Impact of organic agriculture training in urban context

C. Parente, C. Ferreira, I. Mourão
Portugal is following the global trend of having an urban population that is more attentive to health and environmental sustainability. In this context, a high demand of organic agriculture training was detected in Porto, the second major city in Portugal. In response, the Intermunicipal Waste Management of Greater Porto (Lipor), developed several training courses, since 2002. The objective of this work was to analyse the impact of this great effort and inquire about its effects in the community, through evaluation of the training course in Organic Agriculture 1 (OA1), with 14 hours, 40€ payment, running twice a year, in “Horta da Formiga/Academia Lipor”, between 2006 and 2016. A quantitative analysis based on an online survey was sent to 840 trainees with an electronic address (from a total of 1120) and 30.2% responded. The survey included a sociodemographic characterization and had 11 questions covering food, health, professional and social/community potential impacts. From the 254 responses, 66% attended the OA1 course between 2012-16; 56% were female; 78% aged between 35-64 years; 76% had higher education and 20% secondary school; 23% were retired; 60% were employed mainly in intellectual and scientific jobs. The course attendance contributed to healthier food behaviours for 71% respondents out of which 77% started to eat organic food. This was related to the positive health effects pointed out by 72% of respondents, which revealed increased physical activity (74%), well-being (66%) and reduction of stress and tiredness (42%). Therefore, trainees improved their quality of life and, at the same time, acquired a greater environmental awareness (80%), and increased healthy social practices (47%). The course attendance also led trainees to have more involvement in organic production techniques in their home garden or urban allotment (69%), but was not an opportunity to change their professional activity.
Parente, C., Ferreira, C. and Mourão, I. (2020). Impact of organic agriculture training in urban context. Acta Hortic. 1286, 245-252
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1286.34
health, food, professional, social, benefits, trainees

Acta Horticulturae