Changes are afoot on the moorlands outside of Bogotá.
Brothers Lázaro and Javier Rodríguez who live in the Sesquilé municipality, are just one example of families looking to use “green” agricultural techniques to support their livelihood.
“Previously potatoes were grown in this area using three chemical sprays per month to kill off illnesses and pests. Now, large scale farms will use up to 28 chemical sprays per crop,” Javier told Colombia’s El Tiempo.
The Rodríguez are leading the way in conscious agriculture, having turned to organic compost production, using food and organic waste, to fertilize their crops.
New production and growing techniques form part of the curriculum at urban agro-educational schools, scattered across Bogotá as part of an initiative by the water and sewerage company (EAB).
Part of the project is to teach farmers “friendlier” growing methods, which ensure crop yields remain high while reducing environmental damage.
“We are more aware of the environmental impact. We don’t waste as much water as before,” Lázaro adds.
“We are very excited by the process, we eat healthily and the idea is that others can too as it not only benefits their health, but also helps the environment,”
Back in Bogotá
In Bogotá too, green growing initiatives are taking off across the city.
Francia Camelo is from a sugarcane growing family in the Tolima department, she is also heavily involved in organizing vegetable box initiatives with local organic farmers.
“I began working with my brothers, bringing our organic sugar cane to Bogotá. During the week I talk to growers to see what they are going to bring, what they have been growing.”
“All the food we sell here comes from close to Bogotá or in Bogotá – we don’t want to waste fuel or energy resources just for a few kilos of rice.” she tells Latin Correspondent.
As more and more growers become aware of the benefits of sustainable farming, “going green” will hopefully become more mainstream for agricultural processes in and around the Colombian capital.
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