January 31, 2005

Viva la Revolucion! Friday night I attended a lecture featuring David Suzuki, a leading Canadian environmentalist. In my view his lecture was a bit too general and simplistic for the environmental sophisticated audience. However he tossed out an interesting statistic in the Q&A section in response to organics, food and consumption that piqued my interest. Eighty per cent of food in Cuba is organic. In 1990 with the collapse of trade relations with the Soviet Union, Cuba was at the brink of a national food crisis. Also in place was a 30-year economic embargo by the U.S. With the loss of the of its trading partner came the loss of importing food. In addition, part of this import mix was $80 million annual dollars in pesticides. Cuba was also faced with some of the same problems we face in America including mono cropping and rural-urban migration. In "Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers, Food and the Environment", Peter M. Rosset outlines the case study for sustainable agriculture in Cuba: In response to this crisis the Cuban government launched a national effort to convert the nation's agricultural sector from high input agriculture to low input, self-reliant farming practices on an unprecedented scale. Because of the drastically reduced availability of chemical inputs, the state hurried to replace them with locally produced, and in most cases biological, substitutes. This has meant biopesticides (microbial products) and natural enemies to combat insect pests, resistant plant varieties, crop rotations and microbial antagonists to combat plant pathogens, and...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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