Bogotá Sin Hambre Conference
Bogotá Sin Hambre Conference - ©Politécnico Grancolombiano Departamento de Comunicaciones / source:

Bogotá Sin Hambre: Bogota Without Hunger

Icons target



Icons use case study city info



Icons use case study main actors

Main actors

Local Government, City Government

Icons use case study project area

Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

Icons use case study duration


Ongoing since 2004

Bogota has used urban agriculture and farmers markets to help alleviate poverty and undernutrition while addressing ill health.

Aspects of Bogota sin Hambre, particularly urban agriculture farmers' markets, help to alleviate poverty and undernutrition, as well as address the health and nutrition issues related to the obesity problem in Colombia.

The urban agriculture program is run through a partnership between the Botanical Garden and municipal government. The program teaches and encourages participants to grow food in underused spaces. It encourages also using natural methods and offers technical assistance.

Hundreds of soup kitchens in the city have been built or upgraded for the program, helping thus to reduce poverty and chronic malnutrition in Bogota.

Sustainable Development Goals

End poverty in all its forms everywhere
End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Reduce inequality within and among countries
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Bogotá, Colombia

Size and population development
The city of Bogotá has a total population of 8,080,734, while its metropolitan area has a population of over 10,700,000. (world population review 2018)

Population composition
The 2005 census put the population density for the city at approximately 4,310 people per square kilometer. The rural area of the capital district only has about 15,810 inhabitants. The majority of the population is European or of European-mixed descent. The people of mixed descent are those of Mestizo origin. There is a small minority of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous people as well. The city has recorded significant growth for a number of years and is still growing at a rate of 2.65%, this is largely due to internal migration. Historically, Bogota’s main religion was Roman Catholic and the city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. In the most recent census, a large portion of the population declared they are non-practicing. (world population review 2018)

Main functions
Bogotá lies in central Colombia and is 2,640 metres about sea level in the Northern Andes Mountains. It is the capital and largest city of Colombia and the educational, cultural, commercial, administrative, financial, and political center. Bogotá is a territorial entity and has the same administrative status as the Departments of Colombia.

Main industries / business
Bogotá is the headquarters for all major commercial banks, and the Banco de la República, Colombia's central bank as well as Colombia's main stock market. As the capital city, it houses a number of government agencies including the national military headquarters and is the center of Colombia's telecommunications network. Additionally, most companies (domestic and international) in Colombia have their headquarters in Bogotá. Bogotá is a major center for the import and export of goods for Colombia and the Andean Community in Latin America and is the home of Colombia's tire, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Bogotá is the hub of air travel in the nation and the home of South America's first commercial airline Avianca (Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia). Railroads connect Bogotá with the Caribbean coast to the north and via (Puerto Beriro) with the Pacific coast to the west. Bogotá is on the Colombian section of the Pan-American and Simón Bolívar highways and has road connections with all major Colombian cities.

Sources for city budget
The City of Bogotá draws its budget for public expenditure largely from taxes, fees, fines, operating revenues.

Political structure
Bogotá, as the capital of the Republic of Colombia, houses the executive branch (Office of the President), the legislative branch (Congress of Colombia) and the judicial branch (Supreme Court of Justice, Constitutional Court, Council of State and the Superior Council of Judicature) of the Colombian government.

Administrative structure
The Mayor of Bogotá and the City Council, both elected by popular vote, are responsible for city administration. The City is divided into 20 localities and each of these is governed by an administrative board elected by popular vote, made up of no fewer than seven members. The Mayor designates local mayors from candidates nominated by the respective administrative board.

Columbia has the highest rate of internally displaced persons in the world. Thousands of displaced persons migrate to Bogota, which has increased the strain on the new and old urban poor who seed work, housing and food.

Bogota’s current population is 7.4 million with an urban growth rate of 2.3%.

25% of Bogota’s children are malnourished. Obesity rates in the city in 2008 were approx. 18% and nationally, the rate is approx. 40%.

In an effort to reduce extreme poverty and food in security in Bogota, then Mayor Luis Eduardo Garzon instituted an extensive anti-poverty and food security program in 2004. "Bogota Sin Hambre" or "Bogota Without Hunger".

The program teaches and encourages participants to grow food in underused spaces such as patios, terraces and vacant lots, implementing creative and inexpensive means such as using old tires and planters. It also encourages using natural methods, which is cheaper for the farmers and less harmful to the environment while discouraging the use of chemical pesticides.

The program establishes building or upgrading hundreds of soup kitchens that give free lunches to more than 500,000 people daily; developing and organizing a network of farmers’ markets, food stores and cooperatives establishing an urban agriculture program and opening food banks.

The farmers markets, food stores and cooperatives and urban agriculture program serve as the economic development aspects of Bogota Without Hunger. The program provides technical assistance to the public to teach them methods for growing their own food, which also addresses poverty by reducing household spending on food. 

Municipality funded and consists of a multidisciplinary approach addressing both economic development and social safety nets. 

Many considered the program a political success and a good model. The next mayor of Bogota, Samuel Moreno, expanded the program with a second phase— Bogotá Bien Alimentada, or Well-Nourished Bogota—and successive mayors, including Clara López Obregón and current mayor Gustavo Petro Urrego, whose term began in 2012, have continued it. Bogotá Bien Alimentada is at risk of being shut down, however, due to a lack of funding that could trigger closure of some of the comedores eomunitarios, and because of criticism of the quality of food resulting from difficulties procuring nutritious food at low prices.

Between 2004 and today, the rate of chronic malnutrition has decreased by 2.6 percent in children younger than twelve years old, and nearly 700,000 people, including 372,000 schoolchildren in Bogota, benefitted from the program on a daily basis.

Overall, though, this and other Garzón programs reduced poverty from 38.9% to 23% in Bogota between 2004 and 2007, while Colombia's national poverty rate held steady at almost 50%. Internationally, many view Bogotá sin Hambre as a successful model, and the UN's Food and Agriculture Programme recommends using this as a model for other cities, possibly funded by municipal governments or by international organisations.

Some farmers and environmentalists opposed Bogotá sin Hambre under the auspice that they did not benefit from the program; much of the food in the program's soup kitchens and food banks is donated, comes from international supermarket chains, or is imported. Others have criticized it as not being sustainable.

In 2009, the national government passed an anti-obesity law that encourages physical activity and attempts to improve school nutrition by limiting food and beverage marketing. The government has had difficulty implementing the law, however, because of pushback from the processed food and beverage industry.

Wurwarg, J 2014, 'Urbanisation and hunger: Food policies and programs, responding to urbanisation, and benefiting the urban poor in three cities,' Journal of International Affairs, vol 67, pp. 75-90 


On the Map

Map placeholder

Want to know more about this project?
Contact our community manager.

Anne Schmidt
Berlin, Germany

Anne Schmidt

Individual | Architect, urban designer, researcher

Photo gallery

Related case studies

SIATA: Early Warning System of the Aburra Valley
Valle de Aburrá, Colombia

SIATA: Early Warning System of the Aburra Valley

SIATA is a science and technology project framed in the context of risks associated with natural hazards, sustainability, and the development of smart cities.

Information and Communication Technologies for Youth Employment in Yaoundé II
Yaoundé, Cameroon

Information and Communication Technologies for ...

The program intends to improve youth employement by the use of new technologies in a neighborhood of Yaoundé

The Edinburgh Guarantee
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The Edinburgh Guarantee

Edinburgh has inspired cultural change across the public, private and third sectors to address unemployment among school leavers. A shared vision and strong partnerships are helping them find a job, modern apprenticeship or training, and make successful transitions into the world of work.