Food for Justice goes to the field: our trip to Belo Horizonte in search of food production, access and preparation practices

In the second half of February, the FFJ project team was in the city of Belo Horizonte doing fieldwork. During this time, they visited public facilities such as open-air markets, ‘direto da roça’, popular restaurants and the community kitchen programme, created in 2023 to offer quality food to the city’s most vulnerable regions. The team visited the Cabana do Pai Tomás neighbourhood, in the West Region, alongside officials from the Undersecretariat for Food and Nutritional Security, to get to know the programme that serves more than 400 people every day. At the invitation of leaders of local social movements and civil society, Renata Motta and Maria Eugênia Trombini, a researcher associated with the FFJ, took part in a meeting at the Horta Comunitária da Esperança, in Izidora, one of the productive areas in what is the largest urban occupation in Latin America, which is currently fighting for land regularisation. Through the Sustainable Territories programme and as an action to combat dengue fever, the city council held a workshop to teach residents how to make natural repellent. Renata’s quotes ‘’ Another social technology that the FFJ project team had the opportunity to get to know was the Ipê Amarelo Solidarity Kitchen in the city of Contagem. This and other kitchens were set up by the Movement of Homeless Workers (MTST) to guarantee free daily meals for families on the outskirts of the city in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the menu: rice, beans, chicken with buriti oil, cassava, sautéed mustard and coloured beetroot. Some of the food came straight from Vila Ipê Amarelo’s community garden, where the residents grow vegetables and medicinal and ornamental plants. The project has the support of Contagem’s Municipal Programme for Promoting Urban and Family Agriculture.

Photographs taken by the group and the participants: