Agricultura Urbana e Periurbana (AUP) como objeto do empreendedorismo social: a experiência da organização Cidades Sem Fome
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Urban population growth and its mode of food production and consumption put pressure on the population’s food and nutritional security. This pressure is a result of environmental impacts – such as water scarcity, reduction of fertile land and the effects of climate change and extreme climate events –, and social impacts – such as increased poverty, unemployment and social exclusion. In this context, this research has the general objective of investigating urban and periurban agriculture (UPA) as an object of social entrepreneurship in the light of the experience of the “Cidades Sem Fome” (Cities Without Hunger) organization. The literature review explored two themes: AUP, to understand how it fits in as part of the solution to social and environmental problems, and social entrepreneurship, to analyze its potential as a driver for UPA. A qualitative research was conducted based on the case study methodology, which examines two projects of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Cities without Hunger: Community Gardens and Urban Gardens, developed in the peripheral region of the Municipality of São Paulo. The need to adapt the Community Gardens model which, due to several barriers to the UPA, did not guarantee financial self-sufficiency for the beneficiaries of the project, led to the development of the Urban Gardens project, in a Social Business model. The analysis of the case demonstrated that the social business approach applied to Urban Gardens, in the pursuit of financial self-sufficiency through applying a market driven logic – in the factors management and governance, scale and commercialization – and having as its main purposes the guarantee of financial self-sufficiency and job creation, has made it possible to mitigate the many challenges faced in the Community Gardens model of action – access to land, job creation, low level of education of participants, lack of incentives for donors and sponsors, high cost of agricultural inputs, difficulty in accessing markets and fair trade, and planting on contaminated land. However the NGO has the challenge to restructure the Community Garden operational model, capturing aspects of the market driven logic because only a financially selfsufficient model will guarantee the continuity of the project. The NGO is recognized for its social impact in supporting the income generation of Community Gardens farmers that sells fresh produce at affordable prices in underprivileged regions with little access to it, and therefore a disconnection from the NGO image of this project could result in a loss of positive perception that supporters, the society, and the local community nurture for it. This study identified that there are peripheral regions in the city of São Paulo with wide availability of land in places where a poor population, with high social vulnerability, lives, who feeds on precarious diets and has little access to fresh food. At the same time, it has been shown that there are opportunities to stimulate UPA through social entrepreneurship in these regions, which can contribute to job and income generation, to offer greater access to a variety of fresh foods and to improve their food and nutrition security.