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Low-carbon food supply: The ecological geography of Cuban urban agriculture and agroecological theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)771–784
Number of pages14
JournalAGRICULTURE AND HUMAN VALUES
Volume33
Issue number4
Early online date13 Oct 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016

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Abstract

Urban agriculture in Cuba is often promoted as an example of how agroecological farming can overcome the need for oil-derived inputs in food production. This article examines the geographical implications of Cuba’s low-carbon urban farming based on fieldwork in five organopónicos in Pinar del Río. The article charts how energy flows, biophysical relations, and socially mediated ecological processes are spatially organised to enable large-scale urban agricultural production. To explain this production system, the literature on Cuban agroecology postulates a model of two distinct modes: agroecology versus industrial agriculture. Yet this distinction inadequately explains Cuba’s urban agriculture: production in the organopónicos rather sits across categories, at once involving agroecological, organic-industrial, and petro-industrial features. To resolve this contradiction, a more nuanced framework is developed that conceptualises production systems by means of their geographical configuration. This provides analytical clarity—and a political strategy for a low-carbon, degrowth agenda.

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