Urban Agriculture: Havana as inspiration for the Hague

Yesterday the movie ‘Borders in Our Mind’ about urban agriculture in Havana and the Hague had its premiere at Stroom in the Hague. The documentary was made by artists Annechien Meier and Gaston Wallé. Central theme of Annechien’s work is the communication between people in urban and rural environments. With her installations she tries to rouse people’s curiosity about their interaction with the environment around them. Producing food in the city, is one way of doing this. She departs from the idea that allotment gardens reflect values of a culture in a specific time and place and give possibilities for people to come in touch with each other and the (natural) world around them.

Annechien also started the project ‘Panderplein’ in the Brouwersgracht in the Hague. Here, she built a vegetable garden in cooperation with the inhabitants. Since this summer, the first vegetables have been harvested! It is amazing and wonderful to discover such a green spot in the center of the city, and moreover the project contributes to social cohesion in the neighborhood.

For the film ‘Borders in Our Mind’, Annechien went to Cuba, Havana, to learn more about the possibilities for urban agriculture. Havana has a history of urban agriculture since the 1990s  due to petrol shortages, food shortages and economic crisis. Today more than 50% of Havana’s fresh produce is still grown within the city limits. No wonder Annechien choose this city to visit as inspiration for her work in the Netherlands. In the one-hour- movie many different forms, features and possibilities of urban agriculture pass in review. The result is indeed inspiring for anyone who is engaged in or concerned about food production in urban areas.