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Category — Cuba

Thaw with United States Will Put Cuba’s Agroecology to the Test

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A woman picks organic green beans on the La Sazón organoponic farm in the Casino Deportivo neighbourhood of Havana, which forms part of the country’s urban agriculture system. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS.

A total of 8,438 hectares are now cultivated under urban farming, including 1,293 small organoponic farms (which combine organic and water-submersion hydroponics techniques), tended by day laboureers

By Ivet González
IPS News
Mar 31, 2016

Excerpt:

Meanwhile, interest in Cuba’s ecological agriculture has been reiterated during visits to this Caribbean island nation by U.S. businesspersons and agriculture officials, who are among the most active proponents of a total normalisation of relations between these two countries separated by just 90 miles of ocean.

The foremost example is the 30 companies forming part of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), which emerged in January 2015 to help push for an end to the U.S. embargo against Cuba in place since 1962.

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April 6, 2016   Comments Off on Thaw with United States Will Put Cuba’s Agroecology to the Test

Cuba Struggles to Feed Itself as Lack of Cash Slows Rise of Urban Farming

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“Organic agriculture was essentially forced upon Cuba,” Sinan Koont, an economics professor at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Voice of America
Reuters
February 04, 2016

Excerpt:

“The government is trying to make more of these organic farms,” urban farmer Antonio Loma told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “But it’s a lot of work for very little money.”

The 10 employees who work with Loma at the Rotondo de Cojima farm, a 10-minute drive from central Havana, earn the equivalent of $25 per month, making it difficult to attract qualified workers or capital to expand production, Loma said.

Taking a break beside the store where all the farm’s food is sold directly to local residents, Loma said Cuba turned to urban agriculture because it had to.

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February 4, 2016   Comments Off on Cuba Struggles to Feed Itself as Lack of Cash Slows Rise of Urban Farming

Cuban experiences in urban agriculture and greenhouse crops will be implemented in Panama

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Panama and Cuba Sign Agreement for Agricultural Cooperation

Prensa Latina
Sept 21, 2015

Panama, Sep 21 (Prensa Latina) A memorandum of understanding on agricultural cooperation between Panama and Cuba was signed today here by the Minister of Agricultural Development (MIDA), Jorge Arango and Cuban Ambassador Antonio Pardo.

The agreements so far are mainly in the scientific-technical area and the first project to be implemented will be the use in Panama of Cuban experiences in urban agriculture and greenhouse crops, stated the ambassador.

This agreement is a result of the recent visit of President Juan Carlos Varela to Cuba, which increased the relations between the two countries, with emphasis in trade and the links between Panama’s Colon Free Zone and the Cuban Port of Mariel, stated Pardo.

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September 28, 2015   Comments Off on Cuban experiences in urban agriculture and greenhouse crops will be implemented in Panama

Here’s what better relations with the US mean for city farms in Cuba

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ubausCuba has a unique and highly productive agricultural system in the cities and on the fringes of suburbia. Javier Ignacio Acuña Ditzel/Flickr

Both farmers and the Cuban government will need to work out how to resist international market pressures. Otherwise the unique, productive model of Cuban urban and peri-urban agriculture may disappear.

By Julia Wright
Senior Research Fellow, Agroecological Futures at Coventry University
By Emily Morris
Research Associate, Institute of the Americas, UCL at UCL
The Conversation
June 18, 2015

Excerpt:

However, two factors protect the Cuban urban agriculture model.

The first is that it has become well-established. Farmers understand and have committed to agroecological principles, at least in urban and peri-urban zones. On the government side, the model has proven it can achieve development priorities and is enshrined in policy.

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June 26, 2015   Comments Off on Here’s what better relations with the US mean for city farms in Cuba

Urban gardening in Cuba: Vivero Alamar – Havana’s largest City Garden

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I shot the video in one day during a press trip to Cuba organized by the German NGO Welthungerhilfe. The NGO has supported the City Garden featured in the video for more than ten years.

Video and text by Roland Brockmann
2015

I visited the city garden of Alamar in Havana a short time after the handshake between Barack Obama and Raul Castro. Therefore one of the goals of my visit was to find out how Cubans farmers see the new political climate between the US and Cuba. What are their hopes and worries?

Miguel Lopez, the president of the cooperative, was very positive about the political convergence. “This process of opening up is important for Cuba.” he said. “There’s a global community and we’re going to be joining it now.”

Because the garden produce is strictly organic, Lopez was especially excited about the opportunity of exporting organic food to nearby Florida. He wasn’t worried about the risk of cheap produce destroying the domestic market.

