Category — Russia
German Shingel fills a tub for watering the garden under the watchful eye of his father, Yevgeniy. To outwit Russia’s short growing season, many dacha owners set flats of seedlings on their urban windowsills in March. Photograph by Jonas Bendiksen.
One out of three Russians owns a dacha. In the Moscow region, where there are some one million dachas. Boris’s dacha, like most in Valday, is a garden plot with a cabin. Such plots, originally six sotkas (.15 acre), date back to Soviet-era land distribution programs that allowed Russians to endure postwar food shortages made worse by the disaster of centrally planned agriculture.
By Cathy Newman
Photograph by Jonas Bendiksen
(Must see. Mike)
The soil is sacred, almost mystical to Russians, a legacy of pagan beliefs and peasant tradition. “The religion of the soil,” philosopher Nikolay Berdyayev called it. A dacha provides the opportunity to dig in that soil and be close to nature. “By the end of the day I am tired and stressed,” a Valday woman tells me. “I go to the garden, touch the ground, and bad things go away.”
In July the soil yields cucumbers and feathery dill, also squash, peas, and green onions. July is for berries: black, red, and white currants; blueberries; blackberries; raspberries; gooseberries; and delicately perfumed wild strawberries, which, even more than the resinous astringency of pine, is the smell of summer. August brings mushrooms (a light rain is known as a “mushroom rain”): the prized beliy, or white mushroom, and boletes that grow near birch trees and can be dried. Also potatoes—always potatoes. A Valday garden is unthinkable without them, although they cost less to buy than grow.
March 29, 2015 Comments Off
“When we started making Growing Cities, a new documentary about urban farming in America, we never imagined where it would take us.”
By Dan Susman
April 17, 2014
Most recently, we had the opportunity to travel to Moscow, Russia, as part of the Ecocup Film Festival and with the support of the US Embassy. I spoke with many students and citizens there about urban agriculture, which is a relatively new concept for Russians. However, that isn’t to say they don’t have a long history tied to the land.
Almost every time we showed the film, someone would ask, ‘have you heard of dachas?’ At first, I had no idea, though by the third or fourth time I had a pretty good understanding. Dachas (literally meaning ‘something given’ in ancient Russian) are peri-urban seasonal homes, which usually have small land allotments attached. These plots were first given out to loyal vassals starting in the late 17th century with Peter the Great, though now Russians from all classes have these plots.
April 17, 2014 Comments Off
In 1999, 35 million small family plots produced 90% of Russia’s potatoes, 77% of vegetables, 87% of fruits, 59% of meat, 49% of milk
In 2004, Russian gardeners’ output amounted to 51% (by value) of the total agricultural output of the Russian Federation.
August 9, 2009
In 2003 the Russian President signed into law a further “Private Garden Plot Act” enabling Russian citizens to receive free of charge from the state, plots of land in private inheritable ownership. Sizes of the plots differ by region but are between one and three hectares each [1 hectare = 2.2 acres]. Produce grown on these plots is not subject to taxation. A further subsequent law to facilitate the acquisition of land for gardening was passed in June 2006. (according to a footnote in “Who We Are” by Vladimir Megre, pg. 42)
May 22, 2012 1 Comment
The contribution of urban agriculture to human sustainable development is potentially important.
By Louiza Mansourovna Boukharaeva
Professor of Philosophy at Kazan Technical University (Russia)
Researcher in rural economy and sociology in the National Institute of Agronomic Researches (France)
In the Russian case where the State has always been controlling food distribution channels, Family Urban Agriculture (FUA), as with peasant plots in rural areas, served a food contribution function, including a way to help the survival of families in case of serious crises. The Soviet period caused a specific evolution to the long history of FUA. The social destruction and very rapid urbanization of the 1920’s and 30’s happened with the destruction of the older forms of urban agriculture.
March 21, 2011 Comments Off
Boris Pasternak digging a potato patch at his dacha in Peredelkino, near Moscow, in the summer of 1958. From Sharashkin thesis, via LIFE magazine.
The Earth needs our help
By Leonid Sharashkin
University of Missouri–Columbia
(Exciting find! So much to read in this paper. Mike)
Russia has 18.8 million acres of family gardens, which produce US$14 billion worth of products per year, equivalent to over 50% of Russia’s agricultural output, or 2.3% of the country’s GDP (Rosstat 2007b). The United States, on the other hand, have 27.6 million acres of lawn, which produce a US$30 billion per year lawn care industry (Bormann, Balmori, and Geballe 2001).
October 3, 2010 1 Comment
A. Kuznetsova, A. Magitson, ca. 1930
Publisher: AChR, Moscow
Workers are encouraged to cultivate vegetables near factories. On the poster, a realistic still life is combined with a modern constructivist background. It is issued by the publishing company of AChR, the Association of Revolutionary Artists. This organization is the main promotor of Socialist Realism and develops a stranglehold on the visual arts.
From the International Institute of Social History.
October 3, 2009 Comments Off
Photograph shows Czar Nicholas II and family gardening at Alexander Palace during internment at Tsarskoe-Selo, 1917.
January 18, 2008 Comments Off