Tracing the metabolic rift in Colombia's greengrocer: an environmental history of the Anaime Valley
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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 g reeng rocer”. 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 par ticipator y reconstr uction of the Anaime landscape from the historical memory of the campesinos, or rural inhabitants. The data shows how inter nal mig ration, rapid urban growth and improved transportation infrastructure in the valley dur ing 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 agr iculture depends increasingly on chemical inputs including fertilizers, indicating a growing metabolic rift.