Dear Friends and Colleagues,
There is a small group of urban ag enthusiasts here in Chicago who have
partnered with Eco Cuba/Global Exchange for a Sustainable Agriculture trip
in Cuba November 10-18 2012. In order for the trip to go, we need a few
more participants. I have been able to work out a discount for members of
the Chicago delegation (there are a few participants from elsewhere) so if
you are able to go, please connect with me and I will share more
information about registering and getting the discount. To find out more
specifics about the trip, please visit
In the early 1990's, Cuba's agricultural system and food supply were
decimated by the collapse of the Soviet Union (which had supplied the
majority of Cuba's food imports (chemical fertilizers and pesticides, fuel
for transportation, farm animal feed, and almost 60% of Cuba's food. The
U.S. exacerbated the situation by tightening the trade embargo of Cuba.
Cuba's economy fell by 80%. Food and other basic commodities were scarce.
Cuba was forced to begin to practice organic and locally-grown agriculture
on a nationwide scale. There are currently tens of 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 (ACAO) was granted
the International Right Livelihood Award (the Alternative Nobel Prize) for
There are many additional organizations and associations in Cuba,
governmental and nongovernmental, promoting organic and sustainable
agriculture, via permaculture (Antonio Nunez Jimenez Foundation for Nature
and Humanity - FANJ); urban gardens (Cuban Association of Agricultural
Technical and Forestry Workers - ACTAF); and rural organic cooperatives
(Association of Small Farmers - ANAP), in Cuba. We work closely with ALL
of them on our research tours.
Havana now grows well over half its fresh food organically and locally.
Cuba hopes to be self sufficient in the production of most 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 during their high
school years, farming in the countryside.
University graduates in agronomy are handsomely rewarded for contributing
their knowledge of research, technology and administration in rural
settings. This entices educated rural Cubans to return to the countryside
by offering them stimulating and productive employment.
* * * * *
Global Exchange and the Institute for Food and Development Policy
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 film of the same
title. In 2004 - 05 Global Exchange arranged the travel and interviews for
the filmmakers of the award winning film, *The Power of Community: How Cuba
Survived Peak Oil*.
Global Exchange organizes regular delegations of professionals, professors
and practitioners of organic agriculture to Cuba, some of whom have then
developed exchange programs through their communities, universities and businesses.
These relationships and partnerships between U.S. and Cuban agricultural
scientists and farmers have a great potential to flourish once the U.S.
embargo is lifted. (And there is a great deal that we can do in the
We hope you can join us for this exciting journey!