Permaculture in Cuba

Lecture by Robyn Francis as part of the Permaculture Around the World series.

When: Saturday, Aug. 8, 2009, 6:30 p.m.

Where: S.B. Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara

Cost: $5

Age limit: All ages

Categories: Lectures


Santa Barbara Permaculture Network continues its Permaculture Around the World series, this time welcoming Robyn Francis from Australia as she speaks about her past and future visits to Cuba where she and other Australian permaculturists have been credited with helping Cuba transform the islands agriculture to a more sustainable model through perrmaculture.

Climate Change and Peak Oil are topics on the minds of many Americans today. There is much to learn from Cuba's response to the sudden loss of cheap and abundant oil in the early 1990's, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the continued U.S. Embargo in place since the 1960's. Cuba's industrial model of agriculture under the Soviets was highly mechanized with monoculture crops reliant on petro-based pesticides and fertilizers. The era in Cuba following the Soviet collapse is known to Cubans as the "Special Period" when it lost more than 50 percent of it oil imports, much of its food, and 85 percent of its trade economy. Transportation halted, people went hungry, and the average Cuban lost 30 pounds.

Dictated by reality, Cubans began to bring agriculture into the city with urban gardens, cultivating vegetables wherever they could. A small group of Australians assisted in this grass-roots effort, coming to Cuba in 1993 to teach Permaculture, a system based on sustainable agriculture that uses far less energy. Today 50% of Havana-s vegetables come from inside the city, while in other Cuban towns and cities, urban gardens produce from 80% to more than 100% of what they need.

More recently Australians have come back to Cuba to assist after two devastating hurricanes wrought massive destruction throughout Cuba in September 2008. T

Robyn Francis and the Cuba-Australia Permaculture Exchange (CAPE) toured the island to access the damage, offer help, and take the opportunity to learn from the disaster to design more resiliant systems for the future.

Robyn Francis has just returned from a visit to Cuba in June 2009 as part of Cuban-Australia Permaculture Exchange (CAPE). and will be reporting on her observation in her talk on One-Earth Footprint - Learning from Cuba's Experience - Discover the key factors enabling Cuba to survive collapse, live within its ecological footprint, and how this relates to Permaculture & Transition design. Don't miss the chance to learn with one of permaculture's earliest pioneers.

Robyn Francis is an award-winning international permaculture pioneer, designer, educator, presenter and innovator, with over 25 years of permaculture work throughout Australia New Zealand, USA, India, Indonesia, Germany, Cuba, and Taiwan, and

The event is presented by Santa Barbara Permaculture Network Non-Profit. and Quailsprings Learning Center and Permaculture Farm For more information,,

Phone: 805-962-2571

Event posted July 21, 2009
Last updated Jan. 11, 2010


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