FARMERS-TO-CONSUMERS: AN EXAMPLE OF SUSTAINABLE SOILLESS HORTICULTURE IN URBAN AND PERI-URBAN AREAS
As urban populations rise, new strategies to address nutritional requirements are needed. People moving from rural areas often end up in the suburbs, facing severe poverty and unbalanced nutrition. Improving urban agricultural production is constrained by limited access to fertile land, but the introduction of low cost hydroponic gardens may be a sustainable way to launch horticultural production on roofs, terraces and courtyards. Gardens also perform a social function, restoring the associative mentality lost when emigrants leave their communities. In this study, we propose the adoption of community hydroponic gardens as a tool to overtake poverty, improve nutrition and increase associative attitude. A democratic organization of women farming groups, together with the role of a technical assistance centre is described. Agricultural production is managed by the groups, where both intercropping patterns for home consumption and commercial leafy vegetable production are conducted. Fresh produce for the market is washed and packaged and sold to supermarkets and restaurants in the city. The technical assistance centre provides tutoring, agricultural inputs and manages commercial relations. Its sustainability is assured by a percent of the vegetable marketing income. It also offers training to students of local agricultural schools. A socio-economic overview of the advantages created by the installation of community gardens is considered.
Orsini, F., Michelon, N., Scocozza, F. and Gianquinto, G. (2009). FARMERS-TO-CONSUMERS: AN EXAMPLE OF SUSTAINABLE SOILLESS HORTICULTURE IN URBAN AND PERI-URBAN AREAS. Acta Hortic. 809, 209-220
women, groups, sustainable farming, community gardens, lettuce