Curitiba is turning unused urban land into community gardens in order to improve food security and build social cohesion, while raising awareness about the environmental impacts of commercial food production.

The Challenge

In Curitiba, swathes of land have long been treated as garbage disposal sites. By repurposing this land for community urban agriculture, the city is boosting resilience to climate change by simultaneously targeting food security and urban vegetation cover.

 

The Solution

The Urban Agriculture program in Curitiba is a community project that rehabilitates degraded land, and makes use of vacant space in private and public locations, including schools, backyards, and balconies, to produce food. Through local organic food production, the city hopes to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the transport of food as well as enable more carbon sequestration from increased vegetation. In addition, the urban agriculture project increases food security and can serve as an income generating activity for participants. Since its launch in 2011, the initiative has generated more than 750 tons of food and has benefited more than 83,000 people. The program also fosters social inclusion by providing a therapeutic group activity for a diverse group of participants, including children and the elderly and those afflicted by drug addiction and mental health issues. Environmental awareness and education is also a key element of the project, which offers training activities, including home composting, alternative methods of cultivation, pest control, and soil conservation.

 

Environmental Benefits - The use of urban voids for agriculture helps mitigate the risk of flooding by reducing soil sealing and allowing water infiltration.

Economic Benefits - By saving on the purchase of vegetables or selling surpluses, each participating family earns or saves an average of $50 per month.

Health Benefits - Gardening serves as physical activity for seniors and others.

 

About Cities100

In its second year, Cities100 – presented by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), Sustainia and Realdania – showcases leading solutions to urban climate challenges in ten sectors, ranging from solid waste management to transportation. For the first time, this year’s publication features solutions that address the nexus of climate change and social equity.

Available online and in print, Cities100 provides stakeholders an accessible format to explore achievable solutions for climate action in cities, and will be a useful tool for relevant groups ranging from impact investors and development organizations, to mayors and city governments.  You can access the full Cities100 2016 publication online here and read more about how may­ors will de­liver the aims of the Paris Agree­ment in a fore­ward by Anne Hidalgo, C40 Chair and Mayor of Paris, here.