|Food from Dryland Gardens - An Ecological, Nutritional, and Social Approach to Small Scale Household Food Production (CPFE, 1991)|
|Part I - Gardens as a development strategy|
|3. Gardens, economics, and marketing|
One reason why many people garden is because of the income they can earn by marketing garden products. More and more households need this income to pay for medicine, school fees, clothing, and food.
Economic data on dryland gardens is very rare. There is little doubt, however, that gardens make economic sense to the women, men, and households who have them. Even in the midst of large-scale development projects, as along side irrigation canals in savanna West Africa, Pakistan, or Egypt, gardens tend to emerge spontaneously. The questions that are important for the readers of this book are:
· What are the economic contributions of existing gardens?
· Can they be improved, and, if so, how?
· Under what conditions will gardens make economic sense for households that do not have them?
The answers to these questions must be sought in each local situation. The goal of our discussion of garden economics and marketing in this chapter is to help readers ask these questions in ways that will lead to answers.
Many of the assumptions of conventional economic theory ignore social and ecological reality.1 The primary goal of development programs based on this theory is economic growth. These programs are a major cause of poverty and environmental destruction in both industrial and Third World countries. We believe that economic development should be:
· Environmentally sustainable by not destroying resources that will be needed by future generations.
· Socially sustainable by providing benefits equitably, which may include redistribution of control over resources.
To meet these goals development projects should:
· Encourage local self-reliance by building on local knowledge and resources.
· Encourage both biological and cultural diversity.
· Encourage community organizations that place a priority on social well-being.
The kind of gardens promoted in this book are an important part of this type of economic development.