Cuba’s flourishing urban agriculture comes with a strong dose of government control.
This post originally appeared on Civil Eats.
Many of us in the U.S. sustainable-food movement idolize Cuba’s experience in building a vibrant urban-farming sector. This idealization is due to the lack of information available on the Cuban system, as caused by the travel embargo and media blackout there. Compounding this situation is the vast difference between the Cuban and American political and economic systems.
Cuba’s accomplishments are undeniably astounding, inspiring and a testament to the country’s flexibility and pragmatism: 350,000 new well paying jobs (out of a total workforce of 5 million) created in urban agriculture nationally; 4 million tons of fruits and vegetables produced annually in Havana, up ten-fold in a decade; and a city of 2.2 million people regionally self-sufficient in produce. These accomplishments have been supported by an extensive network of input suppliers, technical assistance providers, researchers, teachers and government agencies.
Yet, Cuban urban agriculture, no matter how inspiring, is largely irrelevant to ... Read more