Curitiba - Urban Agriculture in Curitiba

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Challenges

In addition to creating sustainable communities, the project aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through urban agriculture: directly through carbon sequestration in soil, biological nitrogen fixation by legumes and non-use of chemical nitrogen fertilisers; and indirectly by reducing food and waste transport distances, composting organic waste, reduction of "heat islands" and creating environmental awareness. Implementing such a scheme carries bureaucratic complexities regarding the transfer of land by individuals, public companies or other bodies, exacerbated by a lack of laws to facilitate urban agricultural projects.

 

Actions

CO2 emissions have already been reduced, either directly though carbon sequestration in soil and plants, or indirectly by reducing food and waste transport distances, composting organic waste and creation of better environmental awareness.
In addition to the land cultivated in public lots the distribution of seeds and seedling represents an area of 67 hectares, generating more than 750 tons of food to individuals that cultivates on their own yards. The programme reaches more than 20,000 citizens per year and also has climate vulnerability mitigation effects. Reduction of soil sealing allows water infiltration into the soil and reduces the risks associated with increased flooding. Improved awareness about food miles and proper waste disposal practices has decreased waste in the city. The programme has increased environmental awareness by engaging children and teenagers on the topic of agriculture. Furthermore, degraded areas have been recovered and sites previously used for garbage dumping have been transformed into areas for growing food.  
Since 2011, the project has reached 876 new locations. Citizens save money by cutting their spending on food in addition to generating their own income from selling surplus crops. The average saving/income reaches $50 per month (1/5 of minimum wage), per participating family.
The project gardens are providing public health benefits through increased physical activity (especially for seniors), providing a therapeutic activity for the mentally ill, unemployed and disabled, and promoting increased consumption of vegetables. The ability to generate extra income promotes social inclusion for participants and the formation of groups strengthens the associations of residents and unions in local communities. Community cohesion is an important component of climate change preparedness and risk reduction.  Curitiba runs more than 200 engagement activities per year, such as: environmental and food awareness workshops for children, farming skills, culture workshops and composting workshops. All these events together reaches over 20,000 citizens.

 

Projected Outcomes

Urban Agriculture in Curitiba is an ongoing, continuous project making quantification of its complete outcomes difficult. Currently the project has an impact on about 1% of the city's population, however there are plans to utilise social media and other dissemination tools to reach at least 10% of citizens in the next mayor’s mandate.