – PR City. 143p. Dissertation ((Post-Graduate Program of Social Sciences in Development, Agriculture and Society). Instituto de Ciências Humanas e Sociais, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ. 2015.

Abstract:

The research aims to analyse how urban agriculture dialogues with other concepts and political action: food and nutrition security; food supply, health and nutrition; urban planning and the relation between country and city. These concepts and actions are shown connected througt the urban agriculture production practice performed and analyzed from the Agriculture Program of Curitiba.PR.

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July 10, 2017   Comments Off on Brazil: An Urban farm at Curitiba, Parana-Brazil

Brazil: Public action and networks around Urban Agriculture in Sao Paulo, Montreal and Toronto

Work in progress: Documentary about urban food systems in Brazil, Canada and France.

Thesis – Redes, Ideias E Ação Pública Na Agricultura Urbana: São Paulo, Montreal E Toronto. São Paulo 2017

By Lya Cynthia Porto De Oliveira
Public Administration and Government Study Center, at Getulio Vargas Foundation, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Paper is in Portuguese.

Abstract:

This thesis deals with an analysis of different Urban Agriculture (UA) models of public action. The theoretical model adopted is the cognitive analysis of public action, based on Pierre Muller and Yves Surel, and the actor-network theory by Bruno Latour. The purpose of the thesis is to understand the relationship dynamics between ideas, organizations, networks of action and results in the field of UA public action.

The results are understood as basic services for Urban Agriculture, that were defined according to the literature analysis in this field, and it can be offered by state and/or civil society organizations. Based on the literature review of 21 different cities, four different types of public action were identified.

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June 23, 2017   Comments Off on Brazil: Public action and networks around Urban Agriculture in Sao Paulo, Montreal and Toronto

Brazil: Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture, and the Growth of Community Gardens in Rio de Janeiro

In the case of Rio de Janeiro, even while living in a tropical country blessed with lush vegetation, few have the ability to enjoy the nature around them.

By Juliana Torres
Rioonwatch
June 8, 2017

Excerpt:

The project Hortas Cariocas, created by the City of Rio de Janeiro, invests in urban agriculture and already administers over 30 gardens implemented in public spaces (17 of which are located in schools) in various favelas across the city. The urban farms distribute half of their crops to neighborhood schools and to low-income families identified by the local Residents’ Association. The other half is sold and the profits divided amongst the workers, who are exclusively former prison inmates.

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June 13, 2017   Comments Off on Brazil: Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture, and the Growth of Community Gardens in Rio de Janeiro

Peace, plants and hip-hop in Colombia, South America

Hip-hop and agriculture might seem like a strange mix. But El AKA believes it’s the perfect partnership to unite the community. “Hip-hop attracts young people, and agriculture the older ones,” he told DW.

By Katharina Wecker
Deutsche Welle
May 11, 2017

Excerpt:

With big Creole earrings, a bandana, and the crotch of his trousers hanging between his knees, Luis Fernando Alvarez looks more like a rapper than a farmer. Actually, he’s both.

Luis, or “El AKA” as he is known in Colombia’s biggest city of Medellin, has brought his two passions together with the initiative Agro Arte – agricultural art.

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May 21, 2017   Comments Off on Peace, plants and hip-hop in Colombia, South America

Brazil: How São Paulo is tackling poverty and urban sprawl by bolstering farming


Arpad Spalding is part of an initiative to boost organic agriculture on São Paulo’s urban fringes. (Ignacio Amigo)

“Urban sprawl over environmentally sensitive areas with vulnerable populations is a common theme in many Latin American cities,” says Ferreira. “And many cities all over the world are experiencing problems associated with food supply. Stimulating agriculture can help preserve these areas and increase product offering.”

By Ignacio Amigo
Cityscope
February 24, 2017

Excerpt:

Now, local leaders in São Paulo are looking to leverage this demand by promoting organic farming on the undeveloped land along the outer edges of the city. If they succeed, it will achieve many different but complementary outcomes all at once. They’ll bolster the city’s supply of fresh, locally produced food. Livelihoods of the rural poor living just outside the urban core will improve. And viable farms will erect a natural barrier to contain the city’s outward expansion.

