Cuban Organic Revolution

This week I have learned about so many exciting things that I would like to share with you!   Last night we went to the Telluride Mountain Movie Festival (on tour) at the Natural History Museum.  They are playing more movies tonight and tickets are still available if anyone is interested  All of the movies were awesome.  One in particular focused on the urban organic farming happening in Havana, .  Apparently when the soviets pulled out in the 80’s they took with them the stable food supply coming from Europe.  This left the Cubans with little food and strict government rationing.  The government, which had previously outlawed farming in the city of Havana and free trade, reconsidered this law and allowed people to start farming organically in any open space in Havana (e.g. rooftops, vacant lots, in front of office buildings, courtyards).  The government even gave people plots of land for free if they promised to grow food on it.  The organic piece is pretty important in this equation.  Pesticides and fertilizers are outlawed because in the urban area, these chemicals will leech into the soil and contaminate the groundwater. This whole experiment has proven to be very successful!  The amount of organically grown food produced on the thousands of small farms in this urban area now contributes 50% of the total food needed to support Havana.  is now on the road to go entirely organic and it has become the largest organic model in the world.  Although they may have other problems…This they have certainly figured out!  For more information check out

This week’s vegetarian information talks about the economic issues that surround factory/industrial farming.   This weekend I challenge you all to head to one of the many farmers markets in the area and buy some fresh, locally grown food.  You’ll have the ability to look the farmer in the face and ask where your food is produced!  Besides, it’s fall and what better way to enjoy the cool mornings than to visit a farmers market?

-         In 1996, the agriculture industry received $68.7 billion in subsidies from the government; this is the equivalent of $259 per consumer.


-         Between 1995 and 2002, the government awarded $114 billion in agricultural subsidies. 71% of these subsidies were granted to just 10% of farms, which means large-scale industrial farms received far more money than the smaller operations.


-         In 2000, $500 billion was granted to food exporters and an additional $90 billion was given to companies that advertise food products abroad.


-         3% of farms generate 62% of all agricultural production.


-         91 cents of each dollar spent at traditional food stores goes to suppliers, processors, middlemen, and marketers; only 9 cents of each dollar actually goes to the farmer.


-         In the , a wheat farmer can expect to receive about 6 cents of each dollar spent on bread; this is approximately equal to the cost of the wrapping.


-         Farmers markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.


-         Five food retailers (Kroger, Albertson’s, Wal-Mart, Safeway and Ahold ) account for 42% of all retail food sales in the

Until next week, keep up the good work!  You’re earning your good Karma points (and some of us really need them!

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