From survival to victory !

 

PHOTO CREDIT: WVC – 2002-07-OUALIDIA – MOROCCO 22 copy.jpg

Local farmers discussing the results of a scientific experiment on enhancement of food production by application of the soil conditioner TerraCottem

SURVIVAL OR VICTORY GARDENS

By Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM – Ghent University, Belgium

In 2012 I read an article published by Dean FOSDICK in The Seattle Times, entitled: ‘Survival gardens’ can help save cash

Patches deliver high yields from small spaces and produce wholesome foods that store well

food-production-in-guatemala-photo-fincas-buenas-df74f7a7026b4f36e1d0173d27d84106
Food production by local farmers in small family gardens Guatemala – Photo Fincas Buenas – df74f7a7026b4f36e1d0173d27d84106.jpg

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I took note of the following important parts in this interesting article:

(1) Many cash-strapped families are turning to “survival gardens” to help dig out from the recession.

(2) ‘They were called ‘victory gardens’ during the world wars because they helped ease shortages, ‘…… ‘We call them ‘survival gardens’ now because they help families cut spending.’

(3) The term is part of a larger do-it-yourself trend toward growing more backyard veggies and eating locally grown food.

(4) Survival gardens are used mainly to raise the kind of produce that you can grow for less than what you would pay at a grocery store – …………..

(5) People new to gardening can get help from county extension offices, churches and community groups. Some offer training, others provide growing sites and a few distribute supplies — all for little or no charge.

(6) Survival gardens can do more than put fresh, nutritious food on the table, ……….  ‘Families have told us they sell some of their overage (from the starter kits) to pay bills and get medicines,’ ……….

(7) …………sells ‘survival seed’ packets, and said their sales have more than doubled in the past year. Each package contains 16 easy-to-grow heirloom vegetables, from beets to pole beans, cabbage to sweet corn. They come triple-wrapped in watertight plastic, designed to increase storage life.

(8) ………… gardening with seed is one way to save on food dollars, particularly if it’s the right kind of seed.

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The fact that more than 800 million people on this world are hungry or malnourished is generally attributed by the international media to the economic crisis (the food crisis), all those poor people supposed to be unable to afford the expensive food at the market. That’s probably why nowadays “Many cash-strapped families are turning to “survival gardens” to help dig out from the recession”.

During World Wars I and II, not the food prizes, but simply the lack of food caused huge hunger problems.  All the war-affected countries reacted on these emergencies in exactly the same way: by offering the hungry population small spaces or allotments for gardening.  Those allotment gardens or ‘victory gardens‘ helped ease the food shortages, people eating their locally grown food.  Do you know that most of those allotment gardens still exist all over the world and that millions of people still avoid malnutrition and hunger, producing fresh vegetables and fruits in their ‘victory garden’?  A success story, don’t you think?

I appreciate very much the term ‘survival gardens‘ used in this Seattle Times’ article, as these small patches really help families to cut spending by producing food in a cheaper way than the one at the market or the grocery store.

The applicability of this ‘survival garden strategy‘ at the global level is clearly shown (see above) by:

(5) People new to gardening can get help from county extension offices, churches and community groups. Some offer training, others provide growing sites and a few distribute supplies — all for little or no charge.

If county extension offices, churches and community groups can help these people, it should also be easy for international organizations and foundations to do this – all for little or no charge – for the 800 or more million hungry people of this world.

Let us keep in mind that ‘Survival gardens can do more than put fresh, nutritious food on the table, ...’, but that families can also enhance their annual income by taking their ‘overage’ of vegetables or fruits to the market, particularly in developing countries.

To offer a ‘survival or victory garden‘ to all the hungry families of this world, it’s such a noble task that no one can ever believe that aid organizations remain blind for the value of the experience of World Wars I and II, the extraordinary success of allotment gardens or ‘victory gardens’ to alleviate hunger and child malnutrition in times of crisis.

May the light come for hungry adults and undernourished children ….! From survival to victory !

Back in 2009: If they do it in Washington, D.C. and Sulphur, LA, why don’t we do it in the drylands ? (Google / GW Hachet)

 

In September 2009 I wrote:

https://containergardening.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/washington-d-c-students-plant-vegetable-garden-on-h-street-google-gw-hachet/

by Prof. Dr. Willem Van Cotthem (Ghent University, Belgium)

MOET ER NOG ZAND ZIJN D copy.jpeg

If students of the George Washington University in Washington D.C. can do it in the street “to teach people who and where their food comes from through service learning.“, and people in Sulphur, LA are laying out a community garden, why don’t we construct a vegetable garden for every hungry family in the drylands?  Wouldn’t that be the best investment ever to combat desertification and hunger in this world?

