BAH - An Introduction
Saturday 13 December 2003, by
The industrially produced food products that we find today in our supermarkets offer no guarantee of nutritional quality or of physical and environmental health (GM foods, abuse of pesticides that are harmful to health and to the environment, etc), and can even have adverse effects on our nutrition.
The social consequences of this system of industrial production also have to be borne in mind, as it has resulted in increasingly precarious living conditions for farmers who only receive a tiny percentage of the price of the product. These conditions are even worse in the case of "illegal" immigrant workers (in the town of El Ejido, for example). There are also consequences in the Third World, where massive indiscriminate production of certain cash crops grown for bulk export has contributed to the disruption of whole economies.
As a response to the above situation, "Bajo el Asfalto está la Huerta", (a co-op covering the production-distribution-consumption stages of organic agriculture) has proposed an alternative model based on self-government, and a horizontal assembly-structure management system. This allows the existence of a direct relationship between the producer and the consumer, and implies the participation not only of the producers themselves but also of the different groups of consumers from different neighbourhoods in and around Madrid.
Control of distribution is key in deciding what reaches who and where, and today there are all sorts of middlemen and thousands of miles of land and sea separating the producer form the consumer. This is a lot of power concentrated in few hands.
Bajo el Asfalto está la Huerta cultivates land in the Tajuña River valley (near Madrid) and its main source of income is its co-op members dues. This is supplemented sometimes by other activities, such as giving organic agriculture courses, designing, printing and selling T-shirts, etc. In this way, the co-op is financially independent, the burden is shared among all members, whether producers or consumers, and there is no reliance on banks and their loans nor on the state and its subsidies.
This model guarantees that the products that the co-op members consume are absolutely natural and uncontaminated. We only use methods permitted by internationally recognised organic practice to control pests and diseases, and the methods of cultivation, storage, processing and distribution of our produce is completely transparent to both producer and consumer. COME AND GET TO KNOW US.