Wednesday, April 21

Necessity is the mother of vegetation in Havana

If you want to know how society might function in event of a serious economic downturn, Cuba is not a bad case study. When the Soviet Union imploded and no longer had the wherewithal to prop up an economy across the world, Cuba was thrust out on their own with very few options for trade with the outside. These dire circumstances have compelled local communities and individuals to devise creative and efficient ways to meet their own needs.

The movement of urban gardens in Havana seems like a natural outgrowth from this. It answers the question of how to help provide food for four million people without abundant oil supplies and transportation infrastructure.

A 2008 BBC segment sings the praises of Havana's urban gardening movement:

Although the basic need to eat certainly inspired these projects, the farmers are quick to point out all of the auxiliary benefits as well: the beautification of the city, a rallying activity for the community, and jobs for locals. The gardens range from green spaces squeezed tightly between walls on an urban lot to suburban small farms in close proximity to homes.


Bruce Wayne said...

Obamas policies have already had this effect on Americans.
I read somewhere that Burpee seeds had record sales last year.

Peter said...

Although the political oppression the Cuban people have felt from the national level continued

and the economic oppression felt from the international level, directed by the United States...

Daniel said...

Yeah, the embargo certainly is a factor in this. I was hesitant to wade too much into Cuban international relations in a post about urban gardens, mostly because I don't really know anything about it. But I guess I did throw out a couple of comments, so your addition is a fair one.

Daniel said...

Second thought .. I just updated the post and removed the clause altogether. It was irrelevant to the point.

Anonymous said...

I've just been reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," a charming book by Barbara Kingsolver about eating locally. There's a interesting sideline about her vacation to Tuscany, where she finds agriculture much more integrated into the cities than in the U.S., in the form of urban gardens as well as small farms right up against the city boundaries. There's a movement called "Eat Your View" that promotes this approach. Nearly everyone with a scrap of land or even a porch to set pots on can grow some of his own food. As Bruce Wayne noted, it's a great way to feel a little less threatened by crazy economic policies. It's also fun and beautiful. If your silly HOA can't tolerate your replacing your useless front lawn with vegetables (they don't have to be in ugly rows, you know), you can probably at least get away with it in the backyard.

-- Texan99