I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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40% Of Russia’s Food Is Grown From Dacha Gardens  RSS feed

 
duane hennon
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http://www.trueactivist.com/40-of-russias-food-is-grown-from-dacha-gardens/

40% Of Russia’s Food Is Grown From Dacha Gardens
While the majority of citizens in developed nations rely on large-scale agriculture, the Russian people feed themselves

"In a thought-provoking article shared by Natural Homes, it was reported that in 2011, 51% of Russia’s food was grown either by dacha communities (40%), or by peasant farmers (11%). The remaining 49% of production was left to large agricultural enterprises.

When one digs deeper into the numbers reported by Russian Statistics Service, however, some very impressive details are discovered. In 2011, dacha gardens produced over 80% of the country’s fruit and berries, over 66% of the vegetables consumed, almost 80% of the potatoes purchased, and nearly 50% of the nation’s milk supply – much of it consumed raw.

These impressive statistics inspire one to ponder why more nations aren’t following suit."


If the "ruskies" can do it, surely Americans can do it even better!!! (where's the flag emoticom?)



 
Dale Hodgins
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duane hennon
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http://www.underwoodgardens.com/local-food-growing-your-own/russian-dacha-gardening-homescale-agriculture-feeding-everyone/
Russian Dacha Gardening – Homescale Agriculture Feeding Everyone

.................................
Clearly, there is something to be acknowledged and studied here! Of note to us Americans, dacha gardening or self-provisioning gardening was the foundational reason that the Russian people did not experience a famine in the early 1990s after the USSR collapsed, and the state sponsored, heavily subsidized, industrial commercial agriculture collapsed along with it. This drew the attention of researchers seeking to find an explanation. Several attempts to explain it away as only a survival strategy have failed, especially when the extensive historical context is examined. Dacha gardening is much more than merely survival, and has always been."

.......................
"Today’s dacha gardening closely resembles the peasant gardening production of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This shows a continuation of methods and techniques that have proven effective in a small scale garden that works as well today as 200 years ago. The Russians do not use machines – tillers or tractors – or animals on their garden plots, cultivating them in much the same way as the peasants did in the 18th Century."

.............

"Dacha gardening is not and never has been simply a survival strategy – a response to poverty, famine, adverse weather or social unrest. Recent studies have shown that Russian food gardening is a highly diverse, sustainable and culturally rich method of food production. This was initially recognized almost a century ago and has been confirmed more recently."

................

"Despite their significant contribution to the national food economy, the majority of dachas mostly function outside of the cash economy, as most dacha gardeners prefer to first share their surplus with relatives and friends after saving enough to feed them through the winter, and only then look at selling what remains. A few will sell the remainder at local markets, and move into a small market production model for extra cash.

The Russian mindset relating to the sharing of surplus food is important to examine, as it is one of the keys that ensure the success of the dacha gardening model. In dacha gardening, people will share their excess food out of a sense of abundance or plenty. It is a very positive and powerful motivator which creates an upward, positive spiral of sharing among the community."


somewhat permie-esque , no?
 
John Elliott
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It's been that way for a long time, Eastern Europe has always been agricultural and people were into growing the food they eat on the land outside the back door.

One of the misunderstandings from the Communist era was the discussion of "private plots" in the Western media when they were talking about Soviet or Eastern bloc agriculture. They made "private plots" sound like the allotments that are common in Britain or kitchen gardens that are common in Western Europe. Not exactly. A "private plot" or its modern day equivalent, the "dacha garden" is a piece of out-of-the-way dirt that has no centrally planned purpose and is too small to bother with. Think a few dozen tomato plants along a railroad embankment; asparagus planted and tended by someone along a government irrigation ditch; some plum trees planted along a highway. This is guerrilla gardening being practiced long before the term was coined in the West.

If you travel around Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and you have a good eye, you can spot these impromptu gardens. But you have to have a good eye, because if everyone know about them, well, the productivity of the "private plot" would go down as more garden pests of the two-legged variety descended upon them. One of the reasons they can do this is because people live in town and not out in the country, which is popular in the U.S. There, you may have a 6-story apartment block and to the east of it nothing but hectares and hectares of sugar beets as far as the eye can see. So for someone with an apartment in that 6-story block, if they want to have some extra food security, a "private plot" if you will, they go on a trek every day. Along the railroad track, under the trestle, then walk up the creek a while until you get to a gully that is too steep for the tractors tending the sugar beet field to plow, and you may have your .89 to 2.75 hectares that the article mentions. The plots I saw never looked that big, but I was just eyeballing.

So that's where the 51% referred to in the article comes from. It's not the big crops that rely on mechanized equipment and industrial production methods, resulting in harvests that are very cheap on a weight basis: wheat, rye, sugar beets, sunflowers. It's cabbage, tomatoes, raspberries, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and did I mention cabbage? They do eat a lot of cabbage: fresh cabbage, pickled cabbage, cabbage soup, cabbage rolls, cabbage stuffed into a bun and baked.

