I enjoyed hearing of agroecology—and as someone who, at one time, worked for “big agribusiness” –it is a welcome sign. I just wonder if it is likely that other farms throughout the Western hemisphere will adapt to Cuba’s example of efficient farming? My recollection of “big agribusiness” is one of monolithic and cumbersome. They were all too ready to blame the farmer for the lack of effective agrichemicals and such.
Thanks for visiting the site and for the insightful comment. It is interesting, and often overlooked, how the farmer ends up getting roped into the questionable world of big agribusiness. It would be interesting to track the progression of a farmer from small-holder poly-culture farmer to large-scale monoculture farmer.
Thanks you very much! I may try your suggestion.
I don’t think it is a matter of adapting to Cuba’s model through choice, I am certain that had Cuba been given the choice, they would have stayed with their original model to keep the status quo (It’s always easier, safer and less scary to stand still!) and like Cuba, I think climactic conditions are going to force a smaller model of food production onto us. Enormous monocropping big business isn’t going to be sustainable for much longer…the cost of producing these crops with the increasing water, real estate, herbicide and pesticide costs and the price of having to purchase seed and the dwindling/diminishing returns are going to take their toll. They are already hitting our farmers here in Australia hard. It’s a very telling state of the economy when a government can subsidise foreign food producers (who just happen to be our major buyers for our exports…coincidence? Me thinks NOT! A pox on you China!) but can leave our own farmers high and dry and fighting with the 2 supermarkets that dominate our Aussie foodscape to simply cut even. When your returns are suddenly break even because the supermarkets want to have a milk and bread war and sell their product for ridiculous prices to get customers into their establishments it most certainly isn’t going to come out of “their” hip pockets and the primary producer is going to have to wear it or get out. If we allow our food producers to go under, we lose our food security. Simple as that. Enter small producers supplying direct to the public (or via smaller local middlemen like farmers markets and health food shops and local cooperatives) and cutting out the supermarkets entirely. Once peak oil hits home and we can no longer afford to pay the prices for imported foodstuffs the market is going to force a turnaround, back to locally produced food. It isn’t all bad folks! More small local producers means more jobs and better quality foodstuff in the end. We just might have to weather some 3D printed out meat analogue first (not if we are vegan we don’t! ). Cheers for another most interesting, informative and vital piece in the jigsaw puzzle that we all need to hear about Spencer
Thank you for a great comment. I, for one, am in agreement. The Cuba most definitely didn’t evolve voluntarily and as you mentioned. They were forced to adapt. One of the first blog posts I wrote for this site in 2008 was about on the emergence and evolution of urban agriculture in Cuba, which I wrote when I was living in Panama City growing fruit trees and edible perennials in urban nurseries and pondering the mis-use (and potential use) of all the vacant lots around the city. However, growing food was the last thing on the minds of most Panamanian city folk; buying a big shiny fancy 4 wheel drive pretty much seemed to be the foremost objective of the masses.
I think it is going to have to come down to forcing people to see the possibilities to be honest. A head in the sand and a “not in my lifetime” attitude coupled with an 80′s born mentality of selfish entitlement appears to be stinting people’s ability to actually think about the global situation. It’s simple really. I failed my Economics class abyssmally (along with my spelling class ) BUT even humble old me can tell you that if you have too many of one thing (humans) trying to utilise too few resources (for the purposes of this example lets just call these “resources” the world…) something’s gotta give! We need to learn to live within our means and that means feeding and nurturing our land and minimising our processed chemical loads that we are dumping in the hope to facilitate profit first and food production second. We need a new economic model forced on us like Cuba had to facilitate the ongoing ability for our world to sustain us. Sad but true!
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