The cultivation of vegetables in patios and rooftops is a practice that is increasing in recent weeks in Mexican cities, not only as occupational therapy due to the isolation decreed in the country to contain the expansion of COVID-19 but as an alternative to produce food.
To find out how to start an urban garden and answer other questions, more and more people are getting in touch with groups that promote horticulture. Erandi Diaz is part of the 'Living Roofs' and 'Biosphere' projects that, for more than two decades, have been offering workshops on the sustainable production of food at home.
According to Diaz, the number of people who have asked him for advice to start their crops started to increase one month ago. “As all crises do, this crisis has led to an exponential increase in fear, but also in opportunities. There are people who wonder if the food situation is going to get harder and that is why we believe that it is time for them to take advantage and learn," he said.
Erandi has now opened his space as a workshop-school where people can go to help with planting, maintenance, and harvesting activities in exchange for learning, getting seeds to plant, and advice about how to grow them successfully.
He believes that isolation is a good opportunity for people to generate their own food in a healthier and more sustainable way. In addition, it gives them the possibility of having extra income from selling whatever is leftover from their harvest.
Monica Cevallos, the founder of the Organicos Pacha-Mama group also offers tools and knowledge to new urban farmers. She started producing her own food nearly 40 years ago to feed her eight children. Now she is dedicated to selling her food and teaching others what she has learned from her parents, grandparents, and her own experiences in various countries.
“It is not difficult. Planting a seed in the ground means you know how to wait. Wanting to learn how to sow is a matter of patience and decision. I always tell my students to find a space where the sun can give life to them, it can be in pots, on the terrace, by the windows, and they will see how their family panorama changes,” she stated.