I hope this idea will be picked up by many student organisations and NGOs before the international agencies are taking the initiative to launch a “world programme on vegetable gardens“.

After all, if all over the world the so-called “guerilla gardening“-movement, allotment gardening and community gardening (see some former postings on this blog) shows that people react upon the food crisis by creating their own vegetable gardens at any available open space in the cities, time has come for decision makers to officialise this guerilla movement and multiply the small vegetable gardens at the largest possible scale.

As no special skills are needed, small kitchen gardens can be created everywhere in rural areas, but also in urban environment.

All those in favour, raise your hand (and your voice).

Willem Van Cotthem

‘Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the totality of those acts will be written the history of this generation.’

John F Kennedy

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Read at : Google Alert – gardening

http://media.www.gwhatchet.com/media/storage/paper332/news/2009/09/14/News/Students.Plant.Vegetable.Garden.On.H.Street-3770484.shtml

and

 

Read at : Google Alert – drought

http://www.sulphurdailynews.com/news/x244359955/Community-Garden-to-break-ground-September-19

A simple question about hunger, a difficult answer (Willem Van Cotthem)

Today, all over the developed world, important parts of the population are combating the economic crisis and in particular the food crisis by switching to production of fresh food. Produced at home, even in the smallest quantities, this “own fresh food” plays a considerable  role in the well-being of families, in particular of children.  Container gardening, vertical gardening, bottle towers, gardening on risers, balconies or windowsills, hydroponics, aquaponics, gardening in self-watering buckets, bags, sacks, crates, boxes, pots, guerilla gardening, edible forests, …, it are all different initiatives taken to alleviate  hunger and malnutrition problems.

Day after day, messages and photos or videos on the internet confirm that people feel the need to produce  their own fresh food, even in the smallest available space, e.g. a balcony on the 17th floor in the city.  It is marvelous to notice that most of these “novice farmers or gardeners” proudly announce the successes of their first experiments and the swift progress made thanks to “lessons learned” and “exchange of information”.

Thanks to these personal initiatives of private gardening, the most vulnerable part of the population in developed countries is less affected by the food crisis, in particular by the high food prices.

Therefore, I feel the need to formulate a very simple question :

“If a large group of people in developed countries, affected by the actual crises and suffering from hunger or malnutrition because of the high food prices, is successfully setting up actions to produce an important part of their own food, why don’t we teach the billion hungry people, mostly living in developing countries, to do the same ?”.

The answer to this question seems to be a very difficult one.

My Chinese friends are telling me : “Don’t bring that hungry man a fish that he will eat in one day, but teach him how to fish and he will eat all year long“.

As Chinese is not my mother tongue, I translated it into : “Don’t bring the hungry people rations of nutritious food that they will eat in one day, but teach them how to grow their own fresh food and they will eat all year long”.

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Purely by coincidence I found today these 3 publications confirming that food production has become a very hot topic all over the world.  Please read :

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/keralas-growing-obsession-with-vegetable-farming-in-homes-the-caravan/

and

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/sack-gardening-does-not-require-much-space-and-vegetables-can-be-grown-according-to-demand-and-taste-new-agriculturist/

Captions of photos :

  • “By growing different vegetables, Ainob Bibi is able to supply her own family and earn money”
  • “Sack gardening does not require much space”
  • “Sack gardening has also empowered women, who most often organise and take care of the gardens”

and

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2013/07/20/vietnam-cut-the-countrys-malnutrition-rate-in-half-by-investing-in-small-scale-farming-cnn/

2012 : And the result of growing vegetables and herbs in bottle towers (Photo WVC)
Fresh food galore in a small space : The result of growing vegetables and herbs in bottle towers (Photo WVC)

What comes first: Strategies for combating climate change or for creating gardens to produce food for children? (Willem VAN COTTHEM / MediaGlobal / UNICEF)

Let me recommend to read very attentively the former posting on this blog :

UNICEF: Children most vulnerable to climate change

http://www.mediaglobal.org/2011/12/02/unicef-children-most-vulnerable-to-climate-change/

UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized,.

