Bogotá D.C., Colombia

Innovative and Collaborative Solution

How does the initiative show evidence of feasibility, including on-going financial and logistical support?

The planned investment in the project to Strengthen Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture is COP $15,400,millions COP (4 Million USD approx) for the deployment of actions in the localities and to optimize the vegetable gardens and agricultural systems already implemented.

In this sense, progress is being made in the marketing strategy for urban farmers’ surplus crops through days called agroecological farmers’ markets, which are activated the first weekend of each month at the Botanical Garden facilities, where support is given to to farmers with technical assistance in practices such as association and crop rotation to have production of vegetables and tubers that the farmers themselves sell in the markets and the opportunity to offer their harvest products in a logistically adequate space for that purpose at no cost and without intermediaries.

The delivery of supplies offered by the Botanical Garden includes adaptation and preparation work and transportation to the beneficiary vegetable gardens.

In this way, the Botanical Garden contributes to the improvement of the conditions of urban gardens, promotes social and community organization, the social appropriation of these spaces and their sustainability.

The Bogotá Botanical Garden has as its goal the attention of 80 thousand people in the present four-year period with the resources destined for the development of this Program.

In what ways is the initiative innovative?

The main innovation in research is the review of the nutritional potential of fruit trees, vegetables, legumes, cereals, roots, grains and tubers and the search for transformation processes of these plants.

The objective is that urban farmers can take advantage of them for domestic consumption but also for sale, since the value and duration of the processed harvest products is greater, for which they can generate surpluses that make their activity more profitable.

Within the promotion of the practice, it has been possible to recover and innovate in conservation and food preparation techniques, where farmers are presented with various forms of preparation, with which it has been possible to generate a taste for the consumption of healthy and traditional foods that they had stopped consuming, due to the lack of knowledge and appropriation of the diversity of products that are generated at the national level, and that are adapted to the bioclimatic conditions of Bogotá.

In addition, the rescue of knowledge, traditions and experiences is contemplated, since the orchards are self-sustaining spaces that promote practices such as composting and vermiculture and allow the generation of organic fertilizers and fertilizers.

Taking advantage of the fact that Colombian popular culture is deeply linked to potato consumption, the promotion of native potato cultivation is proposed, for which the urban agriculture initiative includes spaces for participation and appropriation of knowledge, that is expressed in the preparation of gastronomic dishes, recipes and samples around this product.

How is the initiative supported by collaborative working across disciplines and sectors?

The practice of agriculture brings together experiences, different types of knowledge, through the participation in interdisciplinary groups, applying their technical and scientific knowledge in the activities that take place in the vegetable garden in order to improve technical conditions for increasing production, and maintaining quality and healthiness in the products of the garden.

Due to the crisis generated by the Covid 19 pandemic, in the city of Bogotá the urban agriculture practice increased considerably, as a food self-sufficiency alternative; especially in home and community gardens, with the participation of people of different ages and population groups.

As of 2020, requests from family, community and individuals groups seeking to learn or expand their knowledge about the practice of urban agriculture increased; From the second half of 2020 to February 2022, the entity has trained 14,266 people from different locations in Bogotá in basic urban agriculture and specialized topics.

Likewise, from the second half of 2020 to date, technical assistance and transfers of techniques and technologies have been made to 31,926 people linked to home, community, school, and institutional gardens. In addition, with the aim of increasing production, the Botanical Garden has delivered supplies to 11,970 vegetable gardens and has been supporting the processes established in the public space through the Protocol for Urban and Peri-urban Agroecological Agriculture in Public Space.

How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of community support?          

With the interventions carried out in the different localities of Bogotá, it is evident that the gardens have become places of community organization and work, where collective thought and interaction result in processes with incidental participation in the construction of plans and public policies; as is the case of the collective construction of the Protocol for Urban and Peri-urban Agroecological Agriculture and the District Program for Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture, where community-based organizations converge and collective work ideas are deployed and reported, seeking to strengthen these processes and increase the support of the institutions.

With the urban agriculture program, activities have been coordinated between public institutions, training and higher education centres, and social organizations, which contribute to the strengthening of the social fabric in the territory.
For example, it has the support of foundations that have been organized taking food sovereignty as their main axis of work, with the implementation of home and community gardens that contribute to the family basket and generate surpluses for sale in local markets creating short channels of commercialization.

Organizations that aim to take advantage of organic waste generated from home gardens with which they produce and sell fertilizers have also joined.