Venezuelans told to grow own food

The government urged citizens to plant in every available space — private terraces, communal areas, jails and schools, among other sites — but did not itself provide the land.

Eight months into the project, only 21 square kilometers (about 8 square miles) of land have been cultivated, according to the ministry.

“How are you going to tell someone with no space for a plot to grow [their own food]?” asked De Leandro, whose family-owned farm was expropriated, like many other businesses, under former president Hugo Chávez’s nationalization program.

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Some Venezuelans try to look on the bright side of the experiment: Producing their own food can reduce the time spent on the streets of Caracas, where crime is skyrocketing. For De Leandro, who was once kidnapped for ransom, this is a comforting thought. She grows a stunning array of vegetables on one of her terraces.

But not all Caraquenians have enough land to cultivate produce, and water is also in short supply due to a drought.


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