Friday, June 27, 2014

Farewell Cohort 8

Eleven weeks gone and the team working in urban agriculture and nutrition (Focapaci) are back to the U.K. It has been a period full of hard work, meaningful exchanges and endless emotive episodes.
First of all, I would like to point up what we learned on the matter and its significant relation with the next subjects:

ü  Nutritional and alimentary security: generally the production is organic, healthy and the good quality, without agrochemicals from the agro industry.  It helps to improve the nutrition of the producers and their surroundings, moreover of increasing the food diversity (more than 30 varieties). The products are accessible directly and daily, boosting food sovereignty, local control and farming for self-sufficiency. It is a clear paradigm of integrated farming because it goes from breeding small animals likes bees, guinea pigs, hens, ducks and so on, together with producing multiple vegetable and fruits.

ü   Environmental resource management:  La production is ecological, sustainable and innocuous, as well as helping to generate a better use of the resources and the spaces unsuitable for building. It also improves the reunion with the environment providing more green areas that embellish the environment. The waste reprocess in compost is other example of respect and love to the earth. The practice is far from the agro industry monoculture reality that is inclined to grow a single crop for a large number of consecutive years. Impacting negatively in the biodiversity conservation, pest risk (crops rotation helps to avoid same insects), soil fertility and the food variety.

ü  Economic development: These activities are a good example of entrepreneurial initiatives for growing local economies and stabilising distinguished markets. The average of excess for commercialisation reach the 42% that proportionate substantial income added to the 58% for personal consumption that represent a significant safe on the producers.

ü  Social responsibility: The production strengthens the plural economy (community involvement through and solidary). It is local produced and eaten (territory support, short circuits of production & alimentation). It creates a process of training, learning and implementation that is trespassed in a chain, which facilitates wellbeing, family and ecology.

ü  Social inclusion and interaction: Farming and breeding improve the mood & spirit. It could be exploited in providing occupational therapies for the elderly, people with multiple capacities, offenders, young people unemployed and so on.    

ü  Production techniques: Under the flag of agroecological farming (permaculture) is seek to optimize the production, consume and preservation by innovating and implementing new technologies like: Preparing the basic substrate with compost, fertiliser from tea,  vermicompost...; micropropagation with seedbeds; pest control with homemade bio-preparations; fumigation; vegetable production in pots;  home treatments for pest and diseases; homemade hydroponic farming; square feet farming; breeding small animals and much more.

There is a lot to do to guaranty the rights for alimentation as well as legitimating the production from urban, families and communities. It is needed: to reform legal frames and public policies; create national strategies and public budgets; increase his/her value/recognition; diminish social containment, participative and organisational processes; creation of alliances and public institutions, further social control and global movements among others.

A controversial detail about economy and agriculture is that the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) enquired to the nations/states 60.000 million dollars to eradicate the starvation in the world, the proposal was denied for lack of support. The global financial crisis started in 2007-08 with continued influencing into 2014 appears to have spent 17 trillion to stabilize the markets. It seems that the FAO could have eradicated the world´s starvation for a period of 600 years with that amount. Distressing! (Source facilitated AOPEB.org).

Without doubt, urban agriculture seems to have an important role in our contemporary society and it seems gaining importance in the last years. Personally, I feel coherent to be part of the engine of this movement of change. The Cohort 8 volunteers sympathised and engaged with cause without delay. During this period we achieved significant progress and impact such as: technical support to families; greenhouses improvements; awareness raising and exchanges; training in marketing and agro production techniques; participate in the creation of a document to improve the nutrition of the local families; video manuals production to implement new technologies; constitute a woman’s association with the aim to sale the production excess among restaurants, workplaces and other clients; and other activities supporting families and producers. The next pictures talk for themselves. Thank Cohort 8 very much and ICS for making of this fight a reality.

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