Challenges to and Resilience of Urban Agriculture in Rio de Janeiro

Authors: Ana Maria Bicalho*, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Scott Hoefle*, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Food Systems, Social Geography
Keywords: Urban agriculture, resilience, social functions, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Session Type: Virtual Poster
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 51
Presentation File: Download



The purpose of this work is to understand how urban agriculture in Rio de Janeiro adapts to and resists expansion of built-up areas and at the same time improves food security, income and introduces or maintains open green areas within the city. Rio de Janeiro has a population over six millions inhabitants and is the core of the second largest metropolitan area of Brazil. Research methods involved interviewing urban farmers in locus, analyzing nearby land use trends, interviewing representatives of GOs and NGOs and undertaking participant observation in farmer social movement meetings. The type and origin of the urban agriculture practiced depends on location within the city and on farmer resilience to urban pressures for land conversion. Some urban farmers were previously periurban producers whose holdings were encompassed by the city over time. Other urban farmers are located in suburban areas where they reintroduced backyard gardens for self-provisioning and for selling produce to neighbors. A third kind of urban agriculture is present in built-up central areas of Rio de Janeiro where community gardens are sponsored by municipal government in poor neighborhoods and in public schools. The success of farmer resilience strategies depends on being located in areas under more or less pressure to convert and the ability to mount social movements for pressuring favorable land use and farm policy. Given the array of powerful urban agents, urbanization planning sectors and conservation interests aligned against urban farmers, resilience varies greatly from place to place across the city.

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