Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cuba's agricultural revolution an example to the world

Cuba's agricultural revolution an example to the world:

Laura Enriquez, a sociologist at the University of California-Berkeley, who has written extensively on the subject of Latin American agriculture, said: 'What happened in Cuba was remarkable. It was remarkable that they decided to prioritize food production. Other countries in the region took the neo-liberal option and exported 'what they were good at' and imported food. The Cubans went for food security and part of that was prioritizing small farmers.'

Cuba is filled with more than 7,000 urban allotments, or organoponicos, which fill perhaps as many as 81,000 acres. They have been established on tiny plots of land in the center of tower-block estates or between the crumbling colonial homes that fill Havana. One afternoon I visited a small garden of tomatoes and spinach that had been dug just a few hundred yards from the Plaza de la Revolution, a vast concrete square where Castro and his senior regime members annually oversee Cuba's May Day parade. More than 200 gardens in Havana supply its citizens with more than 90 percent of their fruit and vegetables.

But could Cuba's labor-intensive example be repeated without the availability of large numbers of enforced workers?

"I don't know. I think it is true that it has required much labor," Pretty said. "The thing is that it has also produced a lot of food. ... People are also closer to their food production. (In the West) we are worried that we don't know about where our food comes from. In Havana, people are closer to their food production and that may also have psychological benefits."

Labor would be a simple problem to solve -- people watch a little less of the idiot box, got off their duffs, and spent some time outside. That labor would likely go a ways in improving our god awful health problems.

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