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Organoponics is a growing technique developed in Cuba, through adapting Soviet hydroponic systems to locally available materials. This happened during Cuba's Special Period, a time following the loss of financial and material support from the USSR, when global trade sanctions led by the USA were also increased.


Fossil fuels and synthetic fertiliser products were in extremely short supply. Large scale wormeries were developed to help cycle food and plant wastes, and these produce a liquid waste which was added to the irrigation water. Sterile growing media like rock wool and zeolite were no longer available so free draining low nutrient soils were used as substrate instead.

Wider system

Cuban urban agriculture was reorganised into 4 types. Growing to feed those gardening, including at many work places. Growing with some produce for sale. Growing primarily for sale, a market garden, and these were called Organoponicos after the style of the former high production sites called Hydroponicos. The fourth and largest type includes animal husbandry.

Organoponicos and Cuban urban agriculture have been widely praised as a model for other countries, and their role in making Cuba one of the only net carbon dioxide absorbers rather than emitters in the industrialised world. However cash crops like sugar and soya are still grown with high chemical and mechanical inputs, and most grains and pulses are imported.