In February 2010 I had the chance to visit Havana with other Food & Society fellows. For three days we visited different examples of Cuba’s urban food gardens. My impressions, which you can read about in the following articles, were mixed.

Our Man in Havana: Sustainable Agriculture Thrives in Cuba

Miguel Salcines Lopez is a farmer of the 21st century. With a stylish jean jacket and rakish cowboy hat adorning his six-foot frame, Miguel looks more like a Cuban John Wayne than a stooped, tired farmer. That’s part of his game: he wants to make agriculture attractive, especially to the younger generation. Read article

The Cuban Agro-Ecological Revolution: A Look Behind the Curtain

After a few shots of freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, we follow Miguel Salcines Lopez into the fields of what is the most stunning urban farm I have ever seen: Vivero Alamar in Havana, Cuba. The produce list is long: guavas, mangos, sugar cane, noni, figs, papaya, grapes, avocadoes, and citrus, not to mention dozens of vegetable and medicinal crops. Read article.

Organic By Necessity

Cuba is not a free country. It’s hard to get around the fact that life is controlled by the state, and with that fact come many problems. There is a sense of collective unhappiness, even despair, which I would attribute to a basic lack of human agency. Economically, Cuba imports 84 percent of its food supply, including most of its meat and nearly all of its grain. That puts Cuba in the same food security category as Haiti, at least in terms of its reliance on foreign soil for nourishment. Read article

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