The Hoștezeni are a historical community from the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. They used to deal with urban gardening in an organized way. Their story might not be unique in the world or in Romania, but the understanding of their economic role within the city history is more than a nostalgic memory of a specific community – it may also outline a strategic perspective over current local producers.
Their history indicates that this community has dealt with urban agriculture starting with the XVth century. Up until the XXth century they supplied the entire city with fresh products – vegetables, as well as animal products. Across the centuries, they formed a homogeneous community within the city, relating to their ethnic group, religion, customs and the way they organized agricultural flow.
Nowadays, they are defined by the consequences of socialist urbanization and post-socialist economy: the community members who used to live in a certain area of the city have now dispersed, after being forced to move by the communist authorities who used their lands for collective-living buildings. Only few of them still deal in their traditional occupation, taking care of gardens and selling their products in the city food markets.