Quito’s Participatory Urban Agriculture Programme (AGRUPAR)

Published: 13 May 2019
Last edited: 02 October 2020
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AGRUPAR was developed on the basis of a broad, large community consultation. It explicitly recognizes the role of urban agriculture for wider social, ecological and economic development and works along the entire food chain. Training programmes help support community, family and school gardens. With over 3,600 urban gardens growing on 32 hectares and more than 21,000 people trained, AGRUPAR fosters food security, increases incomes, and enhances ecosystem functions. Its participants produce now more than 870,000 kg of food products per year for the city and more than 6,600 bio-fairs have been organized so far. The programme is part of Quito’s mission to become an entrepreneurial, sustainable and innovative city. Due to its impressive socioeconomic and environmental impact, and its participatory and holistic approach, AGRUPAR was recognized with the Future Policy Silver Award 2018, awarded by the World Future Council in partnership with FAO and IFOAM – Organics International.


South America
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Green roofs / Green walls
Green spaces (parks, gardens, urban forests)
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Ecosystem services
Food security
Genetic diversity
Health and human wellbeing
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
City management, governance and finance
Sustainable urban infrastructure and services
Territorial and spatial development
Urban poverty and housing
Changes in socio-cultural context
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Sendai Framework
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through consumers
Indirect through financial institutions
Indirect through government


Quito, Pichincha Province, Ecuador


Between 1980 and 2000, the arrival waves of migrants from other parts of the country almost doubled Quito’s population, from 780 000 to 1.4 million. In inner-city barrios (neighborhoods) and settlements built on surrounding hillsides, many people resorted to small-scale agriculture, based on conventional practices, to feed their families. This meant that urban agriculture in Quito became widespread, but was unrecognized. With its geographic position and mountainous topography, Quito is highly vulnerable to climatic changes, already experiencing higher average temperatures, an overall decrease in rainfall, and more extreme rain events, which cause landslides. In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered a severe economic crisis, which resulted in a sharp drop in public spending and an increase in internal migration and emigration. In 1999, 48 per cent of Quito’s population was living below the poverty line. The city urgently needed to address overcrowding and food insecurity.


Over its 16 years of existence, AGRUPAR has directly benefitted 73,936 people and indirectly helped a further 113,774 people. As of 2018, it reaches 4,500 beneficiaries from highly vulnerable populations annually. 

How do the building blocks interact?

Support for urban, community and institutional gardening for home consumption and the sale of leftovers (BB1) is main basis for Support for market-oriented local production in the DMQ region (BB2), Food supply and distribution (BB3), and Promotion of food consumption, healthy diets and nutrition through bio-fairs and education (BB4). Together these building blocks build the Potential as a Transferable Model (BB5).


Over its 16 years of existence, AGRUPAR has achieved impressive results. As of 2018, it reaches 4,500 beneficiaries from highly vulnerable populations annually and covers 83 per cent of the district. Since its establishment, the Programme has: directly benefitted 73,936 people and indirectly helped a further 113,774; implemented a total of 3,679 urban gardens, covering 32 hectares, of which 60 per cent are family gardens and 26 per cent are managed by 380 organized groups (with 1,520 participants); incorporated 21,746 persons in trainings, of which 84 per cent were women; organized 16,172 technical trainings and 81,886 cases of technical assistance; and built 2,051 productive infrastructures (1,072 micro-greenhouses and 979 drip irrigation systems).


Today AGRUPAR’s participants annually produce more than 960,000 kg of food products. Almost half of the production (47 per cent) is used for home consumption, strengthening food security and diversifying the diets of the 12,000 participating urban farmers and their families, while the other half is marketed. The Programme created 17 bio-fairs where 105 types of food are offered. Through these, 25% of the produce is commercialized, for about USD 350,000 per year. Since 2007, a total of 6,663 bio-fairs have been organized and all produce is organic. Moreover, 48 community banks were created to provide credit services to participants.



Perhaps one of the stories that abound and reflect the uniqueness of AGRUPAR, are the testimonies of hundreds of empowered women. According to statistics, more than 84% of AGRUPAR participants are women. Some joined a decade ago, others recently; there are producers that border the 70 years and others have 22. Beyond these nuances, all share a feeling of satisfaction for the achievements.


"The love for the earth, for the plants, for nature, not having to fear that my hands get dirty with soil, is what keeps me together with agroecology," says Gloria Rosero, one of the older Quito's urban farmers. "I have my garden, I plant there with my family, we also harvest and transform, not only the food but the life of the people who consume it. Now we sell in bioferias, consumers already know me and are very grateful, because healthy foods have changed their lives. One of my achievements has been to implement a seed germination microenterprise, with which I support other AGRUPAR farmers and guarantee income to my family. I am the pioneer among women who have found a way of life in Quito's urban agriculture. "

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Ingrid Heindorf World Future Council (WFC)

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