For the past eight years, Celia Muñoz has worked in La Huerta de A LA PAR, a community-oriented, eco-friendly garden initiative launched by the foundation A LA PAR. Just a few kilometres from the centre of Madrid, La Huerta provides 200 allotments to the public to take up urban gardening. Individuals like Celia with intellectual disabilities are trained in horticulture to look after the gardens.
“We should promote more urban gardens to facilitate access to healthy food for city residents.”
Celia believes that more people need to support local initiatives like La Huerta de A LA PAR. Through her work, she echoes FAO’s call for everyone to play a part in transforming agri-food systems to be more inclusive, connecting communities with healthy food and nature. Her experience demonstrates how sustainable food production in community gardens has many benefits from living in close contact with nature, to learning about cultivation and building our appreciation for nutritious, locally sourced and organic foods.
During the pandemic, Celia and her colleagues distributed food baskets in an effort to ensure food security for the local community. Knowledge sharing on sustainable diets and local food is a key part of La Huerta’s mission. Through youth initiatives, Celia spreads consumer awareness around healthy eating by introducing schoolchildren to the importance of biodiversity and the need to include fresh, high-quality foods in our diets. She also hopes that La Huerta can help governments and private businesses to see the benefits of organic farming.
“Businesses and governments should be more involved in organic farming because it has far more benefits than other production methods. They should visit gardens like ours and learn how these foods are grown to appreciate them more.”
A LA PAR and its La Huerta initiative are supporting community participation for people with intellectual disabilities, like Celia, and building their independence. At the same time, they are contributing to greener cities and more inclusive food systems for the community. Celia, and all people involved in A LA PAR are active food heroes that are building a more sustainable future for people and the planet.
More information here: https://lahuerta.alapar.ong/