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This Argentinian city is turning vacant land into urban food gardens

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Urban food gardens are now a big part of Rosario's food supply.
Urban food gardens are now a big part of Rosario's food supply.   -   Copyright  World Resources Institute
By Doloresz Katanich

After Argentina was faced with a huge economic crisis in 2001, the municipality of Rosario put a lot of time and effort into sustainable food production.

This small region could never have predicted how beneficial it would be in future.

When the country's economy collapsed in 2001, more than half of Rosario's population dropped below the poverty line while facing skyrocketing food prices and shortages. The city was also suffering from floods and heatwaves, both of which climate change had exacerbated.

The municipality created the Urban Agriculture Program, which has turned vacant land into urban food gardens where low-income residents can cultivate food. They also get tools, materials, seeds and training to help locals grow food without chemicals.

To get out of poverty, we have to come together.
Tomasa Ramos Celia
Gardener, Parque Huerta el Bosque

Today, the program has over 300 urban farmers, alleviates food scarcity and provides economic opportunities for many residents. It is a cornerstone of the city's climate action plan.

Now the programme has won the prestigious global environmental 'WRI Ross Center Prize for Cities' for its innovative approach to tackling climate change and urban inequality.

The prize was created to inspire sustainable urban transformation across the world.

'Sustainable Food Production for a Resilient Rosario' was selected from 262 submissions from 54 countries. The prize comes with a cheque of €210,000.

Click on the video to learn more about this project.