Peri-urban allotment gardens: a successful experience in Recife/Pernambuco, Brazil

A.H. Santos Silva, E.A. de Sousa, A.B. Isidore Ducoux, A.P. Gonçalves, M.D.G. Pereira de Melo, A.D.O. da Costa, R.D.S. Musser
In Recife, peri-urban agriculture occurs in federal and/or in unbuildable lands under high-voltage lines. Those areas have been historically occupied by people from the country as well as by those who live around them. The main products grown in those areas are: lettuce (Lactuca sativa), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), and cassava (Manihot esculenta), but ornamental, aromatic, medicinal, woody and non-woody fruit plants are grown as well. Recently, the cultivation of Panicum fasciculatum has been observed, a type of grass of which seeds are used for bird food, creating an increase in income. Since 2009, the Supply and Logistics Centre of Pernambuco (CEASA PE/O.S.) runs the project: “Alças Comunitárias” (community allotment gardens), in an area of 33 ha located around it. CEASA PE/O.S. along with NGO Pedra d'Água employees, and Agronomy undergraduate students, advised by professors from the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco, provide technical assistance to nine areas called “alças”, aiming to reduce the use of pesticides and to increase efficiency in the growing process. The first step in increasing farmer's self-sufficiency was taken by interfering in the practice of fertilization, since they depended exclusively on the organic fertilizer provided by CEASA PE/O.S. The farmers were taught to produce their own fertilizer, by using a composting system, as well as to make use of the Boccacio (a fertilizer made of castor beans residue and wheat bran) in order to improve soil fertility. Regarding pesticides, its use has been gradually replaced by agro-ecological ways. In parallel, the creation of a table with the production schedule was suggested in order to ensure constant vegetable supply and by doing so creating a solid income. Many improvements may and will occur in those areas, regarding food production and idle labor in urban areas, and these are the major challenges of this project for the coming years.
Santos Silva, A.H., de Sousa, E.A., Isidore Ducoux, A.B., Gonçalves, A.P., Pereira de Melo, M.D.G., da Costa, A.D.O. and Musser, R.D.S. (2018). Peri-urban allotment gardens: a successful experience in Recife/Pernambuco, Brazil. Acta Hortic. 1215, 219-222
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1215.40
UFRPE, CEASA PE/O.S., technical assistance, vegetables, agroecology

Acta Horticulturae