Community Agriculture in Cuba

As a result of the ongoing US trade embargo, Cuba was largely reliant on imported Soviet oil and food imports during the cold war. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, these imports ceased, pretty much overnight. Without food, fuel for mechanised farming, fertilizers and pesticides, Cuba was forced to reinvent it’s previous large scale collective farming model in order to feed it’s people.

Cuban’s were encouraged to grow food on all available land, both in the countryside, and in the urban areas, and of course without access to fertilizers or pesticides, all cultivation was organic. This explosion of community agriculture were called the organoponicos, and were ultimately successful in feeding Cuba’s population for over a decade, with Havana growing over 90% of it’s own food, until new oil imports became available, mostly from Venezuela.

Cuba’s model of smallscale organic community agriculture has been heralded as a possible model as the world moves to post peak-oil societies. Interestingly, despite predictions, the urban gardens have not disappeared with the greater availability of oil, but continue to thrive.


Photo by Hoyasmeg, via Flickr

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