Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Urban Experience (II)

The CBC covered the story of the urban garden going in in Vancouver this week. What is most interesting is to see how they are building the garden: pallets, cloth/tarp, boxes, soil. In doing this, I'm sure Concord Pacific is getting a great return somewhere along the way (although no one is saying where). But that's fine. What is important is how much food is expected to be grown on an unused parking lot--something like 100,000 kilos. SoleFood has their work cut out for them. Growing that much will be a lot of work--even if not grown in the most sustainable manner. But this is all to the good.
It is, of course, nothing really new. Cuba has been doing this since 1988 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In Havana, the local government authorized people to use, free of charge, state-owned vacant lots in and around Havana. During the years 1990-1994 (the "special period" when food imports evaporated and the average Cuban lost 9 kilos of weight) it was estimated that more than 27,000 people were linked to some 1,800 hectares of community gardens. Cuba has made great strides in achieving food sovereignty since then.

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