Created in 2006, Hortas Cariocas (Urban Green Gardens) encourages urban agroecology and provides access to healthy food in the city’s most vulnerable regions. By identifying areas with the potential to hold urban farms, the project offers local population the inputs and material supplies to develop organic agriculture while also fostering environmental education.
There are currently 42 urban farms: 18 located in municipal schools and 24 in vulnerable communities. About 80 tons of food are produced yearly without the use of fertilizers, agrochemicals, or pesticides, benefiting more than 20 thousand inhabitants.
In the urban farms located at schools, the agricultural practice shows students the importance of agroecology, the process of food, and the need to have a balanced and healthy diet. All food produced is used to complement the children’s diet during school meals.
Rio encourages urban farms in vulnerable communities by offering a monthly remuneration to those responsible for food production. Half of the food produced is distributed among inhabitants, public schools, and elderly daycare centers and the other half can be sold to generate additional income for the urban farmers and to purchase agriculture supplies.
This initiative fosters the agriculture potential in poor communities; disseminates sustainable agriculture principles; strengthens the sustainable occupation of underutilized lands; produces organic vegetables, and sells the surplus through street fairs.
Methodology:- Identification of potential areas- Selection of areas- Sizing and selection of field teams- Quantification of the individual needs of each area- Elaboration of Budgets- Acquisition of materials and supplies- Production Planning- Training- Beginning of the production- Technical assistance- Harvest Partitioning- Destination of the institutional part of the harvest- Self-sufficiency after two years.
This initiative was adopted to improve food security in the City of Rio de Janeiro during the Covid-19 pandemic. All vegetable production from the Hortas Cariocas Program (urban farmers) will now be donated to the 42 communities that are already part of the project. The donation will be expanded with the inclusion of other fortifying foods, such as potatoes sweet, pumpkin, and cassava. About 6 tons of healthy and nutritious food will be donated per month to families living in low-income communities that are experiencing economic and social difficulties due to the new coronavirus crisis. Hortas Cariocas produces vegetables grown exclusively with the use of organic products.
The urban farmers will also start to produce fish, reinforcing a healthy diet during the pandemic. All the production of fish will be donated to the regions where the gardens are located. The production of fish is unprecedented and will become a legacy after the pandemic to the urban farms.
Around 3.000 tilapia - weighing around 2,500 kg - will be donated to inhabitants living in vulnerable communities. This will be the first delivery of fish from the Hortas Cariocas program, after the introduction of aquaponics technology (cultivation of vegetables associated with fish farming).
Food is, directly and indirectly, related to all SDGs. From production to consumption, food choices and habits impact the environment and human health. Hortas Cariocas / Green Gardens aim to achieve food security and improved nutrition of its beneficiaries, develop sustainable agriculture in the city, ensure the well being and healthy lives through healthy diets, promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth to farmers, reduce inequalities towards food access, improve the sustainability of Rio de Janeiro city and revitalize areas with agriculture potential, promote sustainable consumption and production habits, transform and protect the soil and ecosystem.