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Food security and edible plant cultivation in the urban gardens of socially disadvantaged families in the municipality of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil

de Medeiros, Natália Sant’Anna, do Carmo, Davi Lopes, Priore, Sílvia Eloíza, Santos, Ricardo Henrique Silva, Pinto, Carina Aparecida
Environment, development and sustainability 2019 v.21 no.3 pp. 1171-1184
farmers, food plants, food security, gardens, nutrition, rural areas, subsistence farming, surveys, urban areas, Brazil
Subsistence farming in urban gardens may be a strategy for food and nutrition security, particularly in socially disadvantaged families, because it eases access to food. This study aimed to assess the following factors in socially disadvantaged families: (1) prevalence of food insecurity, (2) characterization of gardens and cultivation of edible plants in urban areas, and (3) relation between characteristics of urban gardens and cultivated edible plants and food security in families. A survey was conducted on the management and cultivation of plants in gardens and on the perception of food security according to the Brazilian Food Insecurity Scale for 118 families living in urban areas in the municipality of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil. We observed that 78.8% of families were exposed to food insecurity and were socially vulnerable. Among these, 56.8% experienced mild food insecurity conditions, 15.3% moderate conditions, and 6.7% severe conditions. Management of urban gardens and cultivation of edible plants vary widely according to families’ needs and interests, available space, age of farmers, cultivation time, and previous relationship between the family and rural environments. There was no relation between characteristics of gardens, management, and cultivation of edible plants in urban gardens and the perception of food security of socially disadvantaged families.