The 19th June 2019 was the date on which Faro’s first-ever Urban Vegetable Patch was inaugurated. One of the largest in Europe, the brand new vegetable garden grew out of a partnership between the Faro Municipal Council, Ambifaro municipal company (which is responsible for managing the municipality's public services, including the Municipal Market), and the Algarve Association for Parents and Friends of Children with Mental Disabilities (AAPACDM), as well as thanks to contributions from renowned Grupo HUBEL and the University of Algarve (UAlg).
Located on the Rooftop of Faro Municipal Market, it aims to not only reveal the potential of the city’s highest locales, but, above all, meet objectives related to solidarity and environmental education. The AAPACDM is in charge of maintaining the vegetable garden, as well as collecting food that will then be used in the institution's community canteen: “This challenge is closely related to the work we do in preparing our members for professional life. They need support in terms of breaking into the labour market.
Our boys have already started a gardening course and have been carrying out work that will guide them in this direction. Everything they do here is destined to end up at the association”, said Jorge Leitão, president of AAPACDM, at the inauguration. Any surplus will be donated to families in need across the municipality, a process that will be overseen the Faro Municipal Council’s Ministry of Social Development and Education. In terms of environmental education, the Faro Urban Vegetable Patch hosts trips from various schools in the municipality and holds initiatives that seek to show local children how to grow and produce certain foods: “The idea is to bring children to the Municipal Market, encourage them to eat vegetables and explain the importance of these products in food, making the most of the space available. We will integrate the garden into this project and let the children get their hands dirty. AAPACDM will help us in this regard. This is also a very important part of our garden ”- said Rogério Bacalhau on inauguration day.