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Category — Cuba

Sustainable Urban Agriculture in Cuba

koont

Sinan Koont has spent the last several years researching urban agriculture in Cuba, including field work at many sustainable farms on the island.

By Sinan Koont
University Press of Florida (December 11, 2011)
Sinan Koont is associate professor of economics at Dickinson College.
A volume in the series Contemporary Cuba, edited by John M. Kirk
208 pages

“Pushed by necessity but enabled by its existing social and educational policies, Cuba in the 1990s launched the most extensive program of urban sustainable agriculture in the world. This study is to date the only book-length investigation in either English or Spanish of this important national experiment in transforming the environmental, economic, and social nature of today’s dominant system of producing food.”—Al Campbell, University of Utah

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August 11, 2014   Comments Off

Farming Cuba – Urban Agriculture from the Ground Up

clouse

By 1998 there were more than 8,000 urban farms in Havana producing nearly half of the country’s vegetables.

By Carey Clouse
Princeton Architectural Press
April 29, 2014
Carey Clouse teaches architecture and urbanism at UMass Amherst and is a partner at Crooked Works, a firm addressing the intersection between architecture and sustainability

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, Cuba found itself solely responsible for feeding a nation that had grown dependent on imports and trade subsidies. With fuel, fertilizers, and pesticides disappearing overnight, citizens began growing their own organic produce anywhere they could find space, on rooftops, balconies, vacant lots, and even school playgrounds. By 1998 there were more than 8,000 urban farms in Havana producing nearly half of the country’s vegetables.

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May 6, 2014   Comments Off

Private sector bites into Cuban state food sales

cubareuters

Private food distribution networks take shape
First wholesale market opens in Havana
State share of food sales declines

By Marc Frank
Reuters
March 27, 2013

HAVANA, March 27 (Reuters) – Cubans are building private food distribution networks from the farm through to retail outlets as communist authorities gradually dismantle the state’s monopoly on the purchase and sale of agricultural products.

The country’s first wholesale produce market is up and running on the outskirts of Havana and across the island farmers report they are selling more of their goods directly to customers, ranging from hotels to individual vendors.

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April 6, 2013   Comments Off

Three part documentary about Cuba’s urban agriculture – “Révolution verte urbaine”


Part 3 of 3. See all video here part way down the page.

60 minutes of footage in Spanish with French subtitles

Semences – Les Racines du Nouveau Monde
Agriculture Urbaine, Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba
By Nicolas van Caloen and Juan Pablo Lepore
Collectif Documentaire Semences
Uploaded on Dec 12, 2011
(Must see. Mike)

En 1959 c’est la révolution à Cuba. Les États-Unis, mécontent de ce pied de nez révolutionnaire, décide d’imposer un embargo international contre Cuba qui sera ainsi forcé de se tourner vers l’URSS afin de maintenir ses exportations et importations. En 1989, c’est la chute de l’URSS, Cuba se retrouve dans une situation économique très précaire créant un problème de sécurité alimentaire. Pour solutionner ce problème, Cuba choisit de développer l’agriculture urbaine et écologique. 20 ans plus tard, Cuba est un leader mondial en la matière. Dans ce documentaire, avec l’aide de l’INIFAT (Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en la Agricultura Tropical), nous montrons l’ampleur, la diversité et l’ingéniosité des projets d’agriculture urbaine dans la région de La Habana. Une nouvelle révolution verte est en cours!

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March 18, 2013   Comments Off

Sowing Change: The Making of Havana’s Urban Agriculture

sowing change

“The author takes us inside Havana’s urban agriculture movement showing its linkages with the economic crisis and the societal changes that followed the fall of the Soviet Union.”

By Adriana Premat
Vanderbilt University Press
2012

Excerpt:

Following the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, Cuba found itself struggling to find its place in a new geopolitical context, while dealing with an unprecedented agricultural and food crisis that experts feel foreshadows the future of many countries across the globe. Sowing Change traces the evolution of the officially endorsed urban agriculture movement in the capital city of Havana, considering its political significance for the Cuban government and its import for transnational actors in the field of sustainable development. But the analysis does not stop at official understandings and representations of this movement.

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February 11, 2013   Comments Off

Photo Essay: Urban Agriculture in Cuba

Photo by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky. A homage to the history of Cuban urban agriculture in the home of Oscar Aleman Perez in Havana. In the 1970s and ’80s, Raul Castro, as Defense Minister, encouraged the development of urban agriculture and oversaw experimental organic farming in military facilities. In those days, the organoponicos, as they came to be known, were introduced in preparation for a possible worldwide embargo of Cuba; today they are a training ground and growth area for Raul Castro’s economic reforms that allow for more small business.

Photos by Noah Friedman-Rudovsky

By Noah Friedman-Rudovsky
North American Congress on Latin America
Oct 18 2012

Noah Friedman-Rudovsky is a freelance photojournalist and videographer. He received a Fulbright fellowship for photography of Bolivia’s social movements in 2004. He later spent two years as official photographer of President Evo Morales. Noah is a contributor to The New York Times, and his coverage of Latin America has also appeared in The New Yorker, Der Spiegel, Paris Match, Time Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, among others. He works frequently for NGOs such as Oxfam, UNICEF, Planned Parenthood, and The Carter Center in the region.

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October 20, 2012   Comments Off

Urban agriculture in Havana’s home gardens and small-scale plots

Student does research on the ground in Cuba for her master’s thesis on urban and peri-urban agriculture

By Marion Girard Cisneros
One World
16-10-2012

Excerpt:

My research findings are initially disappointing. Small-scale urban farmers are partially able to decrease the share of the income they spend on food. The sustainability of self-sufficiency depends on farmers’ ability and capacity to cope with structural constraints posed by urban pollution and insufficient access to water and land. In other words, almost in every case, household food production does not confer high levels of food security.

But the crux of the matter is that UPA has a significant potential in securing other households needs, which can be traced to the attitudes of the farmers. On the one hand, high levels of human capital resources available to farmers (agricultural skills, knowledge of the local environment and resourcefulness) results in to higher output levels (be it in fungible or real income) and lesser dependence on external inputs.

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October 19, 2012   2 Comments

Report from Liz Postlethwaite’s trip to Cuba researching Urban Agriculture


Urban Agriculture in Cuba: trip during November/December 2011

By Liz Postlethwaite
38 page ebook report – online
Mar 22, 2012

Excerpt

Planning my Visit – I began planning my trip to Cuba nine months in advance of my departure. I knew that Cuba was a difficult place to communicate with via e-mails, and that I needed a specific visa in order to access any agricultural sites on the island. In order to secure this visa I needed an invitation from a reputable scientist or scientific organization in the country.

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August 22, 2012   Comments Off

Reusing Empty Lots for Agriculture in Havana


Photo by Melissa Garcia Lamarca.

More than 200 gardens in Havana that supply more than 90 percent of residents’ fruit and vegetables

By Melissa Garcia Lamarca.
Polis
Aug 3, 2012

Excerpt:

If you drink a mojito in Havana, there’s a chance that the mint it contains came from the Alamar nursery on the outskirts of the city. The 27-acre Vivero Alamar is one of Cuba’s most successful neighborhood-managed, worker-owned cooperative urban organic farms. It began in 1997 when Miguel Angel Salcines López, a mid-level Ministry of Agriculture agronomist and the co-op’s current president, asked to use a nine-acre plot of abandoned “waste land.”

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August 4, 2012   Comments Off

Havana Urban Agriculture – Infrastructure for Food Gardens


A banana orchard grows where a home once stood, within a dense neighborhood. Photo by Claire Napawan-Seybert.

An interview with Claire Napawan-Seybert, who is a landscape architect, and a professor in the U.C. Davis Department of Environmental Design.

GrowCity
May 3, 2012

Excerpt:

Is there anything specific about the infrastructure of the city that you feel contributes to the success of urban farming? Are there any lessons American cities might learn from a physical planning perspective?

Government support was instrumental for training new farmers, making urban land available, providing equipment and growing materials. Being a communist nation, where the government owns nearly all urban land, makes assessment and leasing of land more facile than in the U.S. Issues [we have here] such as high urban property values, etc. are not issues there, since the buying and selling of property is illegal in Cuba.

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June 25, 2012   Comments Off

New footage from Cuba in Karney Hatch’s “Plant This Movie”

Play movie by clicking arrow in centre of image.
Help finance his movie here.

“Plant This Movie” will highlight the successes of urban farmers around the world.

Excerpt from Cuba blog post:

What is becoming more and more clear is that we in the devoloped world are not living sustainably, and that therefore, inevitably, we will eventually have our own special period. Many people say that going to Cuba is like taking a time machine to the past. In some ways this is true – vintage cars from the 50s are still everywhere. But after my visit, I’m inclined to argue that Cuba is indeed a time machine, but not to the past: instead, it’s a glimpse into a future where we in the developed world are producing more of our food and living more sustainably.

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March 1, 2012   1 Comment

Cuba promotes new urban agriculture crops


Photo by by youporkchop05.

Matanzas (west) will begin to plant the water jicama, a tuber that is a source of food for pigs

Havana, Feb 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuba will begin this year to promote new crops in the environment of urban agriculture program, said researcher Adolfo Rodriguez, head of national group that directs the production management in the Ministry of Industry.

The public official said that among the innovations planned for 2012 include the introduction of the variety of pepper known as Tropical CW-3, suitable for export and tourism industry.

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February 10, 2012   2 Comments

Urban Agriculture in Cuba Exceeds Annual Goal in 2011

Urban agriculture in Cuba produced 1,052,000 tons of vegetables in 2011

By PL
Cuba si.cu
08 January 2012

Urban agriculture in Cuba produced 1,052,000 tons of vegetables in 2011, 105 percent of the plan, which represented about two thousand tons more, an official source told the press.

The executive secretary of the National Group in charge of that movement, Campanioni Nelson, said that for this year they intend to reach one million 55 thousand tons, five thousand more than that scheduled in the preceding year.

At this moment, that area has a high productive potential, consisting of 1,275 hectares of organic gardens, 7, 396 hectares of vegetable gardens 241 hectares ofsemi-protected crops, said the manager.

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January 9, 2012   1 Comment

Canadian visits five different cities and eight different small scale agricultural operations in Cuba


The first “organoponico” or urban market garden I saw was in Santa Clara, in the centre of Cuba. Three people work there and they sell all their produce from a stall in the front of the garden, which occupies a formerly vacant city lot. Photo by David Stott.

Watch Out Folks, Look What’s Coming Down the Street: Reflections on Cuba, the Global Food Situation and Victoria, BC

By David Stott
2011, Victoria, BC
David Stott is a community garden organizer and food security projects coordinator. Prior to working in this field he spent twenty years working in the international development and development education fields.

When most of us think of Cuba we tend to think of sun, sand, great music or Fidel Castro. However, when I spent a month in Cuba in January of this year, I had other ideas in mind. As a local organic farmer turned garden projects organizer for the last 20 years or so, I have a particular personal interest in Cuba and its role in sustainable agriculture, particularly in urban areas. What I learned there, and since I have returned, has caused me to open my eyes not only to food production in Cuba, but also to what is happening elsewhere on the planet and here at home. Where we are at now and where we could be going with global and local food production and availability, something that most Canadians have either taken for granted or left to “the experts”. After all, we’re an advanced country that will always be able to feed itself, right?

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December 21, 2011   2 Comments

FAO Lauds Cuba’s Urban Agriculture Program


Intensive agriculture between Ciego de Avila and Morón. Photo by Cohiba9.

Ministry of Agriculture indicates that more than 384,000 people are currently involved in any kind of urban or suburban agricultural activity in their municipalities.

ACN
web@radiorebelde.icrt.cu
2011.10.19

Havana, Cuba.- The representative in Havana of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Marcio Porto, recently reaffirmed that the urban and suburban agriculture program put into practice by Cuba is an example to other nations.

During the closing of a national meeting about the sector, Porto said Cubans are respected because of their expertise and capacity of making a lot with little resources.

Porto said the initiative has succeeded in having large numbers of people involved due to the increased awareness of need to produce food in areas close to the towns and cities.

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October 20, 2011   3 Comments