Urban Farming in Cuba

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Since 2002, Nelson Aguilar keeps in his 136 m2 rooftop a very successful case of permaculture. Known locally as "the rabbit breeder", he is one of many people who have managed to set up a small-scale animal production unit in an urban setting, making use of locally available resources. Rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens constitute the animal component. He also grows condiments such as red pepper, basil, garlic, small onion and oregano, as well as medicinal plants like aloe, linden tree or noni (Morinda citrifolia) and some ornamental plants to make the place attractive and provide shade to the animals. In the winter season, cabbage, tomato and other vegetables are grown. Cages, drinking containers, nesting boxes, and tools were designed and constructed by Nelson using locally available materials. The design of the system allows all residues that are produced to be recycled within the system. In this way, the limited feed resources are used as efficiently as possible. Nelson is extremely ingenious and skilful. He has worked in the past in electronic equipment development, aviculture and music. Now he builds all the equipment required to develop his own home-based production. The net income generated through the system is 1.4 times the average per capita salary in the city. At the same time, the system provides the household with eggs, meat, condiments and medicines, which constitutes a significant monetary saving.