Organoponico Vivero Alamar (OVA) is an urban farm surrounded by Soviet block-style high rises, which are visible from many areas of the property. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
A young girl looks on as farm workers sell fresh, organic vegetables to shoppers from the community. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
Organoponico Vivero Alamar grows dozens of different types of fruits, vegetables and other plants. Each worker has a specific job that stays consistent from work day to work day. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
Bulls are raised for slaughter on the farm and the meat is sold to tourists. Cubans, even those who work on the farm and earn higher salaries, typically can’t afford the high cost of meat. This worker’s job is to make food for the bulls. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
Tractors and other farm machines are infrequent sights at OVA. Whenever possible, the farm uses natural and organic forms of energy, fertilizers and pesticides. Here a worker drives through a field of alternating crops. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
Lettuce is one of the farm’s winter crops and is sold at its own market and to buyers in Havana. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
Workers harvest lettuce and sell it fresh in a market just outside the gates of OVA. Tourists who pay to visit the farm are treated to huge, hearty buffets with leafy salads grown on the fields. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
Norma Romero Castillo, a vegetable health engineer for OVA, has been an employee for 14 of its 15 years. Her seniority allows her to reap the benefits of five shares of the farm’s profits. New workers earn one share. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
On the outskirts of Havana, sustainable and organic farming practices have made OVA a model of cooperative urban agriculture in Cuba, a country where food and money can be scarce. Workers at OVA can earn far more than on a government salary, own part of the farm, benefit from its profits, and receive services like haircuts and meals, all free of charge. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
The insides of tomatoes sit in covered racks where the warm Cuban sun dries them for use in cooking and spices. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
OVA uses recycled, sanitized bottles to package their products for sale, like tomato paste and spices. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
A glass of cane juice at the market. The cane is cut from the back acres of the farm, then washed, sent through a machine, and compressed to squeeze out the sweet juice inside. Local residents can purchase it for about 4 cents (US). Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
An OVA worker overlooks the sprinkler system in the early morning. Here, herbs and green onions grow side by side to naturally repel insects that become confused by the conflicting scents. Image by Kassondra Cloos. Cuba, 2013.
Marigolds, a natural pesticide, border the rows of crops to protect them from bugs and insects. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
The time cards for each OVA employee line the wall of one of the open-air structures. They have shorter workdays than government employees in addition to having higher salaries. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
OVA workers cut fresh mint from the raised beds. At the farm, mint is grown and sold in both fresh and dried form. Mint is a key ingredient in the mojito, the de facto national drink of Cuba. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
An old-fashioned tractor makes its way among the raised beds of the farm. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
A tour group visits the farm. Every month dozens of groups from around the world tour the farm's operations and often eat a delicious meal of farm-grown goods. Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.
A sign stands at the entrance to the farm where people can come to buy “plantas para la casa” or house plants. The sign reads, “Pleased? Come again soon. Thanks." Image by Rachel Southmayd. Cuba, 2013.

On the outskirts of Havana, sustainable and organic farming practices have made Organoponico Vivero Alamar (OVA) a model of cooperative urban agriculture in Cuba, a country where food and money are often scarce. Workers at OVA can earn far more than on a government salary, own part of the farm, benefit from its profits, and receive services like haircuts and meals, all free of charge.

Project

Farm workers at Organoponico Vivero Alamar, an organic, sustainable farm in Cuba can earn more than government employees. This project explores what other countries can learn from Cuba's model.

Recently

October 1, 2013 /
Kassondra Cloos, Rachel Southmayd
An organic urban farm in Havana may contain answers to the global hunger problem.
April 11, 2013 / Untold Stories
Kassondra Cloos, Rachel Southmayd
The community-based Organoponico Vivero Alamar farm appeals to its workers and promotes sustainability—it also attracts visitors and students of organic agriculture.