, Volume 6, Issue 1-2, pp 43-65

House-lot gardens in Santarém, Pará, Brazil: Linking rural with urban

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Abstract

The division between rural and urban sectors of the landscape in many parts of the world is increasingly blurred. House-lot or homegardens offer a perspective on understanding rural-urban linkages since they are frequently a landscape feature in both settings and the exchanges of their products link the two. House-lot gardens are an under-researched component of the agricultural repertoires of smallholders in many parts of the world. Urban house-lot gardens in particular, have until recently not received much attention despite their critical importance to urban livelihoods. This paper presents findings from research on house-lot gardens in rural and urban zones of Santarém, Pará, Brazil, one of Amazonia's largest municipalities. The research demonstrates that garden products are important for household subsistence, but even more importantly product exchanges between rural and urban kin households help sustain critical social networks that subsidize urban life. Gardens are a link between urban and rural settings as products, germplasm, and household members move between the two. People are urban and rural at the same time which demonstrates that households can be multi-local.