27 May 2007
In Havana, over 90 per cent of perishable produce is grown within or near the city limits.
It’s been good for the Cuban national diet too, with the incidence of vegetarianism and vegetable-rich diets on the rise, proving that when natural, sustainable food production is part of the fabric of life, people are more inclined to eat well.
It’s still not a perfect system.
As mentioned above, not everyone gets a bite of this bounty and Cuba is still working on extending the green revolution to the most needy in their society.
But Cuba’s experience does show that the conversion from an oil-dependent economy to a post-hydrocarbon one can be achieved, even in the most straitened circumstances.
There are, however, clouds on the horizon.
In 2000, US president Bill Clinton lifted the trade embargo. At least to the extent that Cuba could now buy from the US, though the reverse was not true.
In 2002, despite Cuba being by then self-sufficient in food, the Cuban government purchased $91.9million in food and agricultural products from the US, even though they could have bought most of it cheaper elsewhere.
Their motivation was clearly political; a gesture of goodwill which they hoped would persuade the US to allow Cuba, in time, to trade its goods.
Cuba is a great untapped market for a globalised system that is running out of such things. As such, big firms, notably bio-tech, are salivating at the thought of making inroads into Cuba.
Will this self-sufficient island, a beacon of sustainability in a world of exhausted soils and artificial agricultures, crumble when the air of the world streams in? Or will it prove resistant to the pests and diseases of globalisation?
Only time will tell but, whatever happens, we have in Cuba a roadmap to an organic, local, sustainable future and we may need it for future navigation.
This extract is from a great article in Scottish Socialist Voice, newspaper of the Scottish Socialist Party, sadly going fortnightly after their recent difficulties.
Read More here
Red and Green are healthy in Cuba, perhaps the British left have something to learn from their approach?
Green Cuba Campaign website here!