Zoe VanGelder, MEM

2013 TRI Fellow in Brazil

Identifying Successful Strategies for Food Security: Evaluating Brazil’s Zero Hunger Program

Brazil’s Zero Hunger (FZ) program is one of the most promising models for tackling socio-economic inequality and fostering sustainable rural development in the developing world. FZ “democratizes and diversifies” Brazil’s national food system by involving stakeholders from civil society and the private sector in food and agricultural politics and supporting small-scale farming. FZ has been credited with helping Brazil achieve its Millennium Development Goal by reducing rural poverty by 40% in the last 10 years. Despite being touted as a model for developing countries, few rigorous evaluations of FZ’s program exist.

 I spent my summer learning about FZ’s Food Acquisition Program (PAA). The PAA uses the productive capacity of small farmers to tackle poverty and create sustainable food systems. Small farmers sell their harvest to national school lunch programs and food banks and they are incentivized by price premiums to use agro-ecological techniques. I conducted interviews with farmers, researchers, and policy-makers involved in developing and implementing FZ. I plan to use this initial research as the basis for my dissertation.