It’s not a secret, Portugal has been especially badly affected by the ongoing financial crisis and life in the capital city shows tragic stigmas of it, from negative population growth rate to abandoned buildings (representing around 15% of Lisbon’s buildings). The city sees its most desperate inhabitants leave to rural areas or abroad, looking for better opportunities.
Facing the alarming situation, the municipality of Lisbon decided to tackle the problems of unemployment and social exclusion by taking a green turn. On the agenda: orchards, vegetable gardens, parks, green passages and bike paths.
About five hundred families are currently managing and eating from the vegetables and fruits they harvested from their green plot. By 2017, the city aims at doubling the number of families benefitting from this program by transforming a few of the 25 hectares of green spaces still available in the city.
Garden lots are distributed in priority to unemployed inhabitants and people living in social housings. These little farms allow them to eat better and improve their living conditions despite an insufficient income. It also serves the role of recreative activity for many of the urban farmers.
This program presents many positive aspects for the city as well. Maintenance costs are not anymore an issue for the treasure as green areas become managed by the citizen, cultivated soils help in draining water, preventing floods, and the city is improved aesthetically with the conversion of wastelands into gardens.
A Lisbon made wine will soon be enjoyable as three hectares are transformed into an urban vineyard. The city plans on expanding the green space available for farming by converting a six hectares swamp into a large urban farm dedicated to the formation of unemployed inhabitants.