Organoponicos - A Cuban lead Urban Agricultural Revolution
Cut off from cheap petroleum with the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba was left to its own devices. The country relied heavily on support from their Soviet allies. In exchange for sugar cane, Cuba imported nearly 50 percent of their produce, as well as many chemicals and fertilizers needed for commercial food production. After the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba entered what was known as the "Special Period" - a period of extreme financial and political turmoil. The country's capital, Havana, began experiencing a horrible food crisis. The locals were quickly forced to create an alternative solution to food production — what became known as the Organoponicos program. This system of organic urban agriculture consisted of rows of low lying concrete walls filled with organic material and soil. The method quickly took off and became an important source for food and jobs. Today, Cuba has over 7,000 organoponicos. Havana has rebounded from the food crisis of the "Special Period," where 8 percent of the land is used to supply 90 percent of produce to the city's citizens. Other cities should look to Cuba as an example of the potential for sustainable, organic, local food production.