Family farming and Agroecology

Family farming and agroecology are sustainable solutions that guarantee the livelihood of families that choose to live in the country, while securing food for those who live in the city. CASA invests in community initiatives that prefer to produce organic food while regenerating and/or maintaining the forests and natural areas around them.  Learn about same projects:

Eco-Vida in the Barreirinhas Cerrado

The Barreirinhas Human Rights Center (CDHB) is a Maranhão organization that works with communities involved in environmental preservation, seeking to avoid deforestation by monoculture companies. It also tackles other environmental issues in Barreirinhas municipality and surrounding areas.

In 2013, the CASA Fund supported the CDHB to improve practices of managing, gathering, and processing Cerrado fruits and the native Melipona bee honey in the communities. This helped take better advantage of the Maranhão Cerrado and its fruits, such as mangaba (Hancornia speciosa), souari nut (Caryocar brasiliense), nance (Byrsonima crassifolia), bacuri (Garcinia madruno), among others. With this help, the community was able to fence off the areas where these managed species were located, purchase equipment for cultivation and pulp storage, build installations for agroextractivist production, and organize workshops on breeding bees and producing honey, as well as extracting fruit pulp.

Agroecology in Guapiruvú

People used to be arrested quite often in Guapiruvú, São Paulo state, for illegally extracting palm hearts in the Atlantic Forest Reserve near that region. Thanks to the microcredit program developed by the Guapiruvú Friends and Residents Association (AGUA), those same people are now planting and caring for thousands of palm tree seedlings, which together with banana trees form agroforests.

AGUA promotes economic development based on community work and respect for the environment, offering alternatives to predatory hunting and extraction. From a collective that distributes bananas to children brigades to collect garbage, from ecotourism to agroforestry (integrating sustainable agriculture to the natural forest), from research on medicinal plants to the microcredit program – AGUA seems to be doing it all.

Amanu defends the value and culture of rural people. It will not allow this way of life to perish.

Amanu is an example of how to positively influence society and take important initiatives. It organizes the Group of Street Market Vendors and the Group of Responsible Consumers of the Raízes do Campo Street Market in Jaboticatubas. It also coordinates the Cerrado Food Group, participates in the Metropolitan Forum on Young Adult Education, and the Minas Gerais Traditional Seeds Group, in addition to other relevant activities.

Jaboticatubas is located in the Cerrado region, more specifically in Serra do Cipó. Despite being officially part of Metropolitan Belo Horizonte, Jaboticatubas has few contacts with the capital as compared to the other towns in the Metropolitan Area. There is hardly any rural policy or recent family farming achievements; even those covered by legislation have been poorly implemented. With strong incentive from public authorities, Jaboticatubas is becoming of late an attractive area for real estate development. Many of those real estate projects have increased land prices and the cost of living, making it even more difficult to preserve the rural way of life.

The CASA Fund supported Amanu to strengthen the Raizes do Campo street market vendors group through capacity building in agroecology, popular solidarity economy, cooperatives, family farming public policies, and product improvement. This enabled increased income generation and better environmental preservation. By boosting the capacity to act collectively, Amanu also raises awareness among street market clients about the importance of responsible and conscious consumption of traditional and fresh agroecological products, thus increasing the quality of family nutrition.