Pensioners take to the fields

Written by Ian Bearder

Estimates suggest that sixty to eighty percent of potatoes and vegetables grown in Ukraine are grown in private gardens/yards.

This small-scale localised farming means that millions of Ukrainians take to the land to plant their crops at the end of April and the beginning of May (during the Maiski-holiday). They sow potatoes, dill (Ukrainians favourite herb), beetroot, carrot and many other leafy treats.

Man and wife working the land in Irpin.

In Irpin, a small town on the outskirts of Kyiv, the gardeners were of respectable age. With a pension of just 80 euros per month they heavily depend on the food grown in their own back yard.

However for many of them it is a pleasure to work on the fields. “We have it in our blood”, says a 73-year old man from Irpin. “Before the Russian revolution in 1917 over ninety percent of the population were farmers.”

May Day gardening:


About the author

Ian Bearder

Ian has been living in Kyiv on-and-off since 2009 and he launched Kyiv.Cool in 2014 to promote the lighter side of life in Ukraine's crazy capital. He doesn't just love Kyiv - he feels genuinely sorry for people who don't live here.
If he's not out on his bike, he's normally wandering in Podil or exploring some forgotten corner of the city.