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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Standard Agricultural Model Shouldn't Be a US Export

Because I don't live in the country, one of the blogs I follow is City Farmer News, which gathers urban farming stories from around the world. City Farmer News always publishes an excerpt from a longer story; sometimes they do well to abbreviate tedious stories, and sometimes they leave a lot of good information out from interesting stories.  One of their recent stories is one of their abbreviated ones that's much more interesting in its original form.

If you'll follow this link you'll find the original story which is about what the US can learn from Cuba about agroecology. Agroecology is pretty much what it sounds like; it's the application of ecological principals to agricultural practices in order to make them sustainable, and Cuba is making it work well and has been for a long time.

My takeaway from the original story is that the United States has been agriculturally really bad for the world.  Instead of learning over the years from countries with active agroecology programs by any other name, we've foisted our version of ecologically and economically expensive agriculture on some of the countries that can least afford it, and the world is no better off for it.  In a lot of places, it's a lot worse off. With the US and Cuba beginning to normalize relations, I can only hope that we follow the author Professor William G. Moseley's advice and choose to learn from the Cubans instead of imposing our questionable agricultural practices and products on them.

Raul, if you're reading this, run away fast as you can.

And if you're an agriculture student, see if you can do a semester down there at their university to see what Cuba knows about agroecology before we've had a chance to screw everything up.

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