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June 23, 2015   Comments Off on Urban gardening in Cuba: Vivero Alamar – Havana’s largest City Garden

Cuban urban famers pressured by impending US pesticide imports

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There are more than 10 thousand urban organic farms in Cuba, producing around half of all the country’s vegetables, according to the Government’s Urban Agriculture Program.

By Michael Voss
CCTV.com
04-29-2015

Excerpt:

As Cuba and the United States move closer towards re-establishing diplomatic relations, U.S. companies are increasingly looking for commercial opportunities on the island. The U.S. already exports food to Cuba, next could be pesticides and fertilizers. Yet, Cuba has a large and well-established organic farming sector using only non-chemical products.

The Organoponico Vivero Alamar is one of Cuba’s showcase urban farms, a pioneer in sustainable production. The 10 hectare farm provides fresh produce for many of the residents of Alamar, on the outskirts of Havana. To help do so, they make around 400 tons of bio-fertilizer a year, based on animal manure.

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May 8, 2015   Comments Off on Cuban urban famers pressured by impending US pesticide imports

Urban agriculture contributes half of Cuba´s vegetable production

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Cuban Agriculture minister Gustavo Rodriguez said that the initiative has helped create more than 300,000 jobs.

Cuban New Agency
17 April 2015

HAVANA, Cuba, Apr 17 (acn) Urban and family gardening contributes 50 percent of the country´s vegetable production with over one million Cubans involved in this developing initiative.

During the closing session of the Second International Congress on Urban and Family Gardening, held in Havana, Cuban Agriculture minister Gustavo Rodriguez said that the initiative has helped create more than 300 thousand jobs.

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April 29, 2015   Comments Off on Urban agriculture contributes half of Cuba´s vegetable production

‘Tierralismo’ – the story of Cuba’s most successful urban farm, Organopónico Vivero Alamar

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TIERRALISMO (2013) clip from Icarus Films on Vimeo.

In the district of Alamar, a 26-acre farming co-op provides employment for dozens of workers

A film by Alejandro Ramirez Anderson
Icarus Films

Excerpt:

“At this moment I’m no longer a doctor. Right now I consider myself a farmer like everyone else.”

On the outskirts of Havana, sandwiched between highways and public housing, a revolution is taking place. Here, in the district of Alamar, a 26-acre farming co-op provides employment for dozens of workers, while producing vegetables and medicinal plants for the local community and beyond.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s, Cuba was no longer able to access machinery and agricultural chemicals from its former Communist allies. In this difficult environment, the government relaxed economic rules and allowed the formation of cooperatives like the Organopónico Vivero Alamar.

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April 16, 2015   Comments Off on ‘Tierralismo’ – the story of Cuba’s most successful urban farm, Organopónico Vivero Alamar

International Congress on Urban Agriculture Starts in Havana

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The Congress that will last till Thursday includes the presentation of 40 papers

Havana, Apr 14 (Prensa Latina)

The 2nd International Congress on Urban, Suburban and Family Agriculture starts today at the Conventions Center in Havana, followed by the conference “Agrarian Research in Cuba: Outlooks, Challenges and Demands”.

The conference will be given by Adolfo Rodríguez, who is in charge of urban agriculture in the country and is head of the Institute for Fundamental Researches of Tropical Agriculture.

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April 15, 2015   Comments Off on International Congress on Urban Agriculture Starts in Havana

Urban Agriculture in Cuba: Parts One and Two

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organoOrganoponicos. Image by Alice Claydon.

Growing more food in cities improves biodiversity, air pollution, green space, public health, food literacy, community engagement, employment prospects and urban regeneration.

By Alice Claydon
Landscape Institute
Mar 6, 2015
Alice Claydon is one of three Student Travel Award 2014 recipients. She recently visited Cuba to investigate urban agriculture.

Excerpt:

During my trip I discovered some of the secrets to the success of Cuba’s urban agricultural movement:

1. State support: Over forty government departments are dedicated to every aspect of low carbon organic food production providing support, training and research. Learning how to grow food is entrenched in education from nursery school upwards. Schools, hospitals and elderly care homes all have organic gardens which teach people how to grow and prepare healthy food. Widespread political propaganda also re-enforces the message that self sufficiency contributes to national security.

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March 27, 2015   Comments Off on Urban Agriculture in Cuba: Parts One and Two

Havana, Cuba – Lettuces of Lead

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The lack of an effective system of trash sorting and processing works against us, because much of the waste used for compost in the urban organic gardens has had previous contact with materials like cans, paints, and batteries, thrown indiscriminately into landfills all over the country.

