Dachas

a namelss photographer from Belarus. Dachas in Minsk - small cottages in the countryside where city dwellers come to party and grow their food

Back to Cuba.  Before 1989 57% of Cuba's daily caloric intake was imported and using gardens to grow food was seen to be a sign of poverty and underdevelopment.  The response of the government was to launch the urban agriculture movement as a contribution to food security.  Out of necessity, gardening was no longer just for the poor, but has been integrated into daily urban life.
 
Other kinds of informal food production include the dacha on the outskirts of Russian cities.  Originally summer houses for the wealthy, they were nationalised after the revolution and after WWII gardens were started on unused land by squatters.  Squatters' rights led to the formalisation of gardeners' partnerships – permanent use of the land for agriculture, access to power and water and the right to build a small house on the now-leased land.  There were also plots allocated to mixed gardening at the edges of the fields of collective farms.  
Since 1989 most dachas have been privatised, the house, cabin, cottage more important than the garden function.  However, Russian agri-business, like all industrial farming, uses pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilisers, etc., and the chance to grow one's own fruit and vegetables is both part of the dacha tradition and an opportunity to grow clean food. However, much of the land around European cities has toxic and historic levels of metals in the topsoil, so the cleanliness of the dacha crops, depending where they are located, is only relative. 
For the wealthy the dacha is their country estate, for the modest it is their allotment garden, for the poor it is affordable food, if they have access to a bit of land.

I wonder if one could calibrate the eagerness to engage in permaculture, transitional food production or urban agriculture depends first of all on the level of threat to food security, and secondly on the particular social attitudes to farming in each society.  New wealth is notorious for trying to put a great distance between it and anything to do with labour.  Stable wealth realises that it is dependent on labour, somewhere, and perhaps does not feel that holding a shovel or a rake indicates a loss of status.  The transition town movement in Britain is huge, for example. 

No matter where one lives there is always a segment of the population which carves out an alternative life of growing food, keeping chickens, knitting and sewing and making their own houses, and heaven knows, Vancouver Island, the Kootenays and the Gulf Islands are epicentral alternative societies.  Where it starts to matter is when local food production is shot through all levels of society from top to bottom, from the homeless to the CEOs; from itinerant peasant to oligarch; from old to young; from urbanite to rural farmer; from hippie to hummer driver.

Then, and only then, will Kyoto and Copenhagen strategies start to work.