Under the cement is sustenance

Under the cement is sustenance

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By Gustavo Dutch

Until a few months ago, those of us who live in the Horta neighborhood, in Barcelona, ​​could buy local food, very close, kilometer zero. Among the white floors that were built to house personnel related to the Olympic Games stands the orchard of Mr. Marcel·lí Oliva, a professional farmer who in about 2,000 square meters produced the food that the climate recommended. Escaroles, artichokes, tomatoes, cabbages or peppers that, when you came to buy them, I asked you to go and collect them yourself. Because for 20 years, being one of his clients, I always saw Mr. Marcel·lí maintaining the garden with a Herculean effort: dressed as a motorcyclist, with knee and elbow pads, he circulated through the flower beds in his wheelchair and from the ground, crawling , worked the terraces.


Now the orchard is involuntarily fallow, the land rests awaiting its destiny, which should be none other than the one that corresponds to it: to be sustenance. I do not know its legal situation, but can it be guaranteed that a space of these characteristics has the necessary administrative protection so that it continues to exercise the worthy job of feeding ourselves?

On October 15, 2015, Barcelona was one of the hundred world cities that signed the so-called Milan Pact for sustainable food. In other words, a formal commitment to redirect a food system totally dependent on industrial foods from anywhere in the world –with a very heavy backpack of environmental and social injustices– towards new models where healthy, seasonal and local food prevail. To make this transition possible, the pact recommends a series of very logical and feasible measures, such as, for example, modifying municipal ordinances to ensure that tenders that give access to managing kitchens in schools, hospitals or nursing homes prioritize those proposals that guarantee products ecological and local.

Or that they make direct sales possible with decent prices for those who produce and with affordable prices for those of us who consume. The pact also clearly speaks of the need to preserve and ensure with the corresponding measures that not another inch of agrarian land is lost.


There are wars for fertile land in Ukraine, in Honduras, in the Congo ... "Buy land, it is no longer manufactured," Mark Twain said ironically to speculators of his time, and Barcelona still has some agrarian spaces that must continue to act as orchards. Look how far the desire to end the agrarian reaches that the classification of land is basically divided into two: developable land or undeveloped land. What is living land, fresh and food, they callI usuallyand they surname him undeveloped, which, as researcher Carles Soler says, is the first step to make it potentially asphalt.

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