Maria and Cristiane’s Stories

Transformational Gardens: Maria and Cristiane’s Stories

Maria José, a mother in rural Chã de Alegria, was inspired to grow a home vegetable garden after discussing the value of healthy foods with her child’s teacher. Her family owned a lot of land, but had never planted on it. She built the garden after taking part in an INMED training session,

“I don’t go to the market to buy vegetables anymore, and my neighbors buy their vegetables from my home garden,” Maria explained. “Now, I earn money and still have good quality vegetables to feed my family. I’ve paid my electric bill and part of my rent with the sales of the vegetables that we planted in our yard. I have money to buy shoes, which also saves the pension of my husband, who is retired. The garden has been very good to us!”

“The garden brought health to my family, and most important of all, it brought us together!”

Cristiane Maria, a mother in the same region, saw her children get involved with gardening and nutrition through INMED’s Health in Action program. Soon enough, she established a home garden as well, and watched her family flourish. “My kids plant the vegetables with my husband and me,” Cristiane said. “I want to continue the work that they do at school; I think that’s a good activity. When I want some kind of greenery from the garden, the children pick it and bring to me—they love it! I gained a lot from my garden. Now I just buy vegetables at the market that I don’t have at home.”

Cristiane’s family is now able to provide their neighbors with extra food. The fresh cilantro, peppers, cabbage and other vegetables that they’ve planted are shared with multiple homes in the area.

“Besides that,” Cristiane said, “the garden brought health to my family, and most important of all, it brought us together! Before, the children came home from school, and having nothing to do after finishing their homework, they stayed in front of the computer all day. Today we have tasks to accomplish in our garden. Cleaning, watering, planting together became a family habit, and that makes me really happy.”

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