In Havana, urban farming started as a necessity. With the break up of the Soviet Union, Cuba lost 75% of its imports, including oil and its derivatives: fertilizers, agro products. With the Helmut Burns act, Cuba lost 85% of its exports, mainly sugar cane to the US. The lessons learned: Cannot depend on oil for food production, much less if its foreign, and the production must be diverse.
In 1993 people started growing food where they could out of necessity, roofs, terrraces, vacant lots. In 1995 the government realized this was a major force and it was worth channeling it as part of the system. Now, Havana is said to produce up to 60% of its internal production, all within a 5 km radius from the city center.
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