Matthew McKinnon, Head of the Climate Vulnerability Initiative at DARA International, told MediaGlobal how the impact of climate change is already evident.

“In Asia, Central and South Asia are the most vulnerable regions; in the Pacific, it is the small island developing states. Both areas are affected by more extreme weather, by effects on human health, by sea-level rise, by desertification (especially India and China), by economic damages to the agricultural sector and effects for natural resources, such as water and biodiversity.”

Geoffrey Keele, Communications Specialist with UNICEF’s East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, explained to MediaGlobal the specific harms children face in light of these changes.

“The leading killers of children worldwide are highly sensitive to climate changes,” he says. “For example, higher temperatures have been linked to increased rates of malnutrition, cholera, diarrheal disease and vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria. Yet children’s underdeveloped immune systems put them at far greater risk of contracting these diseases and succumbing to their complications.”

And Mr. Keele explained that the rising occurrence of extreme weather events might hamper long-term agricultural production. “This could lead to higher food prices and a corresponding increase in malnutrition rates in a region where one in every four children is already stunted due to poor nutrition.” Moreover, such events may divert children from activities like going to school in order to aid in household tasks or pursue work to earn wages, thus deepening their vulnerability.

It is common knowledge that child malnutrition is one of the worst plagues for humanity.  Therefore, it is quite understandable that, if climate change is hampering long-term agricultural production, leading to higher food prices and increase in malnutrition, this is also determining UNICEF’s strategies for helping the children to better nutrition.

However, when reading that Mr. McKinnon, concerning the Durban Summit to bolster financing and advance the fight against climate change, said : “We hope that the Durban Summit will plug the funding gap between 2013-2019 with explicit developed country commitments for annual increases in climate finance from current levels to progressively attain the $100 billion“, we are tempted to put a number of question marks.

Should we rather use $100 billion for climate finance than for improving child nutrition ?

Putting the question is answering it !

No wonder that I am immediately thinking at that splendid low-budget UNICEF project “Family gardens for the Saharawi refugees in the region of Tindouf, S.W. Algeria“, where in 2005-2007 almost 2000 small family gardens have been built, providing fresh vegetables and fruits for the refugee families, in particular the children.

Food production in the Sahara desert : if this low-cost project is possible in a desert, we must be able to feed all the children of this world (Photo Philip HITTEPOLE) / Taleb BRAHIM)

No one denied the importance of this beautiful UNICEF initiative for the children’s health, not even the staff members of the WFP in Tindouf.

We were all terrified when suddenly, at the end of 2007 and without any explanation, UNICEF stopped this successful project.  Fortunately, the Saharawi refugees themselves found the necessary force to continue the efforts step-by-step.

Instead of building upon the lessons learned about inexpensive food production in the Sahara desert for deciding upon strategies to decrease rates of child malnutrition, UNICEF is now hoping for “explicit developed country commitments for annual increases in climate finance from current levels to progressively attain the $100 billion“.

Let me invite you all to quickly estimate how many family gardens, community gardens, school gardens, allotments, urban container and vertical gardens could be build with $100 billion.

And yet, in certain circles, climate finance seems to become more important than financing sustainable infrastructures for improving child nutrition.

See what the poor people in the slums of Nairobi did : creating their own sack gardens ! See what aid organizations did to provide fresh food in the refugee camps of Dabaab : sack gardening. See what many people in flooded areas in Asia do : container gardening, even in hanging containers. See what urban families do on their balconies : bottle tower gardening.  Remember what  hungry people did in World War I and II : creating Victory Gardens (allotments) in open urban spaces.  Be also aware of those spontaneous actions for food production called “guerilla gardening“.

Bottle tower gardening : production of maximal food with minimal water, recycling discarded bottles and pots at the lowest cost. That is sustainably combating malnutrition and hunger (Photo Willem VAN COTTHEM and Gilbert VAN DAMME)

Is all this only ringing my own bell ?

So, what will come first : climate financing or food production financing (and not “food aid” because that is not a sustainable solution; it should be linked at emergencies) ?

Time has come to decide : will we use our scarce financial resources to combat malnutrition and hunger or to combat rising temperatures, mostly due to industrial activities?

Since 2008 continuously wondering why UNICEF stopped its marvelous family gardens project in Algeria, I feel my temperature rising.

Please cool me down with a decent answer !

