[permaculture] permaculture in Cuba

Rain Tenaqiya raincascadia at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 14 01:22:44 EDT 2004

I was hoping someone with more knowledge about Cuba would respond to this inquiry, but I can share what I know.  Cuba started using biological pest control in the 1930s and had a history of research into organic farming due to one of the original revolutionaries, a friend of Castro's (I can't remember his name, it's on the web) who served in the government for a long time.  While Cuba was busy importing oil from the Soviet Union, this man was trying to find more sustainable ways to grow food and was able to convince the government to fund the research.  By the mid 1980s, Cuba was moving towards Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and when the Soviet Union collapsed, he was able to quickly implement many of the methods he discovered, some of which go far beyond anything practiced in the US (especially around the use of insects).  Cuba is famous today for its organic agriculture, but there were many advances in agroforestry and integrated farms, as well.  Cuba has redistributed land into
 smaller farms and is now producing more food than ever and has organic gardens in the middle of the cities and is working on many other innovations.  As far as permaculture goes, since the early 90s, permaculture has been incorporated into government programs (I think Europeans taught the first courses) and has been supported through government funding.  I don't know how many Cubans have been exposed to permaculture principles and techniques, but the government has been very receptive to it.  Recently, Dave Blume (Santa Cruz, California, farmerdave at permaculture.com ) was working on a vast permaculture training project for Cuba being funded by a large grant.  I don't know what happened with it.  Anyway, I can't think of a better place to help the spread of permaculture, as Cuba has a very educated poplulation (more literate than the US), with more scientists than any other Latin American country, and is in a very good position to implement permaculture, and would be a great example
 to the rest of the world.

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