Sustainable Agriculture 2012
Cuba: Sustainable Agriculture and Urban Gardens / Advocates for Urban Agriculture
November 10, 2012 – November 18, 2012

"Cuba is involved in the most comprehensive conversion from chemical to organic agriculture that any nation has yet attempted."
— Peter Rosset, Institute for Food and Development Policy.
 
Cuban Farmer using animal traction with screenhouses (reverse greenhouses to deal with tropical heat) in the background.
 
BACKGROUND:
In the early 1990's, Cuba's agricultural system and food supply were decimated by the tightening of the U.S. embargo and the collapse of the Soviet Union (which had supplied the majority of Cuba's food imports (chemical fertilizers and pesticides, fuel for transportation, feed for farm animals, and almost 60% of Cuba's food). Cubans referred to these years as the Special Period.

Due to the severe shortage of hard currency for the importation of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, Cuba was forced, in the early 1990's to begin to practice organic agriculture on a nationwide scale, with some very exciting results. There are currently thousands of organic gardens in Havana alone and over a million across the country. In the late 1990's, the Cuban Association for Organic Agriculture was granted the International Right Livelihood Award (the Alternative Nobel Prize) for its efforts.

Organic agriculture continues to be supported and expanded at government and grassroots levels. Havana now grows over half its fresh food organically, and locally. According to some agriculturists, Cuba could be self sufficient in the production of many of its basic foods within the next decade.

All Cuban young people are introduced to agriculture and food production as part of their education, spending at least one summer of their high school years, farming in the countryside.

University graduates in agronomy contribute their knowledge of research, technology and administration in both rural and urban agricultural settings. Reversing a disturbing international trend, many educated young Cuban agriculturists return to the countryside because they are now offered a stimulating and productive work environment.

Global Exchange and Food First co-organized the first U.S. delegation to Cuba focused on sustainable agriculture in 1993, then co-authored the seminal book on the subject, The Greening of Cuba and collaborated on an award winning video of the same title. Global Exchange also arranged the travel for the filmmakers of the award-winning, The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, which has now been translated into 14 languages.

Global Exchange Reality Tours arranges the travel for regular delegations of professors and practitioners of organic agriculture to Cuba, who have then developed their own exchange programs through their universities and communities.

Please check out our Resources page for articles, blogs and videos on Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba.

Please contact coordinator Pam Montanaro by email or call 510-649-1052 for more information on this tour.

Program Highlights may include:

  • Scale Model of the city of Havana
  • City Tour of Havana with Cuban Architect/Urban Planner
  • Urban gardens/farmer's markets
  • INIFAT, Institute of Tropical Agriculture
  • Private farms and farm cooperatives
  • State run farm
  • Livestock farm
  • Vermiculture project
  • Pastures and Forages Station
  • Agrarian University
  • Cubasolar, NGO promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency
Fee:  $2,500.00
Fee Includes:
  • RT flight Cancun/Havana/Cancun'
  • Cuban visa and required Cuban health insurance
  • Double room accommodations
  • Two meals per day
  • Conference fee
  • Site visits
  • Translation
  • Transportation (with group)
Fee does NOT include airfare to/from Cancun from your home city, beverages, gratuities, travel insurance, personal expenditures, etc.