Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 131–140

The greening of the “barrios”: Urban agriculture for food security in Cuba


  • Miguel A. Altieri
    • College of Natural ResourcesUniversity of California
  • Nelso Companioni
    • Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en Agricultura Tropical (INIFAT) in Havana
  • Kristina Cañizares
    • Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy and ManagementUniversity of California
  • Catherine Murphy
    • Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) in Oakland
  • Peter Rosset
    • Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) in Oakland
  • Martin Bourque
    • Institute for Food and Development Policy (Food First) in Oakland
  • Clara I. Nicholls
    • Department of EntomologyUniversity of California

DOI: 10.1023/A:1007545304561

Cite this article as:
Altieri, M.A., Companioni, N., Cañizares, K. et al. Agriculture and Human Values (1999) 16: 131. doi:10.1023/A:1007545304561


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.

Urban agricultureCubaAgroecologySustainable agricultureFood securityBiological

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999