But these "dacha gardens" are not what you could call well designed permaculture. The word "opportunistic" is far more descriptive than designed, although it uses elements that we recognize as permaculture: hedges of elderberry or coppiced fruit trees as borders; hop vines climbing through the nearby trees creating layers and guilds; companion planting like letting dill opportunistically pop up anywhere it wants to and encouraging it instead of weeding it out.

They have stumbled into permaculture more out of economic necessity than anything else. The reason they have done so one of our guiding principles in permaculture: because it is sustainable.
 
Nicole Alderman
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Not all dacha gardens took place on abandoned/undesirable land. My sister-in-law spent the first 20+ years of her life there. During most of the year, she lived in the city in apartment, but during the growing season, she would go to live at her grandma's "summer home." It's a tiny little house. I recall reading there were restrictions as to how large a dacha house could be (according to wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dacha, they were limited to under 646 sqft, but those restrictions were eliminated in the 90's). They had their own plot of land surrounding their own home.

I remember her talking about how she would go pick nettle to feed to their geese (she did it so much that she became immune to the sting of it), and how everyone shared their food surplus with one another, and how big of a garden her grandmother had.

I love the concept of a dacha garden: the sharing of surplus, the utilization of undesirable land, the close-knit community, the self-sufficiency from growing one's own food. I would love to create that same type of community with my neighbors. Though, I am happy to be able to garden on my property all year round, rather than just in the summer months!
 
Steve Farmer
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UK 256 people / square km
USA 35 people / square km
Russia 8.4 people / square km

I think this has a lot to do with the ease of finding a "private garden".

 
Seva Tokarev
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Steve Farmer wrote:UK 256 people / square km
USA 35 people / square km
Russia 8.4 people / square km

I think this has a lot to do with the ease of finding a "private garden".


If you consider European Russia (where 3/4 of population lives), population density is 28 people per square kilometer.
These days, majority of people live in cities (and keep moving from smaller cities to the larger ones.)
So, for a megapolis dweller, finding a plot can be difficult. I have heard of Moscowites spending 3 hours to get to their dacha by car (and that's early on Saturday morning.)

At one time (late 1980s,) government was giving away plots through place of employment.
As mentioned before, often (but not at all always) that would be in a place inconvenient for commercial agriculture.
My parents' 1/4 acre plot was located on a 15%-ish slope on a creek bank.

I am afraid that impressive share of dacha-produced food wouldn't look so bright if commercial agriculture wasn't in a sorry state (despite recent improvements, it's production is still at about 75% of 1990 level.)
Just food production isn't the only, and perhaps even the primary, purpose of it.

duane hennon wrote:somewhat permie-esque , no?

Mostly sustainable and largely self-sufficient, yes.

Dale Hodgins wrote:The huge collective farms of the Stalin Era, failed to produce enough. There was famine. Ukraine suffered more than most other areas. A combination of factors were involved.

Last famine was in 1946. We are speaking of 1980s, maybe 1970s, phenomenon.
Can't speak of Stalin Era, but Brezhnev era collective farms were producing enough (more that modern day Russian agriculture does, at any rate.) There were shortages of meat and diary, but dachas do not help there much.

duane hennon wrote:(where's the flag emoticom?)

I found one for you:
 
Dale Hodgins
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Considering the distances involved and modes of transportation, it seems that many of these gardens are dependent on petroleum, even when all work is done by hand.

A return to family farms, would greatly reduce the need to travel and it would allow complete systems with animals, trees, perennial and annual crops. Whenever tenure is in doubt, people tend to make short term plans and investments. When people have faith in the system not falling apart and when theft is minimal, long term decisions can be made. More trees get planted, fences and other structures are built and other expensive improvement is possible.

Whenever it is necessary to hide, or when continued tenure is in doubt, simple improvements may be a waste of time and money.
 
Ann Torrence
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Steve Farmer wrote:UK 256 people / square km
USA 35 people / square km
Russia 8.4 people / square km

I think this has a lot to do with the ease of finding a "private garden".


I wonder what the people/arable square km is in each country. US has plenty of desert, Russia has a lot of extreme northern land.
 
Seva Tokarev
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Considering the distances involved and modes of transportation, it seems that many of these gardens are dependent on petroleum, even when all work is done by hand.


Well, yes, but no.
Back in the day, people were using public transportation a lot. It's much more economical to bus 100 people than to have them drive there by car individually.
And, since dachas were distributed on the basis of employment, place of employment often would provide the bus, too.

My in-law's dacha was on a railroad line, an hours ride from home.

My father liked to walk from dacha, it took him 2 hours to get to the place where he could catch a city trolleybus.

Some people would build a tiny house and live on their dacha in the summer. In particular, retired grandparents with their grandchildren.
 
Seva Tokarev
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Ann Torrence wrote:
I wonder what the people/arable square km is in each country. US has plenty of desert, Russia has a lot of extreme northern land.


Excellent point!
According to Wikipedia, it's 195 people/ km² for US and 125 for Russia. Rather comparable.
 
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