Farm in the Ville

By sad rule, it's in times of stress that we all tend to look at things more clearly, […]

Sadly, it's in times of hardship that we all tend to look at things more clearly, relegating the superfluous to its proper place.

However, as a stubbornly resistant village of the Gauls, Portugal, even in debt up to the 5th generation, and in a Europe in imminent collapse (or revealing its true face), resists clairvoyance and basic common sense.

A symptom of this, he picks up good ideas that could represent some added value and, grotesquely, perverts them into a twisted caricature that, from the original concept, and with luck, just keeps the name.

This is the case of urban gardens. Urban gardens represent the concern to preserve, within the urban fabric, areas of productive capacity that allow for proximity between consumption centers and production centers. This proximity makes it possible not only to increase the quality of products, by eliminating travel times, but also to reduce prices, precisely because of the elimination of long transport.

In addition, the production generated by these gardens, whose management and maintenance is given to the citizens, allows a complement of fresh supply to the homes of these families, not even mentioning the social benefits (increased human contact), psychological (relief of the stress and productivity sensation) and ecological (permeability, oxygenation) that the penetration of the “countryside” in the “city” represents.

The city lives off the countryside.

This concept has been a workhorse of Landscape Architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles for at least 30 years. Finally, signs begin to emerge that your hard and tireless work of education is bearing fruit.

But such grotesque deformations are also beginning to appear. Is that urban gardens should be an instrument of urban management designed in an integrated manner. Thinking of them as kitsch or yuppies scattered around the city is a last resort for urban centers where fields and farms have long been decimated by concrete.

Therefore, flagging in an arch the bet on urban gardens, while razing meadows and floodplains for more of the same – piles of concrete – is to announce, with pomp and circumstance, interior decoration in a building condemned to demolition the next day .

Even more serious is destroying what little we have.

The fields of the urban peripheries must be the real vegetable gardens. Many of them, without personnel to operate, or even abandoned, only need the establishment of intelligent and mutually beneficial partnerships between private and local authorities so that some parcels can be handed over to citizens who, in return for the benefits they derive from the land, collaborate in the effort general of agricultural holdings.

Maybe it's more interesting than being at the cafe, living on subsidies or whining about the lack of them.

A country that votes its agricultural potential to abandonment and drowning by concrete is not poor, it is simply stupid.

Food is not an ideological issue. It is a question of basic survival and national sovereignty – one that, in addition to the countless attacks it has suffered, is now experiencing another fierce attack, with the angry and abject desire to abolish the December 1st holiday.

When the external credit tap closes for good, and imports cease because there is no longer anyone who sells on credit to Portugal, we will discover the meaning of only producing about 25% of what we eat.

Until the hunger, we go happily playing to “Farm na ville”…


Text from: Gonçalo Gomes

landscape architect

Note: The author writes according to the old Spelling Agreement