Today, the Mysticals were helping Felix in his garden. His crop of fresh and healthy vegetables was ready. There were bright red tomatoes and vivid orange pumpkins; there were ripe beans and plentiful leafy vegetables.
Verum wondered, “What made you plant a garden, Felix?”
“My motivation was the world’s largest urban garden project. Let me explain,” said Felix, “Brazil, a country in South America, is going through a hunger crisis. According to new research by civil society groups, about 15.5% of the population in Brazil or about 33 million people are going hungry. Why? The economic activity in Brazil is generally declining. We call this a recession. And then there’s the Covid-19 pandemic, which has also negatively impacted Brazil’s economy.”
“That sounds like a tough situation,” said Scorch.
“Yes, it is,” said Felix, “But Rio de Janeiro, a large urban center, has started a project to build the world’s largest urban garden. The idea is to build a community garden. A part of a manicured park is being used for this project.
This park was once a ‘quilombo’, a settlement formed by people from Africa who were once slaves. They formed this settlement after leaving their captors. Before the 2016 Rio Olympics, 900 families living here were forcibly removed to make the park. And now, this place is ready to house the ambitious urban community garden.
By the end of the year, the urban garden project will cover 27 acres. Júlio César Barros, a soil and crop expert, is leading the project. Currently, 34 gardeners are working under him. They are paid about 500 reais (Brazil’s currency which amounts to about $95). They can also take home fresh produce including lettuce, beetroot, cassava, and carrots.
Half of the crop produced will be donated to the people in need while the other half will be sold at a fair price. The earnings from this will be split equally between the gardeners. In this way, the urban garden project will feed about 50,000 families by 2024.”
“When communities come together, they can tackle big problems,” said Orak, thoughtfully.