The discussions will rage onwards in terms of dependence upon industrial food systems – and why there should be an exodus. In an interesting twist of fate, turns out home gardens produce 41.1 percent (in terms of value) of the crops and meat produced in the Russian Federation. Small peasant farms produce another 10.2 percent of the Federation’s food. (Source: Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation for 2013 – most recent year for which numbers are available.)
Popularly called Dacha Gardens, these home enterprises produce approximately 80 percent of the Federation’s fruits and berries, over 66 percent of the vegetables, 80 percent of the potatoes and nearly 50 percent of the Federation’s milk.
From a health perspective, most of what Dacha gardens produce is consumed raw – before any processing touches it, including the milk. Not bad for a population of some 143 million people.
The evolution of the Russian economic system has not been focused on consumer comfort, and therefore defaulted much of the burden for basic sustenance upon the population itself. Spared from this tedious labor of survival, the American population has been fed by an industrial agricultural system.
Federal State Statistics Service of the Russian Federation produces agricultural production statistics back to 1992. See uploaded Infographic #1. Just from these figures, it looks like mainstream Russian economics were tough in the years 2000 through 2010. Note that in 2010, home gardens and small peasant farmers produced 56.5 percent of the Federation’s food – which has slipped to 51.3 percent in 2013. With the economic issues in Russia today, home produced food may in fact bounce back.
In the Western World, growing numbers of folks are ill able to afford industrial food. Unlike Russians that go back to the land, urban food insecure Westerners with limited access to land and water, defaulted to food banks and government food programs. Despite the convenience of modern grocery stores and restaurants, millions of Russians may in fact be experiencing more robust health and exercise.
Uploaded here is an interesting video of two Russian women working in their food garden (see photo of Tania and Natasha). Note the quest for better health by the two women did not start at a Whole Foods type of establishment, but by gardening – a practice that produces more food than all the industrial farms in the Russian Federation.
Does the message from Russia suggest our government should encourage access to land, water and individual effort to solve food insecurity rather than relying totally on the national budget?