COVID-19 and food security -- Cuba understands it better than we do

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Mostly empty shelves of an Atlantic Superstore supermarket of Halifax, Nova Scotia, on March 13, 2020. Image: Indrid__Cold/Flickr

Lois Ross, our agriculture columnist at has been a frequent visitor to Cuba. This year's trip was a little different and somewhat unnerving as she watched the COVID-19 pandemic cross the ocean and start to affect North America. She got home over a month ago, and the situation she was seeing was worrying, though not like it is today. She's home, she's safe ... with some thoughts about the precarious situation we find ourselves in.

While Havana seems like a different world, Lois says there are lessons to be learned from Cuba which we should heed here in Canada. Her most recent column focuses on how the tiny country became self-sufficient in agriculture. rabble radio host and producer Victoria Fenner gave her a call to expand on some of her ideas.

They talked about Cuba, and also how Canada is vulnerable when it comes to self-sufficiency in food production because, well, we're not self-sufficient. The gaps in grocery store shelves that we're seeing now because of the interruption of the food supply chain due to COVID-19 is a warning which we need to pay attention to.

Rounding out the show on our theme of sustainability and urban agriculture is a short documentary done in 2006 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, by Victoria Fenner for Earth Chronicle Productions in Manitoba (now called The Green Planet Monitor). Colombo is a very dense city, full of concrete with a shortage of land. Nonetheless, urban farming was being encouraged and a very young group of people were getting lessons in farming from a very young age. They'd be all grown up by now, but there are still some things to learn from them. 

Read Lois Ross' column "Cuba Is Teaching The World Lessons in Sustainability," published on March 18. 

Image: Indrid__Cold/Flickr

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