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Venezuela: Urban Agriculture

Since the election of Hugo Chavez and the creation of the new constitution, Venezuelans have not only been able to actively participate in their government, but are also given a voice in the institutionalization and implementation of policy for the development of their communities.
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Venezuela: Urban Agriculture


During these times of social-political and economic change in Venezuela, urban agriculture is one of the many radical revolutionary projects developing across the country. In March of 2003, urban agriculture became an official policy of the political process. Urban agriculture is a project that provides pesticide-free and affordable food for people. These projects are run by and for the community and its central locations establish a strong sense of community empowerment and collective efforts. Historically Venezuela is an oil dominated economy where 92 percent of the populations live in cities and only 5 percent of the gross national product comes from agriculture. Thus urban agriculture has become one of the many tools used to combat the extreme urban poverty and dependence on imported foods.

Since the election of Hugo Chavez and the creation of the new constitution, Venezuelans have not only been able to actively participate in their government, but are also given a voice in the institutionalization and implementation of policy for the development of their communities. These projects are possible due to the support of the United Nations food and agricultural organization, technical support from the Cuban government as well as funding by the Venezuelan Ministry of Land and Agriculture. The United Nations contribute to this urban agricultural project by providing experts from other developing countries such as Colombia, Cuba and Senegal. The Cuban government has established its solidarity and support by providing 45 technicians who provide invaluable knowledge on the development of this project (FAONewsroom 2004). The Venezuelan Ministry of Land and Agriculture have launched this project by establishing 4000 micro gardens in Caracas and 20 agricultural cooperatives. The Venezuelan government aspires to supply 20 percent of the nation’s vegetables through urban agricultural collectives. Hugo Chavez stated that, “no chemical products are used, so these are the healthiest vegetables that Venezuelans will eat? (Reuters).

Community involvement is manifested in two primary forms. The first is through direct collective work and second as conscious consumers. The participants of these projects grow and maintain the organic micro-gardens and also sell the fresh producer for affordable prices. The community then becomes conscious shoppers, understanding the importance of purchasing their produce from these collectives for their own wellbeing as well as for the empowerment of organized communities.

Jose Maximino Toro, a 64 year old urban farmer in down town Caracas is an active participant in the Bolivar I project. His daily commitment to the community and the revolutionary process of urban agriculture allows him to understand the importance of establishing a political consciousness within community, “we start at 6:30 in the morning so that we can have a variety of products and keep the grove pretty. We do this because a lot of people from the community come and so that they have a variety of fresh produce.? Across Venezuela these projects have produced a vast amount of community participation.
 
 


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Re: Venezuela: Urban Agriculture

Maiz Rebelde..... please contact me ...
dawn (at) cybercircle.org
 

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