Food Sovereignty through Community Gardens in São Paulo/SP

Publié: 13 novembre 2017
Dernière modification: 02 octobre 2020
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The NGO Cities Without Hunger sets up community gardens on vacant urban land in the city of São Paulo's socioeconomically deprived East Zone (Zona Leste) to provide jobs, income, and to enhance food sovereignity.


Cities Without Hunger aims to enhance local residents' spatially and economically restricted access to high-quality fresh produce (high rates of unemployment, a low density of farmers' markets or supermarkets, low mobility). 


The NGO provides agricultural training for people who have poor chances on the regular job market as community gardeners. Since 2004, the NGO has implemented 25 community gardens together with about 115 local residents who have started earning their livelihoods as community gardeners. After one year, gardeners are able to manage their plots autonomously and sell their produce directly to the people from the neighbourhood. Along with gardeners’ families, some 650 people benefit from the project by having their livelihood guaranteed.


Amérique du Sud
Échelle de la mise en œuvre
Espaces verts (parcs, jardins, forêt urbaine)
Écosystème urbain
Acteurs locaux
Adaptation au changement climatique
Aménagement urbain
Atténuation du changement climatique
Moyens d'existence durables
Sécurité alimentaire
Perte de biodiversité
Pollution (y compris eutrophisation et déchets)
Manque d'autres possibilités de revenu
Changements dans le contexte socio-culturel
Manque de sécurité alimentaire
Chômage / pauvreté
Objectifs de Développement Durable
ODD 1 - Pas de pauvreté
ODD 2 - Faim "zéro"
ODD 3 - Bonne santé et bien-être
ODD 4 - Éducation de qualité
ODD 5 - Égalité entre les sexes
ODD 8 - Travail décent er croissance économique
ODD 10 - Inégalités réduites
ODD 11 - Villes et communautés durables
ODD 12 - Consommation et production responsables
ODD 13 - Mesures relatives à la lutte contre les changements climatiques
ODD 15 - Vie terrestre
ODD 16 - Paix, justice et institutions efficaces
ODD 17 - Partenariats pour la réalisation des objectifs
Obectifs d'Aichi
Objectif 1: Sensibilisation accrue de la biodiversité
Objectif 2: Valeurs de la biodiversité intégrées
Objectif 3: Attraits réformées
Objectif 4: Production et consommation durables
Objectif 7: Agriculture, aquaculture et sylviculture durable
Objectif 8: Pollution réduite
Objectif 9: Espèces exotiques envahissantes évitées et contrôlées
Objectif 13: Sauvegarde de la diversité génétique
Objectif 14: Services des écosystèmes
Objectif 16: Accès et le partage des avantages tirés des ressources génétiques
Objectif 18: Connaissances traditionnelles
Objectif 19: Partage de l'information et de la connaissance
Objectif 20: Mobiliser toutes les ressources disponibles


São Paulo - State of São Paulo, Brazil


The city of São Paulo is economically and socially divided. The East Zone stands out as grim sprawl of poverty and violence in the municipal context. Poor social conditions, mobility infrastructure, and low economic activity keep it segregated from the rest of the metropolis. Some 3.3 million people (33% of the city’s population) live here. The unstructered growth of the urban sprawl left vacant urban land, subsequently often abused as dump site. Income levels are low. More than 90% of the residents earn less than 1530 R$ (470 US $), and 11% to 35% less than 255 R$ (80 US $) per month (Censo 2010). Often domestic migrants from Brazil's Northeast seeking jobs and income opportunities in the city end up living in this area and doing odd jobs due to their age, poor health, or lack of formally recognised education. Malnutrition and poor physical and economic access to fresh fruit and vegetables have negative impacts on citizens' health, especially on child development.


  1. People who are marginalised in the labour market due to their age, poor health, or lack of formally recognised education 
  2. People from the neighbourhood whose economic and physical access to fresh produce is limited

Comment les blocs constitutifs interagissent-ils entre eux dans la solution?

