Urban gardens: a way to combat food shortages

Why urban gardens like the one grown at the iFood headquarters in Osasco help combat the problem of food insecurity in Brazil.

Growing food within cities is a way to bring food to those who need it most and combat a serious Brazilian social problem: food insecurity, that is, the difficulty in accessing good quality food and the quantity necessary for good nutrition.

World Food Day is a date that encourages reflection on how to combat this problem, since ending hunger is at the top of the list of Millennium Development Goals, which countries must achieve by 2030.

One of the proposals to combat food insecurity are urban gardens, areas created to grow food in collective spaces, such as schools and communities – or even at home or in the backyard.

This type of cultivation combat also other social pains: in addition to providing sustainable and quality food in large centers, the garden occupies places that are sometimes abandoned and idle and becomes an educational space to stimulate environmental awareness in the communities in which they are located.

Furthermore, it can benefit the communities around it, especially families in vulnerable situations, who can receive food donations, especially in peripheral regions of cities.

With this in mind, iFood began investing in urban gardens in 2021 as a solution that has the potential to generate a positive impact on the lives of many families affected by food insecurity. First, with an urban farm installed on top of its headquarters building in Osasco, Greater São Paulo, the result of a partnership with the startup Begreen, specialized in vertical gardens.

With an area of 950 m², the farm generates around 1.7 tons of food per month, destined for the municipality's Food Bank. Organic products, such as lettuce, arugula, tomatoes and zucchini, are grown there in an air-conditioned greenhouse protected from pollution, and distributed to three thousand families in vulnerable situations.

Supplement to school lunch

To increase the positive impact on the community, iFood also finances the creation of urban gardens in three public schools in the cities of São Paulo (SP) and Ferraz de Vasconcelos (SP). In partnership with the NGO Cidades Sem Fome, the Hortas Escolares project brings sustainable agriculture to unused areas in institutions. In this way, students not only participate in the planting process, but also study environmental preservation and transversal themes, such as nutrition and sustainability of the production chain. Furthermore, the food complements the school lunch and the surplus is donated to the students' families.

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