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March 4, 2017   Comments Off on Brazil: How São Paulo is tackling poverty and urban sprawl by bolstering farming

Columbia: Medellin takes to urban farming to heal memories of war


Leader of Agro Arte “El AKA” (Image: Richard Kelleher) Click on image for larger file.

“You could say that Colombia is a huge mass grave. There are so many people who have waited for so long to see their loved ones, and they’ve never appeared. It’s a denial of the pain when you can’t even bury them.”

By Richard Kelleher
Columbia Reports
February 24, 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

Parts of Colombia’s second largest urban center, Medellin, have taken to the most rural activity possible, agriculture, in an attempt to recognize the memories of war while restoring the social fabric necessary for peace.

For the past 15 years, an urban farming initiative named “AgroArte” (Agrarian Art) has brought new life to the 13th district of San Javier, once the epicenter of Medellin’s urban conflict.

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March 3, 2017   Comments Off on Columbia: Medellin takes to urban farming to heal memories of war

Mexico’s Ancient Floating Gardens Double As An Experiment In Urban Farming

Ricardo Rodriguez, founder of the De La Chinampa a Tu Mesa program. (Naomi Tomky)

When the Spanish arrived in 1519, they drained many of the lakes, shrinking Xochimilco’s agricultural capacity, and forbade the cultivation of indigenous products like chia, a seed favored for its nutritional properties.

By Naomi Tomky
smithsonian.com
January 31, 2017

Excerpt:

But weekdays, calm descends and the garden’s age-long purpose—as a place to cultivate crops—comes into relief. Ricardo Rodriguez, a 41-year-old pioneer in Mexico’s urban agriculture movement, is my guide through the quiet backside of the chinampas (floating islands) where Rodriguez helps the local farmers who are revitalizing traditional agriculture.

Rodriquez has nothing against the usual eating, drinking, and partying that goes on in the park. But he is quick to emphasize, “That’s just one of the three parts of Xochimilco.” The second part is the commercial farms that propagate huge fields of flowers using pesticides.

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February 6, 2017   Comments Off on Mexico’s Ancient Floating Gardens Double As An Experiment In Urban Farming

Venezuela: Urban Agriculture and the Production of Plenty for the Man


Minister Lorena Freitez (fourth from the right) among dozens of others holding up pots with growing seedlings (Lorena Freitez). Click on image for larger file.

We have won the world’s first Ministry of Urban Agriculture, which not only holds a new possibility for a healthier, humane and economic agriculture, but also a niche from which to build the foundations for new forms of production that guarantee greater sovereignty.

By Lorena Freitez
Minister Of Popular Power For Urban Agriculture
Venezuela Analysis
January 6th 2017
(Must see. Mike)

Excerpt:

The first major mission of the Ministry of Popular Power for Urban Agriculture (MINPPAU) was precisely this: 29,426 productive units were registered throughout the country, bringing together 100,000 people motivated to produce, through activating the Urban Agriculture National Registry. We prioritized 10 of the largest and most populated cities from across the country in order not to distract us from urban areas and we proposed 13 short cycle vegetables with the clear intention of having the first harvest sown in these cities between 90 and 100 days and with a minimum output (50 kg of seeds and 104,000 tomato seedlings), the production of 377 tonnes of vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, paprika, peppers, radishes, lettuce, among others) and that the produce could all be eaten at the close of the 100 day agro-urban production campaign.

This first campaign “100 Days for Urban Agriculture” was nothing more than a strategy to visualize and accompany a new political-productive “agro-urban” Venezuelan subject who, synthesizing the best of the countryside and the city, entered into economic democratization disputes. In 100 days: 1) we knew the potential of urban agriculture in Venezuela, mapping those committed to agriculture and militant in those cities; 2) we visualized the people’s capacity to solve problems; 3) we awakened restlessness and enthusiasm in those indifferent or skeptical about these new forms, subjects and productive spaces; 4) we identified the main challenges of sustainable and humane agriculture in cities.

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January 7, 2017   Comments Off on Venezuela: Urban Agriculture and the Production of Plenty for the Man