Russians Proving That Small-Scale, Organic Gardening Can Feed the World

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 approximately 8 million hectares (20 million acres) of land, 16.5 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 the 1999 "Private Household Farming in Russia" Gosmkostat (State Committee for Statistics) statistics, these Dacha families produced:

  • 38% of Russia's total agricultural output
  • 41% of the livestock
  • 82% of the honey
  • 79% of the sold cattle
  • 65% of the sold sheep and goats
  • 59% of the milk
  • 31% of the sold poultry
  • 28% of the eggs
  • 91% of the potatoes
  • 76% of the vegetables
  • 79% of the fruits

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).