Data in the 2006 Agriculture Census show that 0.91 per cent of Brazilian rural enterprises account for 45 per cent of the country's rural area. On the other hand, holdings with an area of less than ten hectares account for more than 47 per cent of the country's total enterprises; although they occupy less than 2.3 per cent of the total area, they account for a large part of production and food, such as cassava and beans.

The Ribeira Valley, the region in which SOF operates, is home to 7,037 family holdings, as well as to 24 Guarani indigenous communities and 66 quilombola communities, and also to big farming estates ("fazendas") and very large properties with little or no agricultural productivity ("Latifundios"). It is both the largest continuous stretch of Atlantic Forest in Brazil (1,7 million hectares) and the region with the highest poverty rates in the richest state in the country (State of São Paulo).

To preserve the region's Atlantic Forest, the Jacupiranga Mosaic was created. It is a combination of 14 conservation units of different types covering a total area of 234 thousand hectares. Areas where, historically, traditional communities – quilombolas and caiçaras – lived and managed the territory and maintained the biodiversity have been transformed into Sustainable Development Reserves, which, while allowing for some planting activity and forest management, do so with precarious authorisation and with a number of restrictions. That means, the logics common of the use of the territory and the associated knowledge of traditional communities are rendered powerless by policies motivated by "preservation" or "financialisation" of nature.