In the hilltops of barrio Antímano in the urban metropolis of Caracas, surrounded by defunct factories, there is a quiet food revolution going on.
The Fernando Carlos Clavijo “agricultural production unit,” is just one of the more than 19,000 farming cooperatives being developed by the government in conjunction with organized communities in a bid to change the way food is produced in Venezuela and to move towards a model of sustainable and community-based food production.
The idea of the UPA in Antímano was originally thought up by families in the area, who spent 3 months cleaning the area and making it suitable for food cultivation. However the project is also supported by the State, and the unit has received economic and technical support through the Ministry of Agriculture, the national Agriculture Bank and CIARA (Training and Innovation Support Service for the Agrarian Revolution).
The unit has been up and running for over a year now and grows all kinds of fruits and vegetables, including cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions and papaya, and will soon begin to produce eggs. The products are sold at low prices to the local community, or often given away or exchanged for other goods.
As well as the cultivation of vegetables, the unit is also experimenting with different methods of fish farming to produce cachamas, a type of Venezuelan fish, in heated tanks outside.
Orailene Macarri, one of the women belonging to the unit, told me that there are currently 15 families working there, and that the government’s ultimate goal is for all communities to have access to a UPA.
The unit is considered to be so successful that the families involved have been put in charge of organising training days and helping other units to mimic the experience.
These heated tanks are used for fish (Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis)
The unit currently has over 500 cachama (Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis)
A cachama (Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis)
Inside the greenhouse (Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis)
Spring onion (Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis)
These little tables are being promoted by the government as a way for those who live in the barrio to grow their own vegetables. Citizens can apply for the tables, as well as training packs, fertilizer and seeds through their communal councils or directly through the Ministry of Agriculture. The government has also set up information points in the capital’s metros to inform citizens of the project (Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis)
An example of how the tables are being used by a family in the hilltops of Antímano barrio… (Rachael Boothroyd/Venezuelanalysis)