Nearly 40% of Russia’s Food Still Comes From Small, Family Gardens

Almost half of Russia’s food is grown in backyard gardens!

While most of the world is completely dependent on industrial agriculture, the Russian people feed themselves.

As recently as 2011, a full 40% of the food produced in Russia came from small, household gardens called dachas.

That number is down from the peak of the communist era, when 90% of the nation’s food came from dachas – small plots of land  given to the people by the government for growing food.

But 40% is still huge compared to the less than 1% of American food still grown on small, family-owned farms.

In colonial America, farming was the primary livelihood for 90% of the population. Today, farmers and ranchers represent only 1 percent of employed Americans.

That’s because of the control of our nation’s food supply shifting into fewer and fewer hands.

The shift hasn’t been nearly as dramatic in Russia, where dacha gardens produced 80% of the nation’s fruit and berries, 66% of the vegetables, 80% of the potatoes and half of the milk (much of it consumed raw) in 2011, according to the Russian Statistics Service.

In 2003, the Russian government passed the Private Garden Plot Act entitling citizens to private plots of land (between 2 and 5 acres) for free.

Dachas can be used for gardening and building small summer homes.

Many Russians spend holidays and every warm weekend of the year at their dachas, which also serve as retreats in nature, away from the busy cities.