Catalyst House

The City that Voted Out Hunger

Brazil’s fourth largest city, Belo Horizonte, teaches humanity an important lesson. A city population of 2.5 million that once had a high percentage living in abject poverty, and 20% of the children hungry for basic nutrition essentially become a proud testament of true democracy by voting out hunger.

Belo Horizonte eliminated hunger

“Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy.” — Frances Moore Lappe

When I lived in Belo in the late 90s the city was already 5-years along in an important experiment – by will of the voters Belo had declared food to be a right of its citizenry. The new municipal administration declared in return: “If you are too poor to buy food in the market—you are no less a citizen, and you will eat.”

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