Cuba Relies on Urban Gardens to Feed Hungry Populace

cuban farmer image
Planet Ark/Reuters has a nice piece out of Havana about how urban gardens are filling a key void in food production after three hurricanes wiped out 30 percent of the country's farm crops. In Cuba, urban gardens have proliferated in vacant lots, alongside parking lots, in the suburbs and on city rooftops, taking up some 35,000 hectares (86,000 acres). Most gardens sell their produce directly to the community and, because the economic embargo restricts agricultural input imports, grow their crops organically.

"Urban agriculture is going to play a key role in guaranteeing the feeding of the people much more quickly than the traditional farms," Richard Haep, Cuba coordinator for German aid group Welthungerhilfe, which has supported urban garden projects since 1994, told Planet Ark.Some 15 percent of the world's food is grown in urban areas, according to the US Department of Agriculture. That number is expected to risk as food prices rise, urban populations grow and environmental concerns compound.

One cooperative garden in Havana called Alamar produces more than 240 tons of vegetables annually on its 11 hectares (27 acres) of land. : Via Planet Ark/Reuters

Photo credit: Enrique De La Osa/ Files

More on Cuba:
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Cuba's Organic Revolution
How We Will Eat Come the Revolution: The Cuba Diet
Cuba's Environment Threatened as Embargo's End Looms
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