Cuba's Agrifood System in Transition


Collection launched: December 10, 2018

Collection Articles

Cuba's agrifood system in transition, an introduction to the Elementa Special Feature
Margarita Fernandez, Erin Nelson, Kim A. Locke, Galia Figueroa, Fernando Funes-Aguilar

Research Article
New opportunities, new challenges: Harnessing Cuba’s advances in agroecology and sustainable agriculture in the context of changing relations with the United States
Margarita Fernandez, Justine Williams, Galia Figueroa, Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Mario Machado, Luis Vasquez, Nilda Perez, Leidy Casimiro, Graciela Romero, Fernando Funes Aguilar

Practice Bridge
How to make prosperous and sustainable family farming in Cuba a reality
Leidy Casimiro Rodríguez, José Antonio Casimiro González

Policy Bridge
Recent Transformations in Cuban Agricultural Policy and Impacts on Markets and Production
Armando Nova González, Galia Figueroa Alfonso

Guest Editors

Margarita Fernandez, Vermont Caribbean Institute, Cuba-US Agroecology Network, University of Vermont
Erin Nelson,  Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph
Fernando Funes Aguilar, Indio Hatuey Agricultural Experimental Station
Kim Locke, Sustainability Transitions Senior Associate Editor, University of Maryland
Galia Figueroa, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn

Cuba is recognized globally as a leader in sustainability, particularly in its agriculture and food system. Since the early 1990s, when the island was gripped by economic crisis, Cuban scientists and farmers have been advancing agroecology as a strategy for increasing food sovereignty, resilience and wellbeing. This bilingual (English and Spanish) special feature highlights the work of primarily Cuban-based authors, with an introductory “framing” article written by the guest editors describing our goals, scope and process. This first set of papers and five short documentary videos (below) present a nuanced, in-depth examination of agroecological development in Cuba, including important innovations in practices, policies, and the social movements that support them.

Cuba’s agriculture and food system transition is, like the country’s geopolitical reality, ever-evolving, and the present moment is one of especially rapid change, with new political leadership, a proposed new Constitution, and the promise of new dynamics with its U.S. neighbors. In the hopes of documenting some of this change and to stimulate additional knowledge exchange, this special feature is open to new submissions. 

Submission inquiries can be directed to guest editor Margarita Fernandez ( and Sustainability Transitions domain Senior Associate Editor Kim Locke (

Currently accepting submissions

Documentary videos

Research Article
The role of biological control in the sustainability of the Cuban agri-food system
Nilda Pérez-Consuegra, Luis Mirabal, and Luis C. Jiménez

Research Article
Assessing agroecosystem sustainability in Cuba: A new agrobiodiversity index
Ángel Leyva, Abady Lores

Practice Bridge
From technology transfer to innovation-based rural development:
A necessary turn at the Indio Hatuey Experimental Station

Taymer Miranda Tortoló, Hilda Machado Martínez, Antonio Suset Pérez, Luis Lamela López, Katerine Oropesa Casanova, Juan Albero Alfonso Yanes, Marco Antonio García Naranjo, Iraida María Campos Acosta

The potential of silvopastoral systems for cattle production in Cuba
Tania Sánchez-Santana, Onel López-Vigoa, Jesús Manuel Iglesias-Gómez, Luis Lamela-López y Mildrey Soca-Perez

videos directed and produced in cuba by Ernesto Pérez zambrano and coordinated by AMI