Community nutrition and education in a Havana urban farm

A new grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is supporting community engagement in Cuba

A woman in a stall, selling fruit
Thousands of farmgate kiosks in Havana and other Cuban cities ensure that communities have access to fresh food

Cuban traditional expertise in plant-based nutrition has been cultivated by Afro-Cuban communities since times of slavery, and since the 1990s this knowledge has been used in Cuba’s official urban agriculture programs. The project engages a community in a disadvantaged suburb of Havana to support medicinal and nutritional plant production. It provides much-needed horticulture equipment like water tanks, a greenhouse, and gardening tools. The project is partnering with the Australian NGO Sustain to create a public online resource about urban farming.

Project aims

The project supports an urban farm in the Havana suburb of San Miguel de Padrón through three activities:

(1) Supply essential gardening equipment such as water tanks, pumps, hose pipes, and a greenhouse.

(2) Collect and share neighbourhood development information. Over course of 2021 and 2022, the community will use a 360-degrees camera to document the farm’s annual cycle of planting, cultivating, and harvesting. In addition to photographs they will video record the reflections of community members about the farm’s purpose and social impact. This material will be shared with the Melbourne-based non-profit organisation Sustain for inclusion in its online newsletters and social media.

(3) Create an online educational resource. The team will compile the information gathered by the community into a 360-degrees virtual tour. This will be achieved with software previously used to create the “Who is Nature?” interactive 360-degree film.

The project builds on Professor Adrian Hearn’s research on Latin American urban food security and sustainability. Its online presentation will use a similar format as the “Who is Nature?” project, describe in Pursuit.


Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Direct Aid Program

DFAT logo

Research partners

Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation, Havana
SUSTAIN: The Australian Food Network
Cultural Association of Cuban Heritage and Roots

Project team

Professor Adrian Hearn, Faculty of Arts
Dr Chris Williams, Faculty of Science


Professor Adrian Hearn