Organic food garden created in Rio’s neglected neighborhood

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Organic food garden created in Rio's neglected neighborhood

Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are mostly known for drug trafficking, violence and poverty. But an ambitious project is creating organic food gardens in the city’s most neglected neighborhoods.

CCTV’s Lucrecia Franco has more from Rio.
Follow Lucrecia C. Franco on Twitter @LucreciaFranco

Organic food garden created in Rio's neglected neighborhood

Organic food garden created in Rio's neglected neighborhood

Rio de Janeiro's favelas are mostly known for drug trafficking, violence and poverty. But an ambitious project is creating organic food gardens in the city's most neglected neighborhoods. CCTV's Lucrecia Franco has more from Rio.

A sea of cement…that is what Rio’s one thousand or so favelas look like from the distance. They are home to around a fifth of the city’s 6.5 million inhabitants.

But on the way up to the favela called Formiga – or “ant” in English – there is a lush, green, organic garden.

It’s the brainchild of agronomist Julio Cesar Barros from Rio’s Department for the Environment. Barros founded the “Carioca Gardens” program. Carioca is what the city’s residents call themselves.

Forty gardens are now scattered throughout the city’s poorest communities. Neighbors can buy greens and vegetables for less than one dollar.

“It is organic, very cheap healthy and we don’t’ need to buy them anymore at the supermarket,” Larissa Campos, a resident at Formiga Favela, said.

A small team of gardeners receive a stipend of abut $150 and can take home, or sell, what they grow, but the program also requires them to help the community.

The plan is now to create more gardens like this one, make them self-sustainable and teach Rio’s poorest citizens that it isn’t just the rich who can eat organic food.