9 initiatives that increase access to healthy food

Discover actions selected by FAO that are encouraging Brazilians to consume more fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables should be part of our diet, but they are not always available, especially in poorer regions of cities (or in food deserts). The good news is that there are already many initiatives in Brazil that are encouraging production and increasing access to these foods, points out the Innovation Laboratory of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The entity released a study which brings together innovative experiences that value and strengthen healthy and sustainable food systems, from production to consumption. Discover nine of them below:

Snacks that come from small producers 

In Paraná, the food offered in public schools is based on in nature which are purchased from more than 25 thousand local producers, including family farming, agrarian reform settlements and traditional peoples and communities.

With this school feeding system, around one million students in Paraná consume, weekly, 400 grams of fruit and vegetables each — and meals made up of 35% of foods of organic origin and agroecological basis.

From garden class to salad

With the aim of promoting healthy and sustainable eating in school communities, the state education network of Pernambuco began offering, in the city of Vitória de Santo Antão, the elective subject “Horden and Sustainability”.

One of the activities carried out with high school students was to prepare a salad in a jar using food harvested from the school community garden. The proposal brought together students, teachers, lunch ladies and nutritionists, who were able to reflect together on the importance of consuming healthy and sustainable foods.

Fresh food for vulnerable families

O Cultivating Horizons project aims to promote food and nutritional care for families of children and adolescents with malnutrition and residents in vulnerable situations in the city of São Paulo.

The initiative is from the Center for Nutritional Recovery and Education (CREN), in partnership with the Kairós Institute and the women's collective Mulheres do Grupo de Agricultura Urbana (GAU). In the project, institutions bring natural foods to families, such as leaves, greens, natural seasonings, legumes, fruits and non-conventional food plants (PANCs).

Direct selling of organic foods

Developed in Florianópolis (SC), the project Responsible Consumers Cell brings together six groups of organic farmers who distribute more than 500 food baskets at sharing points throughout the city.

The objective of each cell is to bring consumers closer to organic food producers through meetings, message groups and visits to agricultural properties. This way, they promote direct sales, without middlemen.

Experimental kitchen encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables

To promote autonomy and ensure greater food security for students, Escola Classe 115 Norte, in Brasília (DF), implemented a Experimental Kitchen, which encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables among the school community.

Inspired by the MiniChef Kitchen Children's Gastronomy School model, the project strengthens the school's bond with families and encourages support from companies and other partners to promote a healthy food system.

Teaching the community to plant

The municipal education network of Jaraguá (GO) implemented the Horta Escolar project, which promotes family and urban farming practices in a cooperation network between the school community and the municipality's professional body. To this end, meetings and conversation circles, horticulture training, courses and technical visits are offered. 

After planting and harvesting, vegetables begin to complement school meals, promoting improvements in students' nutrition, in addition to raising awareness about the meaning of good food choices, ecological teachings, and the importance of acting in favor of the environment.

Access to healthy foods to combat obesity

The Health and Sports and Leisure departments of Paranavaí (PR) created the Multiprofessional Obesity Treatment Program, which seeks to combat the problem with health education, encouraging the adoption of good eating practices and physical activities and identifying factors that can contribute to obesity, such as psychological issues and a sedentary lifestyle.

Furthermore, participants are encouraged to practice access to adequate and healthy food, such as sharing spaces to plant, cultivate, harvest and consume agroecologically managed foods.

Map to find organic fairs

Created to encourage the consumption of organic foods, the Map of Organic Fairs It is an alternative mechanism that directly connects producers and consumers, facilitating the sale of products at more affordable prices.

Using a geolocation map, the locations of fairs, consumer groups and organic partner businesses are identified. Currently, 1,043 initiatives have already been registered across Brazil, in municipalities in the 26 states and the Federal District.

Organic gardens in public spaces

This is the premise of the program Garden in Every Corner, which seeks to contribute to the promotion of food and nutritional security, social inclusion and food and environmental education through the planting of vegetables in the community.

The initiative is developed in six cities in Pernambuco and has had positive impacts on conscious and healthy food consumption by the population by encouraging the consumption of vegetables by reducing the final price and facilitating distribution and access to food.

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