Sowing the seeds for urban agriculture

Covering a third of São Paulo, rural areas are seamlessly connected to the city through the Sampa+Rural Program, a groundbreaking platform where citizens and visitors can discover local farmers, indulge in farm-fresh produce, and access ecotourism options. Explore how this bustling megalopolis is creating a sustainability hub that fosters rural development while promoting healthy living for its residents.


Inês and Gervásio raise chickens in their backyard, yielding delicious eggs at their family farm, Horta do Palanque. The community health garden, Horta de Saúde, blossomed over a decade ago on abandoned public land, where neighbors now nurture wholesome, chemical-free veggies. Dita runs the medicinal herbs garden that her grandmother started in the 50s. Visitors to the Planta Feliz composting farm can explore the full composting cycle, producing top-notch fertilizer.

These endeavors represent just a glimpse into the SAMPA+RURAL platform, housing over 2,600 initiatives in agriculture, tourism, and healthy eating. Launched in 2022, the platform is a cornerstone of the Sampa+Rural Program, an initiative spearheaded by the Connect the Dots Project and coordinated by the Municipal Secretariat of Urban Development in collaboration with other municipal agencies. The initiative, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, results from a proposal presented by the Municipality of São Paulo to bolster the city’s agricultural landscape, spanning both urban and rural areas, the latter encompassing 28% of São Paulo’s territory.

“This is a recognition of the work of those who put their hands on the land and have guaranteed agriculture in our city. We are just a tool, but the workers are responsible for the growth of the sector”, said Mayor Ricardo Nunes during the SAMPA+RURAL launch.

The SAMPA+RURAL Program encompasses initiatives to expand technical assistance and rural extension, integrating Work Operation Program beneficiaries into the agricultural sector. It aims to establish 400 urban farming sites and five school greenhouses by the end of 2024, following its 2021-2024 Goals Program. This commitment also aligns with São Paulo’s Action Plan for the Agenda 2030, comprising over 600 actions towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 2 “Zero Hunger and Sustainable Agriculture.”

The initiative recognizes agriculture’s multifunctional role in food production, food security, employment and income generation, environmental sustainability, and climate change mitigation.


A hub for sustainability 

SAMPA+RURAL isn’t just a directory to find local products and farmers in the city; it serves as a hub for sustainability, where residents and authorities collaborate to shape a greener São Paulo.

Non-profit organizations, cooperatives, social impact enterprises, research groups, and other civil society initiatives can showcase their efforts here. They rally community participation in sustainable and solidarity-driven rural development, agroecology, and food security.

The platform also highlights public policies led by the municipality, notably the three Houses of Ecological Agriculture, which provide urban farmers with technical assistance, production support, and marketing aid. In addition, the Parelheiros School of Agroecology offers open courses on solidarity economy, environmental conservation, and agroecology.

As a collaborative platform, local farmers can propose their businesses, while residents can suggest initiatives, leave comments, or share photos of existing places. Moreover, the platform’s database can be downloaded in an open format, allowing all users to access source information.

Neighbors of the Horta do Monte community garden show their Sampa+Rural Production Seal. Photo credit: ©Sampa+Rural Instagram.

Trace and taste: Sealing local

Ever wonder where your food comes from? The Sampa Production Seal pinpoints organic markets, fairs, restaurants, cafes, emporiums, and initiatives in São Paulo that source directly from local rural producers. Farmers and cooperatives that supply these places also get the seal.

The seal aims to celebrate São Paulo’s homegrown bounty and honor establishments committed to fair and local trade. Each seal proudly displays the name of the farmer, farm, or cooperative. Curious consumers can delve deeper into their meal’s story by scanning the seal’s QR code. 

The SAMPA Presence Seal can be obtained by any establishment on the Sampa+Rural platform. It aims to give visibility to this wide network of urban and rural initiatives and bridge physical and virtual establishments under one digital roof.

The SAMPA+RURAL Program is integral to the Municipality of São Paulo’s broader efforts to preserve its green spaces, nurture urban agriculture, and stimulate economic growth. By championing local production, the city increases awareness and elevates the significance of the entire production chain. This innovative approach to sustainability exemplifies the essence of sowing the seeds for a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable São Paulo. Such dedication undoubtedly merits all the approval seals it can receive.