The Law on Urban Agriculture for the city of São Paulo sets the legal framework within which urban agriculture is actually rendered officially possible (BB 1). 


The foundation of Cities Without Hunger as NGO acting on the ground in São Paulo's East Zone closes a gap between city administration and local residents (BB 2). 


Visibility of the community gardens, communication among residents and through the media, and guidance through Cities Without Hunger lead to replication: People see and understand the change that is possible within the urban environment (BB 3). 


Vacant urban land and landuse contracts for these areas are the prerequisite for the implementation of a community garden (BB 4). 


The community gardens are financed through donations and are self-supporting after a one-year implementation phase (BB 5). 


Agricultural training courses for project participants as well as potential prior knowledge in agriculture on their side facilitate the implementation of a community garden (BB 6). 


Les impacts positifs

Since 2004, Cities Without Hunger has created 25 community gardens in São Paulo's East Zone. Run by a collective of 115 community gardeners, the gardens directly support the livelihood of some 650 marginalised people, including mothers and children. Furthermore, Cities Without Hunger has organised about 50 professional qualification courses, having trained over 1,000 individuals in agriculture or commerce.


The organic mixed culture gardens have contributed to enhancing local biodiversity. Special consideration is given to old or indigenous varieties like arruda or cerejeira, medical plants, flowers, and herbs. As 'green islands' within the city, the gardens improve local microclimate and water regime. Created on abandoned public and private land, e. g. under electricity lines, or on unused areas previously abused as dumping sites, local environment is both embellished and cared for.


The gardens are social spaces fostering communication and social coherence within the neighbourhood. The gardens' substantial lighthouse effect improves the socioeconomic integration of the area: interested parties from city government or other organisations visit them as best-practice examples; or delivery partnerships like the one with pizza restaurant Carlos Pizza from upper middle class Vila Madalena district contribute to this.



Agriculture from the country to the city: In search of a better livelihood


Ivone Maria Getúlio coordinates the 3,500 square metre community garden Horta Sapopemba. The garden provides jobs and income opportunities for 13 families from the immediate neighbourhood. Ivone is in her late 50ies. She was born in the municipality of Borrazópolis in the state of Paraná in the Southern Region of Brazil. As a child, she helped out her parents on their small family farm, fed the chicken and pigs, and lent a hand for the work on the fields. She only went to primary school and did not follow further education. As young woman, she moved to the city of Sao Paulo and soon got married. As mother of three children, she stayed at home to take care of her family. Whenever she found an opportunity, she worked as a seller in small shops to support her family's livelihood. She would also gather disposable materials like PET bottles and cardboard on the streets and sell them to recycling cooperatives. 


The plot of land where the community garden is implemented today used to be a desolate area bordering a favela above an oil pipeline. Big signs saying "ATENÇÃO – Dutos Enterrados – Não acender fogueiras – Não jogar lixo ou entulhos" (ATTENTION – Buried Pipelines – Do Not Light Fire – Do Not Dump Waste or Rubble) are reminders of the city's uncontrolled sprawl. 


In order to implement a community garden here, CITIES WITHOUT HUNGER concluded a contract for the area's use with the proprietor, petroleum supplier Transpetro. Crucial for the agricultural cultivation of this area is CITIES WITHOUT HUNGER's technological know-how, since plant roots must not exceed a certain length due to the oil pipeline. Within a year, the organisation brought together a group of local residents who, similar to Ivone, sought to find jobs and income opportunities allowing for a dignified life for themselves and their families. Supported by the NGO's expertise, agricultural training courses, and machines, they prepared the soil, planted and sowed. Within a year, the garden became self-supported, managed by Ivone. The community garden gave Ivone a new perspective, not least because she is able to work in an area she knows a lot about from her childhood. "I grew up in agriculture. The community garden is my life. It nourishes me and my family and gives me great joy", she smiles.

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