Urban agriculture for food security in Cuba

Michel requested that I pass this link along:


Urban agriculture in Cuba has rapidly become a significant source of fresh produce for the urban and suburban populations. A large number of urban gardens in Havana and other major cities have emerged as a grassroots movement in response to the crisis brought about by the loss of trade, with the collapse of the socialist bloc in 1989. These gardens are helping to stabilize the supply of fresh produce to Cuba’s urban centers. During 1996, Havana’s urban farms provided the city’s urban population with 8,500 tons of agricultural produce, 4 million dozens of flowers, 7.5 million eggs, and 3,650 tons of meat. This system of urban agriculture, composed of about 8,000 gardens nationwide has been developed and managed along agroecological principles, which eliminate the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers, emphasizing diversification, recycling, and the use of local resources. This article explores the systems utilized by Cuba’s urban farmers, and the impact that this movement has had on Cuban food security.

The conditions that brought about Urban Agriculture in Cuba are a prelude to what the rest of the world faces following the collapse of subsidzed global trade, and the collapse of pretroluem supplies.

Even now, setting food security aside, urban food production is a lucrative and extremely low cost way to stimulate economic growth.   Some niches that can be created and filled are distribution systems, entities that can fulfill the role of safety inspection, and people who create and maintain useful knowledge bases about urban and localized food production. Some of those niches could be addressed by peer-based efforts.

Also, open design based automation of local/urban food production shows some real promise.

Specifically, some interesting examples include:


HydroDuino http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1237559923

And Aquaponics systems that also combine wind and solar energy:

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