 

Guerilla Gardening (Food for Freedom)

Read at :

http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/guerilla-gardening-ows/

Guerilla Gardening @ OWS

Posted on November 3, 2011 by geobear7| 3 Comments

By OCCUPY TOGETHER: The Short Films

This social and cultural EVOLUTION is taking root in hundreds of cities across the planet and showing little sign of losing momentum. In Zucotti Park (NYC), site of the first OCCUPATION, there are inspiring stories emerging. At every corner of the park is the exchange and the fomentation of ideas.

http://vimeo.com/channels/occupytogether#31533066

Over the coming months, One Pack Productions and Seismologik Media will showcase some of the amazing people who are creating actions which can inspire people to practice being the change they wish to see in the world.

(continued)

How to ensure food security for all the hungry of this world ? (Willem Van Cotthem)

Let us read again attentively the former posting on this blog :

“WITH HIGH FOOD PRICES SET TO CONTINUE, UN AGENCIES ISSUE CALL TO ACTION” (New York, Oct 10 2011 10:05AM)

Let us first underscore the main issues :

  1. A flagship report states that “small, import-dependent countries, particularly in Africa, are especially vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity
  2. The United Nations agencies working to combat hunger today called for action to ensure long-term food security.
  3. Our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing the proportion of people who suffer from hunger by half in 2015 are challenged.
  4. Even if the MDG were achieved by 2015 some 600 million people in developing countries would still be undernourished …………….. and  suffering from hunger on a daily basis which is never acceptable“.

Therefore, “The entire international community must act today and act forcefully to banish food insecurity from the planet“.

2007-02 - Beautiful, but malnourished children in a Saharawi refugee camp (Tindouf area, S.W. Algeria) - (Photo WVC)

My first question is : “Who are these 600 million people suffering permanently from hunger?“.

No one will deny that most of them live in the developing world, not in developed countries.  We can deduce from it that the entire international community should concentrate its forceful actions to banish food insecurity from that part of the planet, where “small, import-dependent countries, particularly in Africa, are especially vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity“, not from the developed countries where food is even wasted.

Before thinking at reducing food waste in developed countries “through education and policies“, before thinking at reducing “food losses in developing countries by boosting investment in the entire value chain, especially post-harvest processing“, before even thinking at engaging in the combat of “high and volatile food prices, major contributing factors in global food insecurity“, the entire international community and in particular the United Nations agencies concerned should focus on the daily situation of the most vulnerable and poorest of those 600 million hungry or malnourished people.

It is my strongest believe that such a focus would clearly show that investment in the large-scale agricultural sector (to enhance food production and to improve “food security in the long run“) is not the sector in which we should preferentially “act forcefully to banish food insecurity“.  On the contrary, if the number of hungry people has still been growing from 850 million to an estimated 925 million in 2010, our actions should be focused in the first place on the hungry themselves, not on those who have to subsidized and supported to produce efforts to improve food security in the long run.

2007-02 - A small kitchen garden in the Sahara desert suffices to produce sufficient fresh food to improve the health of the family. What is possible in the Sahara should be possible in all the developing countries. (Photo WVC)

My second question is therefore: “Shall we continue to invest in large-scale industrial agriculture, aiming at enhancing food export potentials to stimulate the economy, “incentives for increased long-term investment in the agricultural sector“, or shall we really act forcefully to help the hungry people and their malnourished children to at least one decent daily meal ?

With 925 million hungry people in 2010, the international community can not afford to consider actions that would possibly improve food security in the long run.  Time has come to start as soon as possible actions that offer ALL THE HUNGRY PEOPLE, WHEREVER THEY LIVE, a chance to produce their own fresh food.

Maybe you belong to that group of people who think that such a world initiative is totally impossible ?  Well, open your eyes widely and look at what is going on all over the world today.  People who can’t afford the high food prices, the hungry of this world, are waiting no longer for the aid organizations to offer them food, they start growing fresh food themselves, in different ways, in different places, with minimal means, but with maximal results :

  1. Allotment gardening (the Victory gardens of the hungry people during the two World Wars 1914-1918 and 1940-1945, but still a growing success at world scale, especially now).
  2. Community gardening.
  3. School gardening.
  4. Container gardening at home (in recycled, discarded pots, bottles, buckets,  barrels,  gutters, in a small yard, on the balcony, on the deck, …).
  5. Sack gardening (multi-storey gardening like in some refugee camps).
  6. Urban gardening (in open spaces, replacing weeds by vegetables, rooftop gardening, …).
  7. Vertical gardening (on racks, on trellises, against walls, on stairs, in bottle towers, …).
  8. Permaculture.
  9. Even guerilla gardening in the cities !

