Our Aquaponic trip to Cuba was an undertaking designed to build a prototype rooftop system that can be easily duplicated using locally sourced materials. Land in cities such as Havana is very limited and not always suitable for growing food. While we faced obstacles in building the Aquaponic systems, through creative and innovative approaches, most all materials were able to be sourced locally. Due to time constraints, we carried with us some supplies from elsewhere (such as water and air pumps). This allowed us to teach our students to search for resources not easily found on the island, without holding up the project.
Cuba is a "closed system", and since they are generally not utilized, many materials are simply not available. A good example of this would be non-reactive river rock, granite, rafts, fish, and bulkhead fittings. We were able to find Tilapia, but had to fish them out of the river with a cast net. We found river rock, but had to dig them out of the river. It's what Aquaponics in developing countries is all about, local resourcing.
The project was a great success and poised to help many in Cuba in their challenge of becoming more self-sufficient when it comes to their food self-sufficiency.