Last week we had a family outing to Permaculture North, a group of which Fifi is a part (if you click through on that link and look carefully, you will see that in the top photo Fifi is there! Back row, third from left, dark blue t-shirt).
We trooped into the council chambers at Ryde Civic Centre, a six story modernist block built in the year of my birth, and watched a fascinating documentary called The Power of Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil. After the collapse of the former Soviet Union and during the early 90s they lost more than 50% of their oil supply virtually overnight, rendering most of their cars obsolete and having massive effects on agriculture and trade. They lost 80% of their export market, imports fell by 80% and Gross Domestic Product by 30%. The average Cuban lost 30 pounds in weight, due to food shortages.
To cut a long story short the place is a permaculturalist's dream— permaculture being a system that emphasizes sustainable organic agriculture at a local level. This is what they've done in Cuba, among many other things.
The most impressive statistic I saw in the film is that the life expectancy of the average Cuban has not gone down, despite the crisis, and remains on a level with the life expectancy of the average US citizen. Their infant mortality rate is actually slightly lower than that of the US.
The girls made it through about 2/3 of the movie before I had to take them outside for pizza!