By Brooklyn Reader

December 12, 2013, 3:01 pm

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From Cuba with Love:

I have the great privilege of writing this first post on food justice in the great, revolutionary Island Nation of Cuba. My second time in Cuba, I am more inspired than ever by the ingenuity, political sophistication and human rights lessons from this island, supplying free housing, food, education, and medical care to all of its people with very limited resources due to the US imposed economic blockade against Cuba.  

There is so much to learn from this island.  How do you feed, house and care for all of your people, despite a huge economic embargo attempting to choke your economy? How can people learn to be resilient, self-sufficient, defy the odds and feed everyone with very limited resources?  

We in the U.S. and in many communities in New York, particularly in Brooklyn, can relate to the Cuban people, as there is so much to learn and do— What can we do to feed, house and care for all Brooklynites with the plentiful (or very limited, in some cases) resources we have?   

The food here in Cuba is far from perfect, unfortunately. A diet full of starchy food, including white rice stripped of its nutrients, a surprising amount of meat and a stark lack of green leafy vegetables and fruit offered with their meals, in addition to the difficulties of finding food from local farmers, particularly in urban areas, all speak to the work needed around food and sustainability in Cuba.  

But all of those issues should sound very familiar to those of us living in areas lacking an abundance of healthful options and strong, resilient food systems. 

Permaculture Garden Cuba Food Sustainability

Permaculture Garden in Cuba

Interestingly enough, I am writing this at an international conference on permaculture (sustainable agriculture) right after working with activists to coordinate a dynamic (third annual) national gathering of Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners (BUGS) Conference at Boys and Girls High in Bed-Stuy. 

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