Urban Farming Takes Root in Brazil’s Favelas
The visit to the cooperative was one of the field trips organised by World Nutrition Rio 2012, an international nutrition congress organised in Rio de Janeiro Apr. 27-30 by the World Public Health Nutrition Association and the Brazilian Association of Collective Health.
By Fabiana Frayssinet
MAy 2, 2012
NOVA IGUAÇU, Brazil – Women in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of this city 40 km north of Rio de Janeiro no longer have to spend money on vegetables, because they have learned to grow their own, as organic urban gardening takes off in Brazil.
The land here is not fertile, like it is in the hilly region of the state of Rio de Janeiro that supplies the city’s markets. And the climate is sometimes too hot for vegetables to grow without stress or pests.
But in the poor neighbourhood of Parque Genesiano da Luz in the city of Nova Iguaçu, local women can now proudly say they eat what they themselves have grown.
The women sell the rest of what they produce – 70 percent – through the Univerde cooperative they set up, which comprises 22 families who put five percent of what they earn back in, to run the cooperative.
Production is carried out on an individual basis, but everything else, including the sales of produce, is done collectively.
“It’s wonderful to see what you grow in the garden, bring everything home fresh, and give your children such healthy food,” Joyce da Silva, one of the members of the cooperative, told IPS. “So much so that when the low-production season arrives, we don’t even buy outside, because now we know that conventional products have a lot of poison. And I don’t want to eat that anymore.”