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Twenty-three organic community kitchen gardens scattered across the Porto conurbation are the basis of new territorial policies which involve individual residents, communities, local organisations and institutions. This is a collective movement centred on practical solutions – personal validation, economic subsistence, rebuilding social bonds – to develop community spirit and promote environmental values as part of the trend towards sustainable development.

Executive summary

Horta à Porta is a programme that enhances the economic, environmental and social dynamics of the Porto region through the creation of community organic gardens and the promotion of active involvement which empowers local people and institutions.

It is an innovative programme shaped by the values and culture of tradition, the land and the local community, which challenges participants to adopt a vision of society and solidarity together with broader environmental activism in connection with public policy.

Its unique ethos is to mobilise and engage local people to return to their roots and the earth, representing a break with modern consumerism and the subsequent breakdown of social and community bonding caused by fragmentation.

One could say that Horta à Porta is a happy mix of people motivated by getting in touch with and valuing the land, local communities that embrace the new social and environmental management policies in the territories and specialised structures that incorporate educational activities and facilitate self-organisation.

In the Metropolitan Region of Porto, there are 23 of these community gardens totalling four hectares, and the forecast is for a large-scale increase over a short period of time. The management and support model has been disseminated over several regions and local government investment is increasingly high in this field. The shared goal is to respond to immediate demands in existing territories, as well as entertaining solutions which could be sustained regardless of economic needs.

The project was led by LIPOR, the Greater Porto Metropolitan Waste Management Service, and cofinanced from the specialised Miniwaste line of the LIFE+ programme (€158 555) and from the Cohesion Fund (€277 000) for the distribution of composters (compost drums). This programme fits very appropriately into the specific objectives of LIFE+, itself representing further investment from the European Union Structural Funds for environmental ends.

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Technical information


Gardening for good

Member State and Region

Portugal, North Region, Greater Porto

Duration of project

9 years (2003 – 2012)


Total budget: 239 568 € - Cohesion Fund contribution: 55 732 € - LIFE +: 63 422 €

Cohesion Policy Objective


Managing Authority

LIFE+: APA (Portuguese Environment Agency), Amadora

Tel: +351 21 472 82 00

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Instituto Financeiro para o Desenvolvimento Regional (IFDR, IP) - Thematic Operational Programme Territorial Enhancement

(POVT) Lisbon

Tel: +351 211 545 000

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CCI nr of OP

LIFE+ Programme Miniwaste

2007PT16UPO001 POVT – Programa Operacional Valorização do Território (OP 'Territorial Enhancement')


Ana Lopes - Divisão de Valorização Orgânica – LIPOR - Baguim do Monte

Tel: +351 229 770 100

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http://www.hortadaformiga.com/conteudos.cfm?ss=7 (PT, EN)


Social inclusion, Equal opportunities, Empowerment and participation, Social Innovation