On a little over 4,000 square meters, animals, plants and sustainable buildings converge to give life to the Roma Green Garden, a space that for more than four years has sought to be an example of good practices of environmental sustainability.
One of the founders of the site, who is also a member of the civil organization Organi-k, Arnold Ricalde, told the press that the orchard, located on Calle Jalapa, in Roma, used to be an abandoned space full of debris from two buildings that has collapsed with the earthquakes of 1985. Its disuse was the reason that local organizations looked for the way to recover it.
“We want this place to be like an oasis where the possibility of a sustainable community is feasible and viable in Mexico City, where we can live in a way that is healthier and cleaner, “Ricalde said.
Between agricultural channels where carrots, lettuce and other vegetables are planted, there are also buildings made from natural construction techniques, such as “bajareque” — woven straw and mud.
The garden shows a self-sufficient space, as rainwater collection systems are developed and the sanitary facilities have a system of biodigesters, where all sanitary discharges go through a process that converts waste into energy. The water undergoes a treatment so that it can later serve as irrigation.
In addition, they have alternative health promotion sites and the building of a temazcal is currently underway.
The garden also promotes cultural activities, such as film projections focused on environmental care and sustainable practices, where attendees generate electricity through a bicycle to give life to the projection.
The land currently belongs to the Institute of Security and Social Services of State Workers (ISSSTE) and although there are positive approaches to the authorities, the ownership of land is still an issue.
The site is a non-profit space, with monthly operating costs absorbed by the approximately 50 civil organizations that support its existence, and has several projects to take advantage of every square meter.
One such project is the attempt to reproduce the agricultural practices of the chinampas of Xochimilco, that will provide ways for people to learn cultivation techniques and traditions of the famed Xochimilco gardens.
The garden also promotes alternative economy, through the exchange of products and services for knowledge.
According to Ricalde, the garden project is still in mid-stage. There are still spaces to renovate, and even though the site has the support of about 70 volunteers, resources are constantly needed so the project is flourishing little by little.
Throughout the week there are activities for all ages and tastes, as well as permaculture workshops, animal care, school visits and exchanges with universities in the area.
He added that the garden has become a reference for other places to replicate because “this type of place inspires the development of green lighthouses, green cultural centers. It is about bringing people together who believe that things can be done in a way that respects animals and nature. All urban environments should have them.”