Wednesday, 5 September 2007

No Synthetic Fertilizers, No Pesticides in Cuban Organic Agriculture.

There is an interesting article by Megan Quinn called 'The Power of Community:How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.' It features on the website of Global Public Media.
I'll just quote a little bit about farming in Cuba, but her article is well worth reading for other aspects of cuban life.

....."Havana, Cuba--At the Organiponico de Alamar, a neighborhood agriculture project, a workers collective runs a large urban farm, a produce market and a restuarant. Hand tools and human labour replace oil-driven machinary. Worm cultivation and composting create productive soil. Drip irrigation conserves water, and the diverse, multi-hued produce provides the community with a rainbow of healthy foods.
In other Havana neighborhoods, lacking enough land for such large projects, residents have installed raised garden beds on parking lots and planted vegetable gardens on their patios and roof tops.
Since the early 1990's an urban agriculture movement has swept through Cuba, putting this capital city of 2.2 million on a path toward sustainability.
A small group of Australians assisted in this grass-roots effort, coming to this Caribbean island nation in 1993 to teach permaculture, a system based on sustainable agriculture which uses far less energy.
This need to bring agriculture into the city began with the fall of the Soviet Union and the loss of more than 50% of Cuba's oil imports, much of its food and a percent of its trade economy.Transportation halted, people went hungry and the average Cuban lost 30 pounds.....
....Cubans are also replacing petroleum-fed machinary with oxen, and their urban agriculture reduces food transportation distances. Today an estimated 50% of Havana's vegetables come from inside the city, while in other Cuban towns and cities urban gardens produce from 80% to more than 100% of what they need......"

Please read the rest of the article, it's interesting.

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