Denying this multitude of splendid successes booked by the hungry people themselves is refusing to recognize that inexpensive, but very efficient solutions are at hand to save the lives of millions of children and unfortunate people.  Why aren’t we giving them a helping hand at almost no cost ?  Why would we invest in the far future, if we can offer them a more decent life today ?  Making people healthier and stronger is also a form of investment in the far future !

It suffices to look at the evidence of thousands of already published photos and videos, illustrating the efficiency of all these simple gardening methods, applied by the most vulnerable people without consistent help of the international community, to realize what the effect could be of a possible UN-supported program to offer every single hungry family a small kitchen garden (see my photo above).  It should not remain a dream.

Let the UN agencies not offer them A FISH anymore, but teach them HOW TO FISH !  For food security can better be achieved by the hungry themselves, if only we decide to give them that helping hand.

Their nice dinner menu is figuring the gardening techniques mentioned above.

Urban farming, guerilla gardening, vertical gardening in LA (Google / UrbDeZine San Francisco)

Read at : Google Alert – vertical gardening

http://sanfrancisco.urbdezine.com/2011/09/09/urban-agriculture-2-0-los-angeles%E2%80%A6calling-los-angeles%E2%80%A6-do-you-copy-over/

URBAN AGRICULTURE 2.0: LOS ANGELES…CALLING LOS ANGELES… DO YOU COPY? OVER.

By

The urban agriculture movement has grown vigorously across the nation. The concept of urban agriculture, which is integrated into the urban economic and ecological system, has taken unprecedented forms. The agricultural zeitgeist of today has gained popularity for many urbanites, however, the concept is anything but new.  Its roots are born of the need and the inability to access decent and affordable food. As more and more people are concerned about the provenance of their food, urban agriculture provides a complementary and multifaceted approach to reduce urban poverty, food insecurity, and enhance urban environmental stewardship. This new version of urban agricultural or as I like to say, “Urban Agriculture 2.0” is all about space, and has morphed from the growing concerns of a worldwide culture conscious of global warming, food scarcity, health problems and a growing need to “reconnect” with nature.

According to Siemens’ Green City Index, San Francisco and New York City are   leaders in developing sustainable cities.  Even though it’s best to take any ranking with a grain of salt and avoid jumping to erroneous conclusions, it’s fair to say that NYC and SF are largely influential when it comes to urban agriculture and sustainability. If you visit the either coast you will discover gardens on rooftops, windowsills, fire escapes, sidewalks, and even gardens on buses. You may even wonder if you have stepped inside the gardening world of Dr. Seuss.  So, where does Los Angeles fall in this urban agricultural scheme? Should Los Angeles look to New York City and/or San Francisco for guidance?

(continued)

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The irrefutable evidence of the FAO : decisive victory for city gardening in the war on hunger and poverty (Willem Van Cotthem)

Citizens of Ghent/Belgium (here in the allotments Slotenkouter) produce enough vegetables for the family all year long (Photo WVC)

Neighbours in allotments all over the world are motivating each other to improve their yield (Photo WVC)

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For many years already we have been promoting family (kitchen) gardens and allotment gardens (the “VICTORY GARDENS” of World War I and WW. II) as the most efficient tool to combat hunger, malnutrition and poverty (see a short list of former postings below).

It goes without saying that the voice of individuals or small groups, e.g. NGOs, is barely heard.  Nevertheless, the number of publications on successes booked with community gardens, urban gardening, allotments, family gardening and many other aspects of food production in urban areas is more than impressive. Even “guerilla gardening” can be seen as the expression of an urgent need to give urban gardening the chances it deserves.

And now the day has come ! Will it be a D-Day ?

In a message of June 10, 2011 the UNNews announces :

UN CITY GARDEN PROJECT IN DR CONGO
BOOSTS NUTRITION, JOBS AND PROFITS

With great pleasure we read :

“A five-year United Nations urban horticulture programme in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has more than doubled its output of vegetables, turned profits, increased nutrition and employed thousands – some at four and five times the income they made previously, according to a report issued today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The $10.4 million FAO plan, financed by Belgium and implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development since 2000, has assisted urban growers in five cities – Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Mbanza-Ngungu, Kisangani and Likasi – to produce 330,000 tons of vegetables annually, up from 148,000 in 2005-2006, FAO said in a <“http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/79813/icode/“>press release.

