When it’s suggested that our food system be comprised of millions of small, organic gardens, there’s almost always someone who says that it isn’t realistic. And they’ll quip something along the lines of, “There’s no way you could feed the world’s growing population with just gardens, let alone organically.” Really? Has anybody told Russia this?
On a total of 8 million hectares (20 million acres) of land, 35 million Russian families grow food in small-scale, organic gardens on their Dachas (a secondary home, often in the extra urban areas). Because growing your own food happens to be a long-lived tradition in Russia, even among the wealthy.
Based on official 1999 statistics, 92% of Russia’s potatoes, 77% of its vegetables, 87% of its fruits, 59.4% of its meat, and 49.2% of its milk were produced by these 35 million Dacha families (105 million people, 71% of the country’s population).
If Russian families can manage such production in their region’s very short growing season (approx. 110 days), imagine the output most parts of the world could manage by comparison. Unfortunately in just the US alone, lawns take up more than twice the amount of land Russia’s gardens do (est. 40-45 million acres).