Wednesday, 27 June 2007


I recently read this in the winter edition of the ABC's Organic Gardener magazine. The lack of discussion of Cuba's experiences cements my belief that 'we' , as a country, are treating this whole earth disaster as someone else's problem. I recommend that you buy a copy of the magazine and read it, especially the article ' All Hands In The Soil' .

In the late 20th century, Cuba embraced industrial agriculture: it had plenty of cheap Soviet supplied oil. Cuban farmers used more chemical fertilisers and pesticides than even the USA. When the Soviet Empire folded in the 1980s, Cuba lost its oil overnight. It took a decade to transform society. Today food is grown organically by necessity, not by choice. Public parks and open spaces have become permaculture community gardens, and domestic gardens grow productive, not just pretty, plants. Cuban organic productivity now equals that of
industrial farming but farmers are now some of their best-paid citizens. So far Cuba is the only industrialised nation to have made it to a post-oil economy.
Australian cities are located on our most fertile, most reliably watered soils - we live in garden cities. Food production at home, in community gardens and community-supported local agriculture adjoining major population centres offers one avenue for food security. With water shortages hitting our major food-growing regions, some of our politicians expect we can import food to make up the shortfall. But experts warn that this may not be possible with global shortages appearing already. What might be needed is for our leaders to insist that neglected farmland in fertile and more water-abundant regions be put to use to grow food and fodder.

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