STORY: Here on this small farm outside Havana, family-run business Bacoretto is producing gluten-free flour from banana, coconut and yucca.Amid a growing food crisis, founder Gabriel Perez says he wants to make use of what is locally available rather than relying on expensive imports.“At the moment, there are bananas across Cuba, there are coconuts across Cuba, not so much rice but there is yucca. And many other things like this. When you start scratching the surface, you find a lot of underused food."Cuba purchases most of the food it consumes from abroad.But revenues have plunged following the pandemic, and the island is still hampered by stiff U.S. sanctions and floundering tourism – once a mainstay of the island economy.Perez also points to a lack of culture around sustainability.Bacoretto not only dries and mills gluten-free, organic flours, but also processes byproducts to make coconut oil, rope, fermented products, and sweets.“First, we only use organic raw materials for our products. These are raw materials that don't use any aggressive chemical insecticide or that could genetically modify the food. Second, whatever we do here must be useful for somebody. In this case, these are flours that don’t have gluten. They are useful for people that live with celiac disease, people with hypertension, people with diabetes in our community.”The business takes advantage of a 2021 decision to lift a ban on private companies on the island – one that’s been in place since shortly after Fidel Castro’s 1959 Communist revolution.Still, Perez has struggled to find the financing it needs in cash-strapped Cuba.Thousands of small businesses that have taken root since 2021 face persistent problems with financing, infrastructure, supply and workforce.Bacoretto is small and specialized, producing around 17 pounds of flour a week along with byproducts with a staff of eight people.This worker at an organic shop in Havana says that the banana and yucca flour are popular with consumers.But for his business to be profitable, Perez says better machinery is needed.