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 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 benefitted 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.

67 million meters squared of land has been repurposed for cultivation under the program

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.


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

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

Health Gardening serves as physical activity for seniors and others.

About Curitiba

Curitiba is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Paraná. The city’s population numbered approximately 1,879,355 people as of 2015, making it the eighth most populous city in the country, and the largest in Brazil’s South Region. Curitiba is an important cultural, political, and economic centre in Latin America. The city was in 2010 awarded the Global Sustainable City Award, given to cities and municipalities that excel in sustainable urban development. Curitiba crime rate is considered low by Brazilian standards and the city is considered one of the safest cities in Brazil for youth.

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