Cuba’s Organic Farming Revolution
Cuba is now debunking the negative food reputation they have. It has been said that their food is bland and has always deterred foodies from traveling to Cuba.
In a small and colorful town, Viñales, farm to table meals are served in the freshest and purest form possible. Everything on your plate, that silky eggplant, those hand cut sweet potato chips, heirloom tomatoes, and perfect hued green were all grown by the very same family that made the meal, just a few steps away in the fertile fields.
Every single piece of produce is organic and fresh, since pesticides are very rare in Cuba, making the country of one of the top places for organic farming techniques. However since food scarcity has been a large part of the country’s history, this agricultural revolution is a rather new development.
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Cuba suffered serious economic losses, with it’s prosperous sugar plantation shattered. This also led to food shortages country-wide. People lived off of sugar water and lost twelve pounds each, on average. Some people resorted to killing family pets.
The Soviets, up until then, had also supplied them with the needed chemicals for farming. But now that these materials are unavailable, the island went green unintentionally. Organically grown crops were harvested by hand and fields were tilled with animal-drawn carts. Community farms were created on rooftops and in gardens, and Cuba began to revive itself.
Other countries started to send schools to to Cuba to learn from their practices and it eventually became illegal to use pesticides in Cuba.
It’s not uncommon for tourists to complain about the food in Cuba, but they’ve most likely gone to the more commercial, government run establishments. There’s now the Ranchon La Margarita that allows visitors to hear the birds sing, and to see the veggie patches.
When it became legal for American’s to travel in Cuba for the first time, many Cubans quickly opened their own private restaurants and homestays.