- The favelas’ fairy
Her name is Regina Tchelly.
Born in Nordeste, north east Brazil.
There, poor and rich eat what mother earth give them. There is only very little waste in the state of Paraiba. Farmers put their waste back on earth as fertilizer or use them to feed their animals.
When Regina arrived in Rio de Janeiro to work as a maid, she was shocked by what she saw on markets. Fruits, vegetables and even meat and fish thrown away when they were not sold !
She worked for 11 years, 5 days a week and developed her association on her 2 days off. Secretely she’s always wanted to be a cook.
Living in the favelas, she then was eligible to apply at a youth assistance program for a grant of 10000 reals (around 3000 euros).
Judged too complex, her program had not been selected, but still, with just 140 reals donated by friends she created ‘Favela Organica’.
The aim ? Stop such waste. Use the what we think like not usable or not edible like banana skin, broccoli stems…. and make delicious dishes, cakes…
At the time (3 years ago) she started with the help of 6 others maids who had a day time job and helped her at night. Those 6 became 10 the second week, then 15 and a few weeks later, 40.
She now works with seven markets and 18 restaurants, cooks for buffets, coffee breaks, events, inform chefs on how to reduce waste, gives lectures to inspire people to change their behavior, she even gave a TED talk in Sao Paulo. She thinks organic and for the time being nothing’s defeated her as what she cannot use at all, ends up being composted. The future of the food must be in Brazil, let’s get inspired, 100% leftover.