Life-Changing Vegetables

Thanks to INMED's Health in Action program, Maria José da Silva can feed her family healthy produce.
Thanks to INMED’s Health in Action program, Maria José da Silva can feed her family healthy produce.

It’s only been six months since Maria José da Silva planted her home garden, but she says it has already begun to change her life. She and her husband Antonio are raising their 13-year-old son on Antonio’s pension in the Brazilian city of Chã de Alegria and it has been difficult for them to make ends meet. As part of INMED’s Health in Action program, Maria attended a class on gardening at her son’s school. The teacher spoke of the importance of choosing the right foods for good health and she explained the fundamentals of gardening. Though her yard was not very big, Maria says she decided immediately to try it. “I thought, ‘she’s right. I will start my own garden!’”

The results have been remarkable for Maria and her family. With the education and advice they received from INMED, they now grow manioc, yams, okra, beans, lettuce, sweet potatoes, and cilantro. She is giving her son healthy foods to eat, spends less time traveling to the market, and saves on their food budget. They are even growing enough vegetables to sell, which helps with household expenses. “I pay my electric bill and my full rent with the sale of the vegetables we plant on our land,” Maria says proudly. “It has changed my life a lot.”

INMED launched the Health in Action program, in partnership with the Mondelēz International Foundation, to promote better nutrition and fight hunger through school and community gardens in poverty-stricken areas of Brazil.  The program currently operates in nine cities across the country.