Rio's urban gardens produce healthy food for the poor –

Forget Password?
Learn more
share this!
May 21, 2022
by Anna Pelegri
Gun-toting youths watch over a street in a Rio de Janeiro slum hit hard by drug trafficking, but walk a bit further and this rough area also boasts the largest urban vegetable garden in Latin America.

This success story is unfolding in a favela called Manguinhos in the north of Rio, and thrives as the rest of the country frets over rampant inflation and worries over Russian fertilizer, a major concern for Brazil’s powerful agriculture sector.
The first seed was planted in late 2013 on a parcel of land known then as “crackolandia” because it was home to so many .
And little by little it has established itself and come to be respected in a neighborhood where are in charge.
These days the garden feeds some 800 families a month with produce that is pesticide free and affordable, two features that do not always go hand in hand.
“Why do have to be doomed to eating poisoned ? My goal is to stop from just being for the elite,” Julio Cesar Barros, one of the managers of the garden, told AFP, alluding to high priced fruit and vegetables sold in wealthy neighborhoods like Copacabana and Ipanema.
The Manguinhos garden is one of 56 in Rio that Barros launched with city authorities in 2006. And it has been praised by an international agreement called the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact as one of the best such systems in the world.
This particular garden is the size of four football fields and every month it produces 2.5 tons of yuca, carrots, onions, cabbage and other vegetables.
Half is sold to families for an average of two reales (40 US cents) per kilo and the rest is donated to orphanages and shelters.
A way out of drugs and crime
Wearing a cap to ward off the hot sun, Dione Enedina Da Silva, 73, crouches down and rips up weeds growing among the rows of vegetable plants.
“The garden changed everything for me: the way I lived, the way I ate,” this woman with 10 grandchildren and many great grandchildren said. “Before I barely had money to buy carrots and onions.”
Da Silva is one of 25 employees of the garden, who are paid with revenue from sales. She used to work cleaning hospitals, but other workers at the garden were involved in drugs and crime in the slum and had a grim future, said Barros.
That is the case of a 40 year old employee who prefers not to give his name or details of his past.
“Working here is therapy. I come every day, rain or shine. I am not leaving,” he said.
He is now proud of what he does and says his work means his 11 year old daughter eats good, .
Obesity vs. education
“Food education here is awful,” said Barros. Indeed, the rate of obesity among people over age 20 rose from 12.2 percent to 26.8 percent from 2002 to 2019, according to government statistics.
“What happens if a child arrives home with a vegetable they planted at school? Education changes and the child begins to influence the parents to eat better,” said Barros, whose projects also features gardens at schools.
“Eating healthy is important but food is not always affordable,” said Alesandra Almeira, 39, a slum resident who shops at the Manguinhos garden every week.
Barros said the quality of the produce from these gardens is drawing the attention of health-oriented restaurants in Rio, who have started buying at community projects.
“I have a problem: is the food no longer going to be for those who need it and go back to the rich? We have to figure out a way to resolve this.”
In the meantime, Barros’s project is going full steam ahead.
The Rio city government has announced plans to expand a garden in the Parque de Madureira area of the city to make it almost four times the size of Manguinhos. Officials said that would make it the world’s largest urban .

Explore further

Urban gardens are a dependable food source for pollinators through the year

Explore further
© 2022 AFP
Feedback to editors
May 20, 2022
May 19, 2022
May 19, 2022
May 19, 2022
May 19, 2022
14 hours ago
23 hours ago
23 hours ago
May 20, 2022
May 20, 2022
May 20, 2022
May 20, 2022
7 minutes ago
12 minutes ago
14 minutes ago
17 minutes ago
29 minutes ago
46 minutes ago
More from Physics Forums | Science Articles, Homework Help, Discussion
Jan 05, 2022
May 05, 2020
May 12, 2017
May 16, 2020
Oct 08, 2019
Jun 18, 2015
May 20, 2022
May 20, 2022
May 20, 2022
May 20, 2022
May 19, 2022
May 19, 2022
Use this form if you have come across a typo, inaccuracy or would like to send an edit request for the content on this page. For general inquiries, please use our contact form. For general feedback, use the public comments section below (please adhere to guidelines).
Please select the most appropriate category to facilitate processing of your request
Thank you for taking time to provide your feedback to the editors.
Your feedback is important to us. However, we do not guarantee individual replies due to the high volume of messages.
Your email address is used only to let the recipient know who sent the email. Neither your address nor the recipient’s address will be used for any other purpose. The information you enter will appear in your e-mail message and is not retained by in any form.

Get weekly and/or daily updates delivered to your inbox. You can unsubscribe at any time and we’ll never share your details to third parties.
More information Privacy policy
Medical research advances and health news
The latest engineering, electronics and technology advances
The most comprehensive sci-tech news coverage on the web
This site uses cookies to assist with navigation, analyse your use of our services, collect data for ads personalisation and provide content from third parties. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.