Welcome back to Brazil dear friends. You’ve been reading us for a while to understand that urban agriculture’s issues are not just interesting to us, but we also consider them very important. Unexpectedly their values’ confirmation came, after almost four months of travel, in São Paulo metropolis. Last Sunday we were lucky to attend the first Urban Agriculture Festival at Praça Victor Civita. The very square where it took place – by restoring a closed factory, with recycled water and energy – shows the will to have a more sustainable life in the city.
Stands full of organic food from local producers; numerous presentations and talks of associations ecologically engaged in: rescuing and protecting native bees (SoS Resgate – already met at the beginning of our travel), the urban agroecology movement (MUDA – hi to our friend Mehl who is part of it ? ), with the presence of one of Brazilian pioneers of agroecology Ana Primavesi, Pancs (plantas alimentícias não convencionais – in Brazil there are more than 10.000 species); a practical laboratory on how to implant an urban garden; a laboratory of eco-gastronomy and much more…
Even though we were still recollecting energies, we didn’t want to miss it! As we conceive it, urban agriculture goes beyond the so called “movement” (that is a group of people who for whatever reason start to plant in the city) to enclose a more profound intention of collective practice supported by sensibility, ethics and education. Of course dedicating oneself to real cultivation requires a certain degree of knowledge, time and interest, whereas to participate in the very idea of urban agriculture we believe should involve anyone without distinction. Briefly: even if I don’t go as far as creating my own garden, I should not disregard being interested in how my food is produced. Eating/drinking are vital and transcultural actions for all human beings, therefore any person should at least feel responsible of his/her food choice: a product grown with agrotoxics, dangerous for both natural environment and its inhabitants (us included) or a product grown with agroecologic and social justice principles?
Objections could arise. For instance, about organic food’s expensive prices. This is true, but not impossible to avoid. In fact in the sensibility above mentioned it is also included the common sense to understand when organic stands for a business that takes advantage of a niche market (as in a supermarket’s organic brand) and where/who we address to access healthy, economically sustainable and ethical food. As a matter of fact we’d like to underline that our discourse also involves the social-economic side of the encountered ecologic practices. As much as it is true that during these months we’ve spent more money to avoid buying coca-cola’s water by choosing local brands, it is equally right that leaving behind the industrial organic and preferring small local agroecologic producers we’ll save up money helping each other mutually. It only takes a little more effort and research. It only needs modifying some little habits. Let’s detach from laziness and the paralyzing sensation that change always seems the most difficult way.
As you see the day spent at the festival made us think a lot, especially since we reckon that current urban agriculture is as much determining as the one in the fields either for the bigger number of people living in cities and for their potential decision power. Therefore as we had opened our blog with the question “what future to build?” now we can affirm that in order to change the status quo, from the environmental point of view, ecology (intended as protector of all disciplines that have anything to do with the environment) should be foundation of any human thought/action. Then, if you also believe in it, let’s start by building together a future of cultivation. Let’s build a permanent culture of care! It’s not a case that the word “culture” comes from the Latin verb colere that means “to cultivate” or “to treat with care”… let’s cultivate our new life!