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Urban Agriculture In Cuba Essay

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Sustainability and Security with Urban Agriculture in Cuba Many people know Cuba for its cigars and rum, both products made from the two major agricultural products grown on the island, but Cuba has made headlines for something different in the past decade: urban agriculture. Before the Soviet Bloc collapse in 1989, the bloc “accounted for eighty-five percent of Cuba’s trade, and with its collapse, Cuban imports dropped by seventy-five percent…” (Altieri 131). One of the major imports from the Soviet Bloc was Russian oil, which fell by almost fifty percent after the collapse causing Cubans to reassess farming techniques. “Officially called the Special Period in Time of Peace, the ongoing economic crisis has had a devastating impact on…show more content…
Finally, empresas estatales are “large farms run as state enterprises, many with increasing decentralization, autonomy, and degrees of profit sharing with workers” (Warwick). Since urban agriculture began in Cuba, a Spanish speaking country, most of the terms are in Spanish without English translations as the practice is still becoming popular in English speaking countries. Before the Special Period, Cuban agriculture relied heavily on chemical pesticides and fertilizers to tend to the monoculture, mega-farms that only focused heavily exports; however, during the Special Period, farming techniques shifted to a more sustainable and local production. During the Revolution, “…pesticide use increased fourfold. By 1989, [the year of the Soviet Bloc collapse] Cuba’s consumption of herbicides and pesticides was close to 34,000 tons per year, and herbicides were being applied to approximately one-third of the country’s cultivated land” (Gonzalez 708). With this high use of chemical based pest control, Cuba’s agricultural system was vulnerable to any changes in trade relations with the Soviet Bloc. Consequently, when the collapse occurred in 1989, Cuba had to find new ways to control pests, and the solution contained multiple parts. In the 44th Street organoponico, “…sorghum is grown all along the periphery of the garden as a trap for bugs… [along with] companion planting, the practice of planting in bands of different colors to confuse the
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