The dispute over the nursery at the top of Cerro San Cristóbal

In the sector of the Plaza México of the Metropolitan Park of Santiago (Parquemet), very close to the funicular and cable car stations, is the summit nursery. A space of 800 square meters with cultivation terraces that were built 100 years ago in stone according to the Andean tradition. In its origins and for decades it was destined to the reforestation of the hill, but towards the end of the last century it was being abandoned.
Since 2012 it was ceded, through a cooperation agreement, to the Senderos de Chile Foundation, which has developed environmental education and culture programs, linked to hiking and agroecology. “We have 10% of the land, where we maintain crops of medicinal plants, warehouses, we do studies, classes, projects with volunteers and internships with university students. In addition, we are currently working on La ruta del hongo, a winning project of a contest of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation, “explains the executive director of Fundación Senderos de Chile, Sebastián Infante.
This agreement has been renewed, first every 5 and finally every 2 years. But on September 27, Parquemet informed them that the agreement would not be renewed, but that they would have an extra period, until March 2023, to be able to conclude The Mushroom Route.
From the foundation they fear that the fertile soil and the center of urban agriculture that they have built and that for years has helped to form agroecology groups throughout the Metropolitan Region will be lost. 
In this context and seeking to give continuity to the nursery, the foundation has met with the neighborhood boards of Bellavista and Pedro de Valdivia Norte, to study the issue and find an alternative for cooperation. 
In Pedro de Valdivia Norte, the board of directors of the neighborhood council has been in charge for a short time and still does not resolve what to do about this project. But they express interest, especially if it goes hand in hand with Senderos de Chile and in collaboration with neighbors from other sectors. “We have a pending meeting with Parquemet. We want to inform ourselves well before taking a position,” they say.
 For its part, the neighborhood council Mario Baeza de Bellavista, already has experience, both managing its own garden and participating with the summit nursery. From this sector they see an opportunity to continue learning about agroecology and urban garden management. In fact, they want to add the residents of Recoleta and create a common project. 
Democratizing the garden
But so far everything is on hold because in Parquemet they are still defining the fate of the nursery.
“Without a doubt, we want to put together a project or alliance that protects environmental care. To do this, we will prepare a public tender, which is what the relationship we have today with Senderos de Chile suffers. We want to democratize the use of this area. All interested institutions or entities that have experience in this field and among which is effectively Senderos de Chile will be able to participate in this contest, “says the director (s) of Parquemet, Eduardo Villalobos.
Although the contest does not yet have structure, bases or date, the idea is that it aims to strengthen environmental education at all levels. “We believe that it is a suitable place for this and what we are looking for is that the nursery plays an important role and hopefully it can develop some lines of research.”

What it does make clear is that the new project would leave out self-cultivation.
“Parquemet is not a land to generate self-consumption of anyone, it is a public space oriented to the use of the Metropolitan Region and the country,” says the director (s). 
He adds that this does not mean leaving out the neighbors, on the contrary.
“We maintain a close relationship with the neighborhood councils with which we adjoin. They should not be marginalized from benefiting from the work that will be developed in the summit nursery. I insist that the spirit of this is to give it a broader, more orderly development that is not as localized as it is today.” 

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Original source in Spanish

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