​20-year-old rubbish dump turned into a lush garden

Looking around Sitie Park, it's hard to imagine that there were once 16 tonnes of electrical appliances, household waste, dead animals and other garbage here, built up over 20 years of neglect.

Today the garden is overflowing with trees, plants and flowers, and is a source of pride for the local residents that made it happen. The Vidigal favela (shanty town) community has, like many other informal settlements in Rio, suffered as a result of neglect by the government, with access to electricity and garbage services a rarity.

But for one man, Mauro Quintanilha, and his community, enough was enough. Frustrated by overcrowding, growing piles of rubbish and total lack of natural beauty, they set about creating their own neighbourhood Eden.

Since 2006, the area has become unrecognisable: waste has been cleared away, vegetation has been planted and flowers have begun to bloom. Without state funding, the community has had to be resourceful, using upcycled car tires and other pieces of scrap to build garden beds, fences and picnic tables.

Now the garden is a thriving community hub, where residents can meet to celebrate, exercise, learn and create. Local artists have contributed vibrant murals and sculptures to the landscape, recycling any remaining pieces of metal, timber and plastic lest over from the garden's rubbish dump days into colourful creations.

The future of the park, however, is unclear, with rapid gentrification in the area threatening to see the neighbourhood transformed into hotels and shops.

Here's hoping that this incredible community garden can be preserved as a testament to the power of collaborative effort!

Check out some of these other amazing community garden projects:

Vietnam's Farming Kindergarten and Community Garden

This Palestinian village is fighting war with flowers

The Verge Gardening Revolution

This homeless shelter in Atlanta has its own organic garden, which helps to feed its residents

What's mine is yours: Sharing land to help grow a more sustainable future

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