With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, Cuba lost its primary source of food imports, while exporting opportunities and its gross domestic product dropped nearly 35%.  The country was forced into a extremely difficult situation, known as the Special Period, with severe shortages forcing fundamental changes in the ways crops were being produced.

During this time Cuba lost approximately 90% of its access to oil, which had a profound affect on agriculture, curtailing the use of heavy machinery and access to chemical fertilizers.  What was born of hardship has become a model that the rest of the world. Today most of the food available in Cuba is produced within a few kilometers of where it is consumed.  And it is mostly organic. 


In Cuba, nearly every community is studded with organop√≥nicos (urban gardens) and huertos intensivos (intensive orchards).  Their methods of cultivation allow high yields with little or no use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  The gardens are raised beds of soil and composted organic matter.  Nearly all the work is done by hand or with animal-powered equipment.  Prior to 1990 these organop√≥nicos were rare and were considered a sign of poverty.  Today they are rightfully a source of community pride.

Urban farming/gardening below - rural agriculture here

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