On the outskirts of Havana, Cuba organic farming is thriving. Called Organoponicos we visited Vivero Alamar. The day we visited, it was raining. Rain and farm mean mud. We were given plastic bags for boots,
Zeb the duck on a bag boot
to protect our shoes, the farm, the bus and the restaurant preparing our lunch. Organic farming was begun as a necessity. After the break up of the Soviet Bloc, Cuba lost all economic support and many were in danger of starvation. With no chemicals and no machinery available, organic farms with human labor seemed to be the only choice. Now, this farm is world famous and a leader in demonstrating organic farming.
To conserve time and space, 90% of plants start in greenhouses.
This farm was started by Miguel Salcines and three others in 1997. Beginning with 8,611 square feet Vivero Alamar now encompasses 25 acres.
The farm has only 2 machines and hires 180 employees to do most of the work.
Much work is done by human labor
They were leaders in hiring women and the elderly. The farm pays more than usual state salaries for 7 hours daily, 6 day per week. Because of the higher salary employees are happy to work here. This farm is also teaching people to eat more vegetables, even cauliflower, beets and broccoli.
Vivero Alamar began growing vegetables
but has now added animals, fruits, herbs and medicinal plants. They are also growing Moringua. This Asian plant is reported to have wonderful health benefits. October 24, 2012 Fidel Castro praised moringua for nutritional benefits and encouraged the moringua plant in Cuba. Visit en.cubadebate.cu to read more of Fidel Castro’s opinions.
Our group benefited from a very nice and knowledgeable guide through the farm. We liked her a lot and she wore a Woodstock shirt. They even sell organic tomato paste in sterilized, recycled beer bottles.
Fields are well kept
Well kept raised beds
and Vivero Alamar annually plants 3 million seedlings, harvests 300 tons of vegetables annually and sells to 50,000 customers each year. In addition to our visit, some information comes from www.farmcuba.org a fantastic website developed by 6 students in Elon University’s Interactive Media Master’s program over 3 week in January 2013. If you are interested in this organic farm, I believe that this is a great resource. We also liked www.elonpendulum.com
I, Zeb the duck enjoyed this visit and think all of you would also like to visit this organic farm. It was fun and we all want to learn to eat and live healthier.