EFEBy Clea House Madrid

Aitor Ruiz drives out to his allotment every morning to tend to a vibrant array of crops, from lettuce and spinach to more exotic varieties like Chinese cabbage and Japanese mustard leaf, but beyond seasonal bounties what matters to him most is happiness.

Aitor belongs to ATM, one of 10 ecological farming projects operating in Perales de Tajuña, located just 38 kilometers (24 miles) from Madrid but world’s away from the hustle and bustle of the Spanish capital.

The village and its outlying area is colloquially known as Madrid’s allotment, “but all the products that are consumed in the city come from hundreds of kilometers away now,” Aitor tells Efe.

As city sprawls swallow up rural areas, agroecological projects are championing locally-grown produce, forging tight-knit communities with deep connections to the land.