Favela Orgánica

Movement to promote organic food and recycling cooking practices in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro


Favela Orgánica started in an informal settlement in Rio to encourage food sovereignty through healthy eating habits in low-income communities. Since 2011, Regina Tchelly, the founder of the initiative, organizes workshops to teach people how to prepare healthy meals using parts of the vegetables they would normally throw away (peels, stalks, etc.), reducing food waste and making them conscious of the benefits that organic agriculture brings to our health and to the environment.

The project also offers information on how to make compost and encourages people to create vegetable gardens in their houses.


  • The project has helped spreading new habits in the community.
  • It has encouraged creation of vegetable gardens in homes.
  • So far more than 2,000 workshops have been organized in different regions of Brazil and around 6,000 people have attended to it.
  • 200 persons in the Babilonia and Chapeu Mangueira communities have benefited from the initiative’s workshops.

Did you know?

Regina Tchelly created the project on her own with R$ 140 she received from friends and family. On the first week, she had six women participating in her workshop.  Four weeks later there were 40 people. Later, she submitted the project to a contest and won the R$ 10,000 prize to keep developing it.

Sustainability and Replicability

Favela Orgánica has organized workshops in more than seven states of Brazil. The initiative can be easily replicated with the necessary tools, equipment and recipes that use the vegetables completely. It also requires knowing about the food cycle and how to transmit this knowledge.

Lessons learned

To promote social transformation it is crucial to have strong leadership from specific individuals with high-levels of community engagement and participation. 

Take action

  • Spread the message and promote Favela Órganica initiative: Tell your friends, write an article about it, distribute its contents among your networks.
  • Contact the initiative to learn about their volunteering opportunities and current needs.
  • Get informed and learn how you can replicate this initiative in your city


Initiative 17



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