Saturday, April 02, 2011

havanna's urban agriculture

I just finished listening to a podcast on cuba's agriculture and what captured my attention in particular was hearing that there are 20,000 small gardens in the large city of Havanna. 200,000 people now support themselves by growing food within Havanna alone.

People have taken over all open space areas possible and turned even small areas into "immensely productive" gardens.

I feel so validated hearing this. Ever since the gardening urge came on strong, I've been gardening in containers under restrictive conditions. I look longingly at any patch of unused or under-used land and think of what vegetables and fruits could be grown there. Anything from highway medians to well mulched islands in bank parking lots could turn to lush food production or at the least blooms for birds and bees.

The speaker suggests moving "away from grain dominated staples towards tuber dominated staples" in order to produce more food within urban environments. This reminds me of the fingerling potato I planted indoors last fall that grew vigorously in search of light, until the cats ate its shoots. I shall have to try some potatoes again this year.

"Small scale intensive owner operated enterprises far outproduce corporate farms, government farms, and the smaller the operation, the more productive it tends to be."

Well, I'm really small scale but I'm heartened to hear that I don't need to own a farm to grow food for myself and others.

Here is the link to the podcast from Sustainable World Radio.