, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 131-140

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

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Abstract

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.