Less than 10 per cent of the vegetables produced by the project are consumed by beneficiaries. The remainder, constituting more than 250,000 tons of produce, is sold in urban markets and supermarkets, for up to $4 a kilo for the major vegetables produced: tomatoes, sweet peppers and onions, for a surplus value of about $400 million, FAO said.

“This programme has increased per capita daily intake of micronutrients: different types of greens, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and other vegetables, and as such is enormous help in the fight against malnutrition, especially amongst children and breast-feeding women in cities,” said Remi Nono-Womdim, an agricultural officer for FAO.

An estimated half of children in the DRC are chronically undernourished.

The FAO said the programme has also helped provide employment for 16,000 small-scale market gardeners, and to 60,000 people more in jobs linked to the horticulture business.

Farmers have seen their incomes increase dramatically,” FAO said. “On average, in Kinshasa and Lubumbashi for example, [the] annual income of each farmer has increased from around $500 in 2004 to $2,000 in 2010 and in Likasi it rose from $700 to $3,500. There have been similar increases in other cities.”

“It helped that many of the new city dwellers were rural immigrants who already had basic knowledge of crop production,” said Mr. Nono-Womdim. There were also sizeable areas of fertile land available, especially around Lubumbashi.

The FAO said the project in the DRC “is a flagship model of how to help cities grow their own nutrients and micro-nutrients to keep pace with growing demand.”

“The global number of urban dwellers is now higher than those living in rural areas. With the fastest growing cities situated in the developing world, vegetable growing in towns, cities, suburbs and shanty towns is essential to improving nutrition and food security in poor countries,” FAO said.

“The great thing is we have shown this goal can be reached, what we need to do now is scale-up production in the DRC and in other parts of Africa,” said Mr. Nono-Womdim.
________________

It goes without saying that all this is clearly the best news about combating hunger, malnutrition and poverty we heard in years.

It has been so frustrating to read continuously that billions (trillions ?) of dollars were needed to alleviate the children’s malnutrition and the hunger of a billion people every year.

It was so “illogical” that aid organizations continued to impose views on “the necessity to deliver commercial food packages or food baskets at a regular base” and to ship these loads of food continuously from North to South and from West to East, without considering the proven possibilities to grow fresh food locally, e.g. in community gardens, allotments, family gardens and the like.

Today, the UN-organization FAO has delivered the irrefutable evidence that the earthships’s course has to be changed as soon as possible : our food aid strategy should be heading to a new CAPE OF HOPE in the SEA OF FAMILY GARDENING with its capital the CITY GARDENS.

Even the blind should hear this message !

May God  bless the FAO and my country Belgium for that wonderful “City Garden Programme” in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the stepping stone project towards a world without hunger.  I couldn’t dream of a nicer present for “Father’s Day”.

by Willem Van Cotthem

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Please read also :

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/an-invitation-to-5-billion-non-hungry-people-on-earth-willem-van-cotthem/

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/urban-agriculture-a-tool-of-resilience-for-crisis-hit-western-economies-city-farmer-news-new-agriculturist/

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/to-all-aid-organizations-offer-a-survival-or-victory-garden-to-the-hungry-families-willem-van-cotthem/

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/08/17/allotment-gardens-for-daily-fresh-food-philippines-w-goethals/

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/grow-your-own-health-risks-and-benefits-of-producing-and-consuming-your-own-food-in-urban-areas-sheffield-univ/

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/addressing-immediate-hunger-needs-is-a-critical-long-term-investment-but-which-one/

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/how-the-world-went-crazy-for-allotment-or-community-gardens-google-the-independent/

http://desertification.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/container-gardening-to-grow-vegetables-in-the-city-w-goethals-deveza-holmer/

Women can play a very important role in the management and sustainability of a city garden (Photo WVC)
Benefits of a city garden: increased vegetable production, improved nutrition,, enhanced profits, employment of jobless people, an healthy occupation, social events (Photo WVC)
Some even participate in university research work on soil conditioning and fertilizing (Photo WVC)

Guerrilla Gardening (Envirowriters)

Read at :

http://envirowriters.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/response-3-guerrilla-gardening-com/

Response #3: Guerrilla Gardening.com

by David Apperson

The Getting Started page at guerrillagardening.com declares, “There is neglected orphaned land all over the place.  Pockets of resistance have broken out in some areas as guerrilla gardeners fight back to reclaim this precious resource and reclaim it.”  This website is full of how to and blog entries describing guerrilla gardening activities engaged in by people who want to make their cities greener, more beautiful places.

