Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan


Although urban agriculture (UA) is a relatively new term and has received an innovative status, it is by no means a new idea. Its roots run deeply throughout history within ancient civilizations. In the east, we know of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which brought nature into the urban landscape and technology, and lesser know are the Chinampas, or floating gardens, of pre-hispanic Mexico City which supplied a large part of the great city’s sustenance. Today, many cities across the world a rediscovering the potential of UA to cope with economic, environmental and food issues. A forerunner in urban agriculture, Havana Cuba has developed truly sustainable methods which directly address a community’s access to organic food. Through the collaboration of scientists and farmers Cuba has revolutionized organic farming and made urban agriculture a viable way of life. Although its socioeconomic situation and history make Cuba a special case, the Cuban contribution to this field deserves mention as its example has potential for the remainder of Latin America. Other Latin American countries have also begun promoting and experimenting with UA. The District Federal (D.F.) Mexico’s largest city, has been struggling to establish the relevance of urban agriculture within its own struggles with poverty, resource shortages and pollution. D.F.’s far reaching edges not only encompass a wealth of microclimates, but also gaping disparity between socioeconomic classes and a plethora of political interests all of which affect its food security, the function of urban agriculture, and the progress of the UA movement. This paper is an explores how urban agriculture is being used to address urban food security within D.F., Mexico and Havana, Cuba and how an urban community can re-establish food sovereignty. The questions addressed are how is has urban agriculture developed within two singular societies: Mexico’s D.F. and Havana, Cuba? and how is urban farming relevant to regaining food sovereignty?


Agricultural and Resource Economics