Tracing the metabolic rift in Colombia's greengrocer: an environmental history of the Anaime Valley

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Abstract

This paper stems from research to reconstruct an environmental history of agriculture in the Anaime Canyon Valley and better understand the environmental
consequences of having transformed the area into “Colombia's greengrocer”.
We trace the origins and development of agro-food production and explore how commercial agriculture and dairy operations have transformed the landscape and local ecosystems in the Anaime valley, in light of Marx's concept of metabolic rift. Research is based on archival sources and a participatory reconstruction of the Anaime landscape from the historical memory of the campesinos, or rural inhabitants. The data shows how internal migration, rapid urban growth and improved transportation infrastructure in the valley during the mid-twentieth century hastened the turn toward intensive commercial agriculture. Increasing links to Colombia's urban markets have led to agricultural intensification and specialization in arracacha (Arracacia xanthorrhiza) production in the Anaime Canyon. As a result, soils and ecosystems have been depleted and agriculture depends increasingly on chemical inputs including fertilizers, indicating a growing metabolic rift.
Translated title of the contributionRastreando la brecha metabólica en la despensa agrícola de Colombia: una historia ambiental de la cuenca del río Anaime
Original languageEnglish
JournalHistoria Agraria
Issue number80
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

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