Putting urban gardens on the map

Growing support for urban mini-gardens like the sack gardens promoted by GSC in Tanzania. To learn how you can support a family with a sack garden, go to http://globalservicecorps.org/site/donate/#sackgarden

 

A woman watering plants in a community micro-garden in Dakar. Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN

[www.irinnews.org]

DAKAR, 13 December 2010 (IRIN) – Mame Penda Diouf talks over car horns and city bus engines as she shows off potted lettuce, mint and potato plants at a traffic circle in the Senegal capital, Dakar. A trader and horticulture trainer, she says micro-gardening creates jobs and allows people to better feed their families.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and many other international and local institutions are pushing just that message – that micro-gardening and other forms of urban horticulture can go a long way to boosting city dwellers’ food security and improving living conditions.

“It is urgent to mainstream urban and peri-urban horticulture, and to recognize its role as a motor in food security and nutrition strategies,” Modibo Traoré, FAO assistant director general, told an international symposium in Dakar organized by FAO and the Senegalese government.

Two hundred people from 39 countries met from 6 to 9 December to talk about building an international network to promote and implement urban horticulture, incorporating the practice into urban planning, and developing alternatives to pesticides.

Urban and peri-urban horticulture is the cultivation of a wide range of crops – including fruits, vegetables, roots, tubers and ornamental plants – in cities and towns and the surrounding areas. FAO says an estimated 130 million urban residents in Africa and 230 million in Latin America engage in agriculture, mainly horticulture, to provide food for their families and/or earn an income.

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