Initiative: Frutchá – Workshop for Conscious, Raw, and Vegan Food
Contact: WhatsApp +55.21.999.714.373
Year Founded: 2017
Community: City of God
Mission: To provide awareness and access to healthy and conscious food for the community and the wider population, through expanding knowledge of the whole food cycle with a view to preventing and treating illness.
Public Events: Sustainable Entrepreneurs Fair (FES) in Jacarepaguá.
How to Contribute: By inviting the initiative to present in workshops and participate in sustainable entrepreneurs’ fairs in order to teach, promote, and sell its products. The project is currently in need of donations of computers, printers, and TV for presenting motivational videos in workshops.
The Frutchá-Workshop for Conscious, Raw, and Vegan Food is an initiative of Danielle Oliveira, 40, who has lived in City of God in Rio’s West Zone for 15 years. Oliveira is a raw-vegan food chef and works with preserves made from Kombucha vinegar and naturally fermented foods. Through the food she produces and by way of workshops, Oliveira aims to expose her community to better lifestyle habits built around conscious eating and practical skills for caring for one’s health and natural environment. She believes that by teaching people about agroecology and healthy eating, it is possible to improve quality of life in the community.
Oliveira developed her own knowledge by attending numerous workshops on the environment and raw food diets (which includes the germination of seeds and shoots, the hydration of nuts, and the consumption of raw vegetables). As a result, she can now carry out the full process from the cultivation to the preparation of raw food in order to yield a lifestyle shift. From her studies and the personal benefits she gained, she saw the importance of sharing this knowledge with her community, because she realized that many people consumed chemically-altered processed foods due to a lack of information. “The community can benefit a lot by learning more about food and nature. We need to understand that everything nature has to offer is only going to benefit us,” she says.
Entrepreneurship, workshops, and community gardens
Oliveira trained as an independent sustainable entrepreneur through courses run by SEBRAE (Brazilian Service in Support of Micro and Small Businesses) and the Centro de Referência da Juventude (CRJ) in City of God. Today, Frutchá participates in market fairs and events to promote health and sustainability. The business participants in the Desapegue-se Fair in Grajaú and the Sustainable Entrepreneurs Fair (FES) in Jacarepaguá, as well as other events that promote sustainability through sales and workshops, such as the chlorophyll juice workshop Oliveira facilitated at the Souza Marques School in Cascadura.
Her signature product is Kombucha—a lightly carbonated drink made from the natural fermentation of teas sweetened by a symbiotic culture of healthy yeasts and bacteria—brewed with natural and organic ingredients. “Every day I sample it to check its fermentation content. There are a total of two stages to the process and it can take up to two weeks in the winter,” she says. The elixir is rich in vitamin C as well as B-Complex vitamins that have strong properties to boost the production of antioxidants in the body, stimulating intestinal flora.
Currently, Oliveira holds her conscious, raw, and vegan food workshops at the CRJ unit in City of God. The small garden at the entrance of the organization was made available so that she could develop a medicinal community garden, which is currently in-progress. “I have a lot of energy and I am passionate about the projects I work on. I have a lot of dedication and I hope to pass it on to others,” she said.
Through the chlorophyll juice course, Oliveira teaches attendees how nutrition can be a natural remedy, help weight loss, and even cure infections. “We can learn to be our own doctor when we have knowledge about the right foods.” Oliveira points out that when we learn about healthy living, everything changes for the better. She warns that there is growing concern about poor dietary habits and the impact they have on the whole physical-mental functioning of the human being.
A skilled agroecologist, she grows some of her spices and unconventional edibles in her garden at home, and tends to her neighbors’ gardens too. She grows seedlings and assists her friends with their own gardens. Oliveira explains how the choice and quality of food ingredients are critical for promoting good health: “All the ingredients are well thought out. Everything I use is natural—teas and fruits: the tea is green tea and the fruits are seasonal.”
Oliveira dreams of working together with other professionals, local producers, and collaborators to organize the first organic fair in City of God, with a fixed structure and monthly courses on healthy and conscious eating to share knowledge about health. She believes that through these events, people in the region will be better informed and better equipped to source healthier foods.
*The Frutchá-Workshop for Conscious, Raw, and Vegan Food is one of over 100 community projects mapped by Catalytic Communities (CatComm), the organization that publishes RioOnWatch, as part of our parallel ‘Sustainable Favela Network‘ program launched in 2017 to recognize, support, strengthen and expand on the sustainable qualities and community movements inherent to Rio de Janeiro’s favela communities.