Guatemala: urban vegetable gardens against shortages in times of containment

Guatemala: des potagers urbains contre les pénuries en temps de confinement

Guatemala | Guatemalans have undertaken to fight against food shortages in times of containment against the coronavirus improvised gardens on their balconies or in the patios of their houses.

Spinach, potatoes, rosemary, carrots, basil, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, beans… are in vogue.

“Before we had neither the time nor the place, but we are in a time of pandemic, and I was able to put me on. Now it is an add-in to feed us”, explained to AFP Adriana Armas, a student aged 25 years who lives in the capital.

In Guatemala, where a curfew is imposed on the population, more than 5,000 confirmed cases have been recorded officially, and more than a hundred patients have died of the new coronavirus.

“Of course, we do not live by agriculture, as a lot of people in the countryside. It is a plan B in anticipation of what may happen to us” in terms of food shortage, the student adds.

She said that he started his seedlings in cardboard egg where she had put the earth, and “little by little plants started to grow”, providing him with fresh food.

Chemical engineer Crista Chavez, age 28, at home, grows it also in his home city of Guatemala a small vegetable garden for the family, it enriches the earth with his own compost.

“Lots of learning”

“I see it as something long-term because it requires a lot of learning, acquire a lot of techniques, and as human beings it is part of us, the fact of being able to harvest”, she says.

For her, it is necessary to teach children to gardening. A belief that sharing Erick Torres, an educator who teaches for an international organization, techniques of organic agriculture to farmers who need to achieve food self-sufficiency.

“Because of the situation that we live (due to sars coronavirus), we see the need to broaden and diversify their crops to meet their food needs,” insists Erick Torres, who helps his brother build a greenhouse in the tourist city of Antigua Guatemala (at the south-west of the capital).

In addition to producing food, the gardens can provide the taste of the day “traditional seeds” that are transmitted from generation to generation, welcomes there.

A legacy to pass on

“The vegetable garden, it is a school, it produces food, seed and allows the transmission of our biological heritage and cultural”, insists Erick Torres, who should provide this advice on the internet.

The demand for the seed has exploded with the proliferation of home gardens, and Erick Torres is said to have sold in two weeks what it was seven months usually to sell.

The nephew of educator, Alejandro Torres, a bartender, aged 23 years, private work, has put him also in the garden, to provide food for the family and save the money for the rent.

As this is not uncommon in Antigua Guatemala, this is the family that has been hit by the crisis in the tourism industry : “My dad is a tourist guide, my little sister has been sacked from her job of a waitress in a bar, my big sister did the cooking and prepared the coffee… We had to close our restaurant because of the restrictions imposed by the government” to combat the pandemic, says Alejandro Torres.

But, he adds with pride, “now, have a carrot, a potato in his plate that makes us measure the value of the food, and the earth,” in which it was produced.

“Finding our roots is important. Unfortunately, we have had to go through (…) to know where we derive our food (…) to relearn how to grow gardens,” says the bartender turned.

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