Urban Agriculture

The main purpose of implementing urban agriculture programs is to create spaces for growing food at home which in turn provide fresher and healthy food, so needed considering the big obesity problem in Yucatan, the use of compost and promotes the exchange of crops among local residents.

Urban agriculture involves economic, recreational and ecological benefits to city residents. It is especially important for food supply and can be an important contribution to family income. It is an activity that creates income opportunities, resources in kind, and also encourages the creation of neighborhood and local networks.

Urban agriculture provides other benefits, less visible. By reducing the distance from producer to consumer, there is less need for marketing, transport and packaging, which is an advantage from the viewpoint of costs. This practice also benefits the environment by promoting soil development and the creation of green spaces that benefit the local flora and fauna.

Mérida Siembra Program

During the months of November and December 2013 Merida Siembra was implemented by our association with the support of the Ministry of Social Development (Sedesol) and the Government of the State of Yucatan.

A workshop on bio-intensive urban agriculture was taught in four locations in the city, aimed at people interested in growing organic food in their homes. The workshop ended with a celebration where participants gathered to share experiences.

The team highlighted the work of the Lic. Daen Badillo and M. Sc. Paul Wood who were the teachers, M.Sc. Luis Novelo as technical advisor and Dr. Helga Geovannini who served as the coordinator. The courses were given at Chuburná, Sitpach, Fracc. Francisco de Montejo y Chichí Suárez.







Among the various issues discussed were growing organic food, location and design of the home garden, making compost, seedbed preparation, sowing, transplanting, maintenance, fertilization, pest control, nutrition and healthy eating among others .At the end of the course, the closure of Mérida Siembra program was done at Col. Garcia Ginerés. The organizers and attendees shared their experiences and the importance of creating a network of urban farmers was emphasized.

Finally, after sharing stories and experiences, each of the beneficiaries received a kit of seeds and humus to plant at home. Subsequently, they tasted different dishes, novel, nutritious and healthy foods. We also had the opportunity to apply two surveys to the participants, a program evaluation and an eating and physical activity questionnaire. The results allowed us to realize some aspects of nutrition, mobility, physical activity and other data that will be useful to design programs that best suit the needs of the Meridanos.

The implementation of this program brought many benefits to 81 people of Merida and their families. The attendants developed skills that enable them to cultivate at home, and thus have access to fresh, healthy crops for consumption, and also to the possibility of a better nutrition with less expense. Likewise participants formed networks, both formal and informal. Some of the participants already have a potential self-employment option in the medium and long term.