Monday, January 31, 2011

Organoponico NEEM – what is Agroecology and the Cuban model

The industrial model of agriculture is in a global crisis. As resources for the production of food are compromised, the vision of ever increasing yields through industrialization of production is challenged. As a result of this crisis, the new model of agriculture, agroecology in the rural sector and urban inner city are gaining favor. The new paradigm views the farm as an eco system, and blends the technical advances of modern science with the time tested and common sense knowledge of traditional farming practices. In reality agriculture as practiced today, especially, is not really sustainable. We disrupt the fabric of the land and the natural order of things to perform it. Urban agroecological approaches must take into consideration the urban environment. Approaches to agroecology in the urban sector are similar yet somewhat different. NEEM takes a Frank Lloyd Wright approach that integrates the farm into the ecological framework so it is not disruptive, but diverse, complimentary and productive with the least amount of environmental impact. As urban agroecology gains increasing favor through grass roots and policy initiatives, the need for trained professionals and technical staff will be increasingly felt. Addressing that need now will create sustainable economies when they are needed most.
Cuba is no different than the rest of the world. However, the need was more urgently felt in Cuba two decades ago due to the fall of the iron curtain and the existing blockade. These created a crisis induced scarcity of external inputs for agriculture. Cuba returned to sustainable agriculture by default and in the process embraced it. The Agroecological approach takes sustainable AG to the next level, one that is self sustaining and ecologically sound, with infrastructure to support it and in harmony with nature.
The impacts of the industrial model are not sustainable; the increased cost is in chemical inputs and is evidenced by the increase in subsidies ten fold. Subsidies are also not sustainable. Urban Agroecology in practice and theory is sustainable at a fraction of the cost with a positive impact on the socio-economic and environmental dynamic.
The Agroecological model in Cuba is no longer theoretical. The essential area of training for transition is in place and practice.  Cuba has taken the step to become the “first sustainable society of the 21st century”.
NEEM replicates this model because we realize that Cuba is years ahead of the curve and because their practices are ecologically sound, as the oldest and most successful agroecological model on the planet. The Cuban model is in keeping with NEEMs natural and non invasive mission. It is a model that works and that is why we follow it and give credit where it is due.
“We weave the farm into the landscape, not the land into a farm.”
Jeff Ensminger
NEEM
           

1 Comments:

Anonymous Linda said...

Well said. Thanks for the valuable info. You have a great insights in your article. I It was a nice read. :D

3:42 PM  

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