Back to top

Rede Ecológica (Ecological Network)

Author: Michaela Wood
Published Date: 21 May 2008

lace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Urca, Santa Teresa, Tijuca, Copacabana, Jacarepaguá)


Service idea: Rede Ecológica is a solidarity and ecological purchase group (direct distribution model)

Function addressed: Functions addressed by the initiative are primarily nutrition (for the users side), and secondary work (for the producers side, since they work is supported by the initiative).

Summary of the initiative:

The main demand is the consumption of chemical-free food products (biological). Rede Ecológica also aims at supporting the small producer or family-based agriculture, since it believes that the small producer is the ultimate ecologist (produces in more natural ways, without pesticides).

The network is based on 6 district nuclei. A central management collects the orders done by phone or Internet and contacts the producers (from a network of informally associated producers). The products are delivered on a weekly (fresh products) or monthly basis (dry products). The separation of the whole lot occurs in a lent space (on a voluntary basis) and vans make the distribution to each nuclei. Consumers come to the nuclei to get they products.

Products acquired through the network are cheaper than biological products found in supermarkets.

Main actors (promoters, supporters, users, connections):

Rede Ecológica is a horizontal organisation. Miriam Lagenbach is the director and main animator. Each nucleus has one or more responsible persons. Most associates are involved with one specific producer.

Users can be associates (paying a monthly fee) or non-associates (pay an extra margin for the transport fees). Users are mostly middle-class (nuclei are in middle-class neighbourhoods).

Providers are spread across Brazil: fresh products are acquired from local (RJ state) producers, whereas dry products are acquired from producers from other (and often distant) states. Producers are scrutinised by Rede Ecologica members before becoming regular providers, many are related to NGOs, cooperatives and agrarian reform settlements and contenders.

There are connections to many initiatives or groups related to ecology, solidarity economics, social activism, such as a Forum for ecology and social inclusion and Greenpeace.

Producers (scrutinised by Rede Ecologica members before becoming regular providers) are related to agrarian reform settlements and contenders.

Creative community, why?

Members are socially active people who have organized themselves to promote an alternative consumption modality (critical consumption). They have invented a new way of doing something, an everyday life function (nutrition).

About the researchers

Researcher name (and email) and institution: Lara Penin (DIS INDACO/Politecnico di Milano) , Prof. Roberto Bartholo, Beany Guimarães, Marcos Lagenbach (LTDS COOPE UFRJ)

Source of the information: Interview with Miriam Lagenbach, Hipolita, Ângela, Lygia Fuentes

Date: Interview 05/02/07, format completion 05/03/07

Address and reference person: Urca group: NAU (Núcleo de Artes da Urca) - Av. São Sebastião, 117. Tel: 2530-3639. Reference persons: Miriam Lagenbach, Lygia Aride Fuentes


Other reference material: DVD “Carmencita descobre a Rede Ecológica” (institutional video).