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Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in an Era of Oil Scarcity: Lessons from Cuba

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When other nations are forced to rethink their agricultural and food security strategies in light of the post-peak oil debate, they only have one living example to draw from: that of Cuba in the 1990s. Based on the first and - up till now - only systematic and empirical study to come out of Cuba on this topic, this book examines how the nation successfully headed off its o When other nations are forced to rethink their agricultural and food security strategies in light of the post-peak oil debate, they only have one living example to draw from: that of Cuba in the 1990s. Based on the first and - up till now - only systematic and empirical study to come out of Cuba on this topic, this book examines how the nation successfully headed off its own food crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s. The author identifies the policies and practices required for such an achievement under conditions of petroleum-scarcity and in doing so, challenges the mainstream globalized and privatized food systems and food security strategies being driven through in both industrialized and more vulnerable developing regions. Paradoxically, the book dispels the myth that Cuba turned to organic farming nationwide, a myth founded on the success of Cuba's urban organic production systems which visitors to the country are most commonly exposed to. In rural regions, where the author had unique access, industrialized high-input and integrated agriculture is aspired to for the majority of domestic production, despite the ongoing fluctuations in availability of agrochemicals and fuel. By identifying the challenges faced by Cuban institutions and individuals in de-industrializing their food and farming systems, this book provides crucial learning material for the current fledgling attempts at developing energy descent plans and at mainstreaming more organic food systems in industrialized nations. It also informs international policy on sustainable agriculture and food security for less-industrialized countries.


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When other nations are forced to rethink their agricultural and food security strategies in light of the post-peak oil debate, they only have one living example to draw from: that of Cuba in the 1990s. Based on the first and - up till now - only systematic and empirical study to come out of Cuba on this topic, this book examines how the nation successfully headed off its o When other nations are forced to rethink their agricultural and food security strategies in light of the post-peak oil debate, they only have one living example to draw from: that of Cuba in the 1990s. Based on the first and - up till now - only systematic and empirical study to come out of Cuba on this topic, this book examines how the nation successfully headed off its own food crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s. The author identifies the policies and practices required for such an achievement under conditions of petroleum-scarcity and in doing so, challenges the mainstream globalized and privatized food systems and food security strategies being driven through in both industrialized and more vulnerable developing regions. Paradoxically, the book dispels the myth that Cuba turned to organic farming nationwide, a myth founded on the success of Cuba's urban organic production systems which visitors to the country are most commonly exposed to. In rural regions, where the author had unique access, industrialized high-input and integrated agriculture is aspired to for the majority of domestic production, despite the ongoing fluctuations in availability of agrochemicals and fuel. By identifying the challenges faced by Cuban institutions and individuals in de-industrializing their food and farming systems, this book provides crucial learning material for the current fledgling attempts at developing energy descent plans and at mainstreaming more organic food systems in industrialized nations. It also informs international policy on sustainable agriculture and food security for less-industrialized countries.

30 review for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in an Era of Oil Scarcity: Lessons from Cuba

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maria Whittaker

    This book is the bible in reference to the Sustainable Agriculture Movement in Cuba. Dr. Wright exhaustively researched the subject and thoughtfully and honestly reported on it without bias for or against. Her findings were brilliant and honest and reflect the difficulties and complexities of the world in which we live. Their are no simple answers; nothing is black and white. Complexity and difficulty is the nature of life and this subject. Consequently this book is excellent. It raises above pr This book is the bible in reference to the Sustainable Agriculture Movement in Cuba. Dr. Wright exhaustively researched the subject and thoughtfully and honestly reported on it without bias for or against. Her findings were brilliant and honest and reflect the difficulties and complexities of the world in which we live. Their are no simple answers; nothing is black and white. Complexity and difficulty is the nature of life and this subject. Consequently this book is excellent. It raises above pro-Communist or pro-Capitalist propoganda and such simplistic, black and white thinking, way above, to discuss complex reality. Only by so doing will we actually solve our complex human problems. Kudos to Dr. Wright.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sylvester

    So the international embargo forced Cuba to adapt to permaculture. I have no doubt Wright has done extensive research, but the sources were questionable and there is a negligence on the actual effect of not producing enough food to support Cubans.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    When the bottom dropped out on Cuba in the 90s after Soviet collapse, the government had to scramble to adapt to the loss of its big benefactor. In this "Special Period", the easy import of fuel mostly but also agricultural inputs (pesticides, fertilizers) and certain agricultural products got choked off. Author Wright recognizes that Cuba's particular circumstance will likely apply to the planet as a whole when oil runs out and argues that this case study holds many lessons for that eventuality When the bottom dropped out on Cuba in the 90s after Soviet collapse, the government had to scramble to adapt to the loss of its big benefactor. In this "Special Period", the easy import of fuel mostly but also agricultural inputs (pesticides, fertilizers) and certain agricultural products got choked off. Author Wright recognizes that Cuba's particular circumstance will likely apply to the planet as a whole when oil runs out and argues that this case study holds many lessons for that eventuality. Despite the international press celebrating the growth of Cuba's organic and urban farming sector during the Special Period and despite the WWF recognizing Cuba in 2006 as the only country in the world to meet sustainable development criteria (high human welfare paired with a low carbon footprint), Wright details an agriculture sector that had very mixed experiences when it came to sustainability. The state never wholeheartedly supported permiculture, though successes were apparent in certain areas. High agricultural imports continued and farmers were reluctant to let go of industrial methods. The book is extensivly researched, but the reader occasionally gets crushed under a mountain of statistics and government acronymns. It can be difficult to make easy conclusions about Cuba's experience which apparently reflects the reality of the situation. Ultimately, one finds that even necessity may not be enough to change minds and behavior.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  5. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  7. 5 out of 5

    Muhammad Afif

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily King

  9. 4 out of 5

    Siddartha Sikdar

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  11. 5 out of 5

    Eva

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharka

  13. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lyle

  15. 5 out of 5

    William Hurtes

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julia D'Amico

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Silvia Di Blasio

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebeca

  20. 4 out of 5

    January

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  22. 4 out of 5

    Orn-wipa

  23. 5 out of 5

    Axel

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zuhra

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anthrochiq n2 Art

  26. 4 out of 5

    Igrowastreesgrow

  27. 4 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Zvr

  29. 5 out of 5

    Noa Iacob

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charles Warner

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