By Rosa Lopez
Havana
1 March 2015

Excerpt:

Nationwide, about 40,000 people work in urban agriculture projects on some 83,000 acres (130 square miles) that are divided into 145,000 parcels, 385,000 patios*, 6,400 intensive gardens and 4,000 urban organic gardens. These last under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture, although with some autonomy for crop management.

With these lands planted in populated areas, it has been the goal to reduce food insecurity, offer greater access to fresh produce and to expand green spaces in urban zones.

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March 11, 2015   Comments Off on Havana, Cuba – Lettuces of Lead

Minneapolis picks up urban agriculture tips from Cuba

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Members of a Twin Cities delegation visit a Havana co-op that specializes in compost using worms. Photo courtesy of Ben Somogyi.

Minneapolis is rolling out a new compost program for residents this year.

By Erin Golden
Star Tribune
January 26, 2015

Excerpt:

Two Minneapolis City Council aides were part of a Twin Cities group that recently spent more than a a week in Cuba, visiting co-ops and compost sites and picking up information on urban agriculture.

Robin Garwood, a policy aide for Council Member Cam Gordon and Ben Somogyi, policy aide for Council Member Lisa Bender, said the trip offered a chance to get a new perspective on agriculture efforts championed by both council members. The two joined 10 other people, several of them with Stone’s Throw Urban farm, on the “food sovereignty” trip organized by think tank Food First.

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February 5, 2015   Comments Off on Minneapolis picks up urban agriculture tips from Cuba

What we can learn from Cuba’s agroecology

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cuba sitThis Cuban hydroponics farm uses specialized irrigation methods to grow vegetables in smaller, non rural areas. Photo: Javier Galeano.

How this island nation feeds its people is a success story worth considering.

By William G. Moseley
Star Tribune
December 21, 2014
William G. Moseley is professor and chair of geography at Macalester College in St. Paul. His latest book is “An Introduction to Human-Environment Geography: Local Dynamics and Global Processes.”

Excerpt:

Unlike modern American agriculture — long characterized by its energy-intensive approach that involves mechanization, hybrid seeds, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides — Cuban scientists needed to find a way to boost production without increasing fossil-fuel consumption. They did this through the careful study of ecological interactions in farm fields (that is, agroecology). By using plant associations — such as legumes to fix nitrogen for grain crops, the intensive production of compost and the use of biopesticides — Cuban scientists demonstrated that agroecology was as or more effective at increasing crop production than conventional methods.

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January 6, 2015   Comments Off on What we can learn from Cuba’s agroecology

Cuba’s Urban Gardens: health risks stemming from urban or semi-urban agriculture

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The notorious case of Cuba’s largest dumpsite, located on 100 St, in Havana’s neighborhood of Marianao, is illustrative of this. Its residues have affected nearly all surrounding crops, both at urban vegetable gardens and traditional croplands.

By Isbel Diaz Torres
Havana Times
Oct 14, 2014
(Must read. Mike)

Excerpt:

Under these types of conditions, as in those in which crops are close to highways, contamination through the absorption of heavy metals found in soils, air or water, is a dangerous risk.

Only the community’s real involvement in the handling of such spaces could guarantee the efficient protection of crops against the many contaminating agents out there. Cuba, however, has merely created more State establishments, akin to rationed product points, where vegetables are simply sold, and, to top things off, in a manner subordinate to the inefficient Ministry of Agriculture.

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October 24, 2014   Comments Off on Cuba’s Urban Gardens: health risks stemming from urban or semi-urban agriculture

Student Travel Award – Alice Claydon will head to Cuba to study urban agriculture

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The 28-year-old is currently completing a postgraduate diploma in Landscape Architecture at Birmingham City University

Landscape Institute
Sept 12, 2014

Excerpt:

Why is urban agriculture so important?

“I’m looking at it from the perspective of increasing urbanisation being quite an important factor that landscape architects have to consider in their designs in the future. Since 2010, for the first time in human history, more people around the world now live in a city rather than in the countryside. By 2050, this proportion will rise to 7 out of every 10 people, or the equivalent of 6.7 billion people, living in an urban environment. The highly imperative and pressing issue of how to sustainably support these growing urban populations is already being considered and explored by landscape architects around the world.

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October 16, 2014   Comments Off on Student Travel Award – Alice Claydon will head to Cuba to study urban agriculture