Huertos Compartidos (Shared Gardens) is a Spanish initiative that operates under the slogan: “You grow food, I give you the land”. It establishes points of contact between those who wish to grow a vegetable garden but don’t have the land, and land owners who are willing to temporarily give their land away, in exchange for a share of the harvest.
Huertos Compartidos is not a commercial activity, and it works thanks to the free transfer of land and the equitable division of the harvest (50% each) between land owner and farmer. These vegetable gardens have to be organic, and the harvest has to be used for self-consumption.
The online platform www.huertoscompartidos.es is not only a meeting point for those who like eco-friendly gardens and healthy and natural diets, but it is also a social network and a community. It is a place to share farming experience, and publish texts, photos and videos. It is also a good way to share training and experience in organic farming with everyone else in the network.
The movement was born three years ago, in 2011, and since then has developed greatly.
Currently there are 4145 registered users throughout Spain: 250 of which are land owners who transfer their land. So far, they have shared an overall equivalent of 71 hectares all over Spain.
This initiative aims to promote urban and organic farming, food sovereignty, local food production, social relationships and barter, which stands out as a new model of social economy.
The coordinator of the project, Santiago Cuerda Cañas, defines the project on Diario de Almería as an «option for healthy leisure». The aim is to «give a tool that puts in contact those people, mainly city dwellers, who don’t have a piece of land, with others who have land but lack the time to cultivate it».
In December 2014, when the third version of the website was launched, Huertos Compartidos introduced different kinds of gardens, depending on the different types of properties on offer.
Besides small vegetable gardens, there are now also protected vegetable gardens where new farmers can get advice on the website. Self-Employment vegetable gardens have been added for larger properties that require a more professional farming, and the Solidarity vegetable gardens are given to NGOs for social or voluntary projects, where the harvests are then given to people with special needs.
As Santiago Cuerda Cañas explains on ABC.es:
«Our most immediate objectives are to promote these gardens in order to grow food for self-consumption, rescue abandoned lands, improve people's diet, and improve the environmental management of the territory».