Urban gardens in Bogotá – #WeWantToKnowYourGarden

Hello to all Agrohuerters. Following the initiative that Daniel Horcajo presented a few months ago: We want to know your garden. Today we are going to see a garden in Bogotá.

Your experiences are coming to us for which we are very grateful, it is always good to know other realities, ways of doing things, places etc…

Urban garden in Bogotá

Today I share with you the experiences of Mafe, @MafeRaptor, a psychologist by profession and an urban farmer at heart, a native of Bogotá.

About 8 months ago, Mafe decided to pass on to her 8-year-old daughter, Hannah, the ecological principles of her parents’ garden. Accustomed to eating healthy with local products, they decided to set up their own urban garden in Plazuelas del Virrey, a town in Engativá (in Bogotá, a locality refers to several nearby neighborhoods). What mainly motivated Mafe to create her garden was to be able to provide her daughter with products grown by themselves with all that that entails:

The first reason was Hannah’s food, she is happy eating everything that comes out of the garden, tomatoes, courgettes, peas, lettuce, chard, onions, spinach…

Here we see how they raise the grass of the park to start with the urban garden

The colonization of space is quite curious, Mafe together with his partner Andrés settled, as you can see in the image, in a public space where there used to be grass, thus continuing with his father’s project: » Live Organic». As you know, in Spain it is not possible to build plots for parks and gardens to create your own orchard, but as María explains:

It is a public space, but there are people who have gardens, others only have cement…

An urban garden with citizen participation

From what I have been able to read (and I hope I am not mistaken), the law protects and supports them from the draft agreement 299 of 2010: «BY WHICH THE CREATION OF URBAN GARDENS IS PROMOTED WITH CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN THE PARKS AND SOME FISCAL ASSETS DISTRICT AND OTHER PROVISIONS ARE ENACTED».

So, from my point of view, Mafe and Andrés have done very well to take advantage of that space to grow their own food:

First planting of the garden

A little more about the garden in Bogotá

As you have seen, the garden is located next to a park and basketball courts, a perfect space to show the benefits of agriculture to children and neighbors, who do not hesitate to help Mafe by giving her eggshells to create repellent for slugs, the recycled water after washing tanks, rice, the second wash of the washing machine… And taking care of the garden so that outsiders do not mistreat it.

The neighbors are happy admiring, people from other neighborhoods passing by… I’ve spoken with Catholic Christians, hare krishnas, metalheads, hippies… It’s great, this unites a lot.

The management of the orchard is 100% ecological, they use the fertilizer and native seeds from their parents’ farm and other seeds exchanged with others interested in this orchard.

Fertilizers are compost (with equinaza, bovinaza, conejasa, better said, everything), humus, mycorrhizae. I bring this material from the farm that my parents had in the town.

Irrigation, as I already said, is with recycled water and it is applied with a bucket to save money, with great care plant by plant. They also use grass clippings from the park to mulch the bed and keep it moist after a watering.

Garlic is used for pest control, simply macerating it in water for one day and applying it with a sprayer, they get a good remedy to ward off pests. Weed control is manual, with the dimensions of the orchard it does not take more than half an hour a day.

As you can see, Mafe and Andrés have achieved a beautiful space for their neighborhood with less than an hour of work per day. And although they have had occasional problems with theft, their neighbors have caught on to their idea and are beginning to cultivate the surrounding plots or their own balconies.

The residents of Mafe have been encouraged to create their own gardens

Mafe is acting as a garden teacher, giving advice and exchanging seeds with her neighbors. They are currently in proceedings with the community action board to give the Vive Orgánico project a greater voice, try to get some funding to improve the garden and create a neighborhood full of urban gardens so that children like Hannah can learn where things come from and elders educate them in ecological culture and have a healthy diet.

We have talked with the president of the communal action board (the one who represents the neighborhood) to expand the idea, but there is a long way to go, and I am surprised that Bogotá is still behind in educating about food and how easy it is to have a space with something healthy to eat.

Little more, I leave you the final result so that you can admire everything they have produced in such a small space, thank Mafe for telling us her story in such detail and so many photographs, and tell you to encourage yourself to do like her, plant your garden and tell us about your experience. #We want to know your garden.

All the best!

A small plot can give a lot of production

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