SPAIN’S economic crisis is fuelling a rise in the number of community gardens springing up across the country.
A need to share resources and an increased sense of community spirit as people struggle with the recession, are widely viewed as the reasons for the recent trend.
Among those making a successful go of it is El Caminito in Malaga, a 100-square-metre vegetable plot tended by 15 people.
The disused land has been worked since being loaned from the council last summer and is a focal point for the community, growing a variety of produce including tomatoes, maize and avocados.
“I think it is essential for people to have access to spaces for activities and for getting together, because the crisis is social as well as financial,” said Jorge, an El Caminito gardener.
“The crisis we are experiencing is leading to a paradigm shift. Urban vegetable gardens are related to the breakdown of the economic system and of traditional social movements.”
Urban gardens began to take root six years ago, but the movement has increased in popularity in the last couple of years with more than 260 associations in Madrid alone.
Jose Luis Fernandez from Madrid’s Regional Federation of Neighbourhood Associations, said: “Urban gardens not only recover unused spaces, but are also meeting places and open air social centres that promote values.”