The Green Cuisine Project: transforming organic produce and generating income

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The Green Cuisine Project: transforming organic produce and generating income

João Pessoa, BrazilJoão Pessoa, Brazil
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The Green Cuisine Project is an urban collective production program that buys organic foods from family farms and transforms them into enriched snacks, generating a supplemental income for both women from an underserved urban neighborhood and rural, agroecological farmers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The Green Cuisine Project is the fruit of a participatory study conducted by the Popular Collective for Health and Culture of Mandacaru with the residents of the Mandacaru neighborhood, an underserved neighborhood in João Pessoa, in the state of Paraíba. The Index of Human Development for the neighborhood of Mandacaru is .502; the neighborhood has 29,150 residents, and 52% of the population is female. The study's findings show that the biggest social problems in the neighborhood are: the lack of economic opportunity for women, poor nutrition, violence, and the neighborhood youth's involvement with drugs. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the state of Paraíba is the biggest producer of organic foods in the Northeast. However, these foods are not commercially available in underserved neighborhoods such as Mandacaru.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Green Cuisine Project strives to be a model for collective, sustainable cooking that works for the simultaneous development of three social axes: safe and nutritious sustenance for everyone, the economic emancipation of socioeconomically vulnerable women, and family farming-based agriculture. Based on the information gleaned from the study conducted in the Mandacaru area and hoping to offer a more nutritious but popular snack, the Green Cuisine Project created a line of enriched foods for snacking and for parties. The doughs used for these snacks are enriched with the brans of seeds, and the fillings, with a broth made with the stems, leaves, and roots of organic greens. Green Cuisine adheres to the principles of the full reuse of foodstuffs and to Dr. Clara Takaki Brandão's enriched diet. In essence, Green Cuisine's formula is as follows: agroecology + women who can cook + enriched food products = health and generation of collective income.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The Green Cuisine Project's cycle begins with the agroecological farmer, who sells organic produce, which then moves through the hands of women. These women transform the produce into enriched snacks. The cycle finishes with the consumer, who is able to buy a flavorful, dependable, and nutritious snack. “The partnership between the Association of Agroecological Farmers of the Lowlands of Paraíba (known as Ecovárzea) and the Green Cuisine Project is working well, as it's the right purchase for all of us, and in a large quantity.” -Zefinha, treasurer of Ecovárzea. “Green Cuisine really values our products and the agroecological market. I take a crazy amount of pride in wearing Project Green Cuisine's shirt.” -Marcos, Ecovárzea agroecological farmer “I thought it would just be some sort of workshop like other that I've taken that never resulted in anything. Girl, it was good because we had a dream that had disappeared—it was dead—but then it came back to life, and the hope of having a better future and financial independence has returned.” -Irani, 41 years old, cook for the Green Cuisine Project “With the money that I receive from selling the snacks from our Green Cuisine, I've already bought clothing and shoes for myself, and I invested in a pair of glasses that I've needed. The glasses alone were R$285, on top of R$50 for the appointment, but everything has been paid off. I also bought a camera and some other things.” -Conceição, 50 years old, cook for the Green Cuisine Project “My son never liked to eat any snacks bought off the street, but when I bought yours, he loved them and feels good when eating.” -Maria, a client “I ate your snacks at my daughter's party. They're good, and I didn't feel stuffed afterwards.” -Patricia, a client

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In the Green Cuisine Project's 18 months of existence, the following results have been attained: more than 52 thousand enriched snacks were sold at fair prices and were made accessible to a diverse public; 30 events aiming to disseminate enriched, organic subsistence were held in public and private schools, family health clinics, universities, and churches, with more than 500 people enjoying the enriched snacks; 100% of the greens and vegetables utilized in preparing Green Cuisine snacks have been organic and obtained through the Ecovárzea Association's agroecological market; an average increase of 81% in the monthly income of the project's 10 cooks. In the second half of 2013, a line of sweets and enriched cakes will be developed with the help of BrazilFoundation; product sales are expected to increase by 30%.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

During its first year of implementation, the Green Cuisine Project counted on the resources of its partners: the Bank of Brazil Foundation, CESE, and the Women's Group of Immenrold in Germany. In the first six months of 2013, Green Cuisine was able to cover its expenses using the solidarity fund and the revenue from snack sales. Now, in the second half of 2013, we ave begun an expansion of our product line in partnership with BrazilFoundation.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Paraíba is the northeastern state with the highest production of organic food products, but in João Pessoa, there are only three restaurants that offer healthy meals with fresh, organic greens—and none of them sell nutritious snacks. In the snackfood market for parties in João Pessoa, there is a prominent small factory that produces machine-made snacks, full of saturated fat and the opposite of nutritious. Green Cuisine's snacks stand out in this market because they are enriched with nutrients. They are full of flavor but are similar in price to more traditional market offerings, and this is only possible because of the full use of the organic produce and the techniques for standardizing the product, which keeps costs low and makes the business economically viable.

Founding Story

To talk about the Green Cuisine Project is to go back in time and tell the story of two women and social entrepreneurs who joined forces in an NGO in Recife, working with groups in underserved neighborhoods. It is these two women from Pernambuco, Danielle and Liliane, who resolved to expand their work to another northeastern state after much experience in the social sector in Recife—and so they migrated their work to João Pessoa, Paraíba. On Paraíba's soil, they began a long journey that started with women's handicrafts and the Knitting and Generating Income Project and continued with the Recognizing My Community Project, a community study in Mandacaru that would plant the seed that grew to become Green Cuisine. Grounded in the reality of the community study and looking at the day-to-day habits of Mandacaru's residents, we noticed a growing concern with the daily consumption of industrialized snacks by the neighborhood's youth, and thus sprouted the idea for Green Cuisine.
About You
The Popular Collective for Health and Culture of Mandacaru
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

The Popular Collective for Health and Culture of Mandacaru

Organization Country

, PB, João Pessoa

Country where this project is creating social impact

, PB, João Pessoa

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

No awards, but the Popular Collective for Health and Culture of Mandacaru was named a Municipal Public Utility on September 8, 2011.

Nutrients For All
Where do you ensure the availability of nutrients?

Nutrient-rich farming, Full nourishment foods.

If you had greater capacity, which additional sectors would you like your solution to target - either through expansion, partnership, or thought exchange?

Nutrient-rich farming.

How specifically would this added capacity help you improve the quality, efficiency, or sustainability of your existing product or service?

Green Cuisine's expansion is directly related to the availability of organic produce produced by family farms. Right now, the variety and quantity of fruits, vegetables, and greens is insufficient, and it is essential that the production process of the agroecological farmers who supply Green Cuisine be perfected.