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 the urban farm 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 the course of 2021, the community will use a 360-degrees camera to document the farm’s annual cycle of planting (May-June), cultivating (July-August), and harvesting (September-December).  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 applicant 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 Prof. 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

Research partners

Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation, Havana

SUSTAIN: The Australian Food Network

Cultural Association of Cuban Heritage and Roots

Project Team

Prof. Adrian Hearn

Dr. Chris Williams (Faculty of Science)


Adrian Hearn