An organic kitchen garden in the heart of the favela

Abaquar Paris continues to support the Vale Encantado favela in Rio de Janeiro, by creating an organic kitchen garden and agroforestal system to protect the local biodiversity and to encourage its protection, while creating a sustainable business activity.

Environment and Biodiversity

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Vanessa Polini

13 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2012/06/05

Project leader

Abaquar Paris

"In addition to a personal attachment to Brazil and to environmental conservation, I am fully confident in the seriousness and motivation of the project leader, and the project itself, which enjoys the support of three of our local staff. I have also personally confirmed the seriousness of the nonprofit in setting up the package: operation, coordination and tracking, budget control and team management."

Vanessa Polini

The nonprofit Abaquar Paris, created in 2008, combats poverty and social inequality by supporting the development of social entrepreneurship projects in the disadvantaged communities of Brazil. From the outset, it has focused on supporting the ecotourist cooperative of the Vale Encantado favela in Rio de Janeiro, which has led to the training of eco-guides for green promenades in the forest, and of cooks for the buffets proposed to the visitors. The activity was reinforced in 2009 by the acquisition of the cooperative's head office, which today accommodates a library, a classroom for educational workshops, as well as kitchens and a restaurant, which opened its doors in December 2011. The kitchen crew has diversified with a catering business for events organized by the PUC University of Rio de Janeiro, a partner since 2009. Today, the cooperative consists of 20 active members and receives 260 visitors and 1 050 participants every year in outside culinary events.

An organic kitchen garden, sure, but a lot more than that...

The project plans to create a sustainable economic activity to protect the biodiversity and the local forest and to educate the inhabitants of the favela and the tourists in its protection, by re-hiring 11 direct beneficiaries and by producing healthy food for the whole community (220 persons). It supplemented and reinforced the activities of the green promenades in the forest and the culinary activities of the existing cooperative, Coove, from which sprang the idea of creating an organic kitchen garden. Enriched by this local commitment, the project has a dense network of collaborators, reinforced since 2005 around the agricultural and environmental development of the favela and backed by the local authorities. It fits in perfectly with the national objectives initiated under the Lula government and its programs encouraging agroecology and the urban and social integration of the favelas of Rio with the rest of the city.

It extends over a three-year period, in successive steps, from training in agroecology and agroforestry, construction of the infrastructures (storage rooms, irrigation system, tree nursery, etc.), the creation of a 2 000 square meter kitchen garden, working the land, wholesale and retail marketing, and including the direction of the educational workshops for the 120 children of the community. When these steps are completed, the available land will be remediated and productive, and the running of the cooperative and the financing of the activities will be self-supporting.

Alongside public and private national and international entities, the Veolia Foundation is backing this interesting project, which is justified and well constructed, by focusing its support chiefly on the irrigation system of the kitchen garden.