During the 1990s, several national economies saw their urban food markets collapse. Like Zambia, Mozambique, and Armenia, Cuba responded to this crisis with a food program that included support to urban agriculture: farming in the city. As a result, food prices are increasing, free markets have been reinstated, production cooperatives have been linked with markets, land has been redistributed, and areas under export crops have been converted to domestic food crops. The Cuban government is now calling upon its cities to become more self-reliant for food – a focus that is dramatically modifying the landscape, lifestyle, and food supply of Havana residents.
This book presents the results of a 3-year research project on the history and state of urban agriculture in Havana, Cuba. A multidisciplinary team of 15 professionals, coordinated by the authors, assess the long-term potential for including urban agriculture in the social economies of two areas of Havana, as well as in city-wide environmental management programs. The results will be of particular interest to municipal, local, and community authorities considering how to convert emergency food-production measures into long-term support for urban agriculture, both for food self-reliance and for environmental enhancement (including park rehabilitation). The book will also be of interest to producers, students, decision-makers, and academics interested in sustainable management of the urban environment.
Maria Caridad Cruz and Roberto Sánchez Medina are with the Fundación Antonio Núñez Jiménez de la Naturaleza y el Hombre in Havana, Cuba. They coordinated and directed the IDRC/CIDA/Oxfam (Canada)-supported research project that resulted in this publication.