Community leader Maria de Lourdes Andrade Silva took a thousand kilograms of food from the plantation per month, enough to produce 70 lunch boxes a day
About 19 million Brazilians spent fome at the end of 2020. This is what the data from the National Survey on Food Insecurity in the Context of the Pandid-19 Covid-19 in Brazil, released this week, reveal. According to the survey, more than half of the Brazilian population – that is, 55% of households – lived with some degree of food insecurity at the end of last year and 9% of them experienced severe food insecurity. João Jesus Santos’ house is one of them. Without a source of income, he puts food on the table with the volunteer work he does in the garden of the community where he lives, in Sao Paulo, and with what you get from Donation. The little he has, in addition to sharing with his wife, also sends to his two daughters, who live far away and are also experiencing difficulties. “My livelihood is leaving here. I am unemployed, I am married, my wife makes a few bucks, she stopped doing it because in the pandemic she can’t do it anymore, so practically the livelihood is leaving here from the garden. Lettuce, seasoning, these things, the basic basket that has been helping a lot. ”
At Marcileide Sousa de Andrade’s house it is no different. To be able to eat, she and her husband are also working as volunteers at the plantation. “It has been a great help here, because this is where we have been making a living from. It is from the baskets that comes from donation, from what comes out of the garden here. This is where we get food from, ”he says. This is the scenario of Vila Nova Esperança, in the West Zone of São Paulo. About 3 thousand people depend on the production of Horta Popular and donations of basic food baskets to survive. The owner of the garden is Maria de Lourdes Andrade Silva, Lia. Community leader of Vila Nova Esperança since 2010, she says that, last year, she took a thousand kilos of food from the place per month, enough to produce 70 lunch boxes a day. That is how she helped to feed the community during the pandemic and the plan is to continue in 2021.
Despite efforts, Lia explains that the vegetable garden alone is not enough; they also need what comes in the basic baskets. “Our idea now is to expand this garden more and more, because we know that we are in a very hungry moment and what have we done? We plant a lot of cassava, we plant a lot of sweet potatoes and we will soon be harvesting a lot of sweet potatoes and a lot of cassava and it will help to feed the community. We take vegetables from the vegetable garden, we will have vegetables, but there are no beans, no oil. In addition to the vegetable garden, we need a basic food basket, so communities are where the people most in need are, ”he said, stressing that donations are even more necessary this year with the decrease in emergency aid. The financial support she received in 2020 for the production of lunchboxes has also ended. In addition to the basic food items, the community leader also says that there is a lack of medicines.
* With information from reporter Beatriz Manfredini