The website was started by a Londoner in 2004 to teach and inspire other extreme gardeners to push the boundaries of planting and cultivating.  The Blog section describes the year round activities of the Londoner while the Troop Digs page shows the submitted pictures and accompanying stories of guerrilla gardeners around the world.  I watched a video found on the Links page that told a story of a blind man whose beautiful ‘garden’ along his home street attracts passers by who purposefully walk there to enjoy the fruits of his labor. A group of guerrillas in Pezzana, Italy planted and grew a very large pumpkin on the abandoned soil patch containing the ‘Welcome to Pezzana’ sign.  Now visitors driving into their city are greeted with a garden and not an over grown mess.

(continued)

Spekboom (Portulacaria afra) for guerilla gardening and combating desertification (P. JANSSENS)

This is a plant species with multiple uses : food, fodder, fencing, gardening, bonsai, you name it …

A PLANT FOR ALL THE DRYLANDS … GO FOR IT !

Read at : Facebook

Pierre Janssens

November 12

You may know that Spekboom is a brilliant plant for your garden, hardy, water-wise, great for making fabulous evergreen hedges while helping suck CO2 from the atmosphere.

A small group of adventurous folk are putting Spekboom to use in their guerilla gardening activities (http://www.guerrillagardening.org/): we would love to share more about this with the broader public. If you are involved, please post some notes on the Spekboom group’s wall, or message me!

Regards,

Pierre & the Spekboom Team

 

The website “Guerilla Gardening” (Envirowriter)

Read at :

http://envirowriters.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/response-14-are-you-a-guerilla/

Response #14: Are You a Guerilla?

Posted on November 28, 2010 by ProctorSimone

The website “Guerilla Gardening” (http://www.guerrillagardening.org/index.html) encourages each reader to take the time and incorporate gardening into our life’s again. Although we are focused on our busy lifestyles, we should take the time for gardening, because it will create a beautiful environment and it will encourage a community to grow closer together.

Every reader will be affected by the website as it shows how simple it can be to make a difference to our communities. The website/blog is very effective in motivating the reader to create a green space in their individual surrounding. This is accomplished very well by the links provided such as a list of steps to take to create a community gardening group. The blog creates a wonderful way to connect the community by either facebook, twitter or sign up links. Further information about the benefits for our environment was not well discussed throughout the site. Overall, the blog fulfills its purpose perfectly by making it accessible and fun for the reader it is attended to address.

(continued)

Guerrilla gardening boosts local food security and redirects “troubled youth” (Food for Freedom / Yes! Magazine)

Read at :

http://foodfreedom.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/from-vacant-city-lots-to-food-on-the-table/#more-4409

From Vacant City Lots to Food on the Table

By Madeline Ostrander
Yes! Magazine

Guerrilla gardening boosts local food security and redirects “troubled youth,” at least until landowners capitalize on increased property value the gardens bring, writes Madeline Ostrander.

The first time I went to Richmond, Calif., nine years ago, my friend, who ran a punk music recording studio out of a converted warehouse, told us not to park our car on the street. The day before, vandals had walked the block and smashed several car windows.

At least a few things have started to change in Richmond since then: A berry garden sits beside a bike trail in the Iron Triangle, a neighborhood at the center of the city bordered on three sides by old rail lines. Once a month, Latino and African American families–often people who live just a few blocks from each other but rarely had a chance to meet in the past–gather at the garden and have a barbecue. Tomatoes, chard, and corn grow in raised beds across the street. Muslim families from the local mosque just a few blocks away pluck fresh mint from the garden for making traditional Arabic tea. The garden is the work of Urban Tilth, one of the dozen or so groups at the center of Richmond’s urban garden movement. It was built by community members, often young people, and is tended in part by students and teachers from the elementary school next door. And it has become a community gathering space. Continue reading “Guerrilla gardening boosts local food security and redirects “troubled youth” (Food for Freedom / Yes! Magazine)”

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