Caracas embraces city gardening for improved nutrition, jobs
As urban populations soar, authorities consider how to augment fresh food supply
9 March 2004, Caracas, Venezuela -- City vegetable gardening may be the next big thing. The timing is right. In 2005, the world's urban population is expected to surpass the rural population. Three billion city dwellers will need safe and affordable food. Yet poverty rates in developing-world cities often exceed 50 percent with chronic joblessness and malnutrition.
Can widespread city gardening - organized with due regard for food quality and safety and economic and environmental sustainability - provide not only on-the-spot fresh produce, but also jobs for the poor and better nutrition for their families?
In 2003, Venezuela, supported by FAO, launched a major experiment in urban agriculture to find out. The government installed 4 000 microgardens in poor neighbourhoods of Caracas and started 20 horticultural cooperatives in and around the city.
In this field report, project participants describe in their own words the initiative's benefits and problems, and how they have come so far so fast. Read more in related stories on the right.
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