Join OGS for a Tour of Cuba’s Sustainable Farms
Learn from farmers and food activists about Cuba’s transition to agroecological farming practices and its national policies that prioritize sustainable farming and hunger remediation.
Connect with farmers, consumers, activists, NGOs, policymakers, and experts working to transform the global food system.
Acquire the knowledge and strategies to create just, sustainable, local, and healthy food systems in your own communities.
**For more information about COVID-19 precautions, please visit our FAQ page**
Agroecology = Agriculture + Ecology
Agroecology is the study of ecological systems as they apply to agriculture. It is a science, a movement, and a practice. At OGS, we like to think of the farm as a system and observe nature as the ideal model of sustainable production.
Agroecological practices strive to incorporate all elements of an agricultural ecosystem—water, nutrients, soil, plants, and animals—to maximize production and minimize impact. Agroecological methods include the following:
- Silvopasture = animals in the woods
- Agroforestry = forest farming
- Permaculture = systems designed to be sustainable and self-sufficient
Of course, each of these methods has been practiced on every continent since humans have existed, though they are only recently being named and defined by the modern sustainable agriculture community.
During this trip, you will participate in and observe how the Cuban agricultural community has embraced agroecology in all of its forms and learn why Cuba is considered one of the leading global experts in agroecological methods.
The Union of Concerned Scientists provides a succinct and informative overview of Agroecology in “The ABCD’s of Agroecology: What Is It All About?”.
I have a picture of Che posted in my kitchen to remind me to aspire to be brave, persistent, compassionate and adventurous. I will do all I can to learn more about Cuba and the Cuban people's struggles—past and present. Cuba is in a unique position as the only country in the world that has gone so far into organic farming/gardening. We should all treasure that ... Every organic grower, given the opportunity to meet the Cuban growers, would be inspired and strengthened.
Fundraising for Organic Education
The Cuba Agroecology Tour is a fundraiser for Organic Growers School, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that’s been providing organic education in the Southern Appalachians for 25 years. Our program costs don’t cover our operating expenses, and it’s through community support that we’ve been able to sustain our educational programming for a quarter century. By participating in the Cuba Agroecology Tour, you are helping fund our programming and fulfill our mission: to educate, inspire, and support our community to farm, garden, and live sustainably.
Included: Sightseeing and technical visits, accommodations, transportation, meals. Professional tour manager with agricultural experience.
Below is a sample itinerary. You’ll receive your full, detailed itinerary for your trip at least one month in advance. In the meantime, view our 2020 itinerary (PDF).
Day 1: Arrival, Welcome Dinner
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm — Check-in to casas Particulares.Reservation details and locations will be sent a month before departure.
4:00 pm – 6:30 pm — Welcome Address & Trip Goals. Introduction to Organic Growers School, Altruvistas.
7:00 pm — Welcome dinner.
Day 2: Orientation, History of Cuban Agriculture
10:30 am – 12:00 pm— The History of Cuban Agriculture
1:00 pm — Lunch at Hemingway’s Bodequita de Medio
2:30 pm – 6:00 pm — Havana: History Food & Architecture (walking tour)
Day 3: Models of Modern Agriculture in Havana
12:00 pm — Lunch TBD
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm — Briefing with Juan José León, from the Ministry of Agriculture.
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm — Optional Salsa Dancing Lession!
Evening — Dinner and evening free to explore local venues for dinner.
Day 4: Vinales Valley, The Cooperative Systems in Cuba, La Palma Farm Visit
8:00 a.m. — Breakfast and check out of casas. Drive to Vinales Valley.
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. — Exchange with Bertico, President of ¨Republica de Chile¨ Cooperative.
1:00 p.m. — Lunch at the farm.
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. — Visit a local innovative agriculture Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) project.
Evening — Check-in to your casas particulares in Viñales, free time for dinner and cultural activities.
Day 5: Walking Tour, Free Time in Vinales Valley, Food Sovereignty Discussion
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. — Exchange with Wilfredo and family about their farm and restaurant.
1:00 p.m. — Lunch at the farm.
Afternoon — Free time for local ecotourism activities.
7:30 p.m. — Dinner together with Mid-Tour Check-in and Food Soverignty Discussion.
Day 6: Piinar Del Rio, ANAP Farm Visit, Las Terazzas, Return to Havana
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. — Lunch at the Vegetarian Restaurant El Romero.
2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. — Visit Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve, Community, and Eco-Station, discussion with Fidel (owner and operator of El Romero) and walking tour of his organponico.
Evening — Return to Havana and check in to casas. Dinner and cultural activities on your own.
Day 7: Finca Marta in Artemisa, Service Project, Cuban Economy, Cooperatives & Politics
12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. — Lunch at the farm.
2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. — Continue our exchange — time for service at Finca Marta and exchange with Fernandito Funes.
4:00 p.m. — Depart Artemisa back to Havana and check into your casas.
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. — Dinner with a presentation by guest Rafael Betancourt – Overview of the Cuban Economy, Cooperatives and Politics.
Day 8: Exploration of Havana, Current Issues facing Cuba, Service Project, Farewell Dinner
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. — Visit and wrap up with the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Humanity (FANJ). Dialogue and exchange with staff about important issues facing Cuba today. Learn about environmental education, science, urban agriculture and food security in Cuba (requested speaker Roberto Perez).
1:00 p.m. — Lunch TBD.
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. — Service project with Yocial and Roberto at FANJ. Details TBD.
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. — Debrief discussion with group and exploring Havana on your own.
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. — Farewell dinner — location TBD.
Day 9: Check Out, Departure
What Does the Trip Cost?
The cost for the tour is $2,950. A non-refundable $550 deposit, paid by credit card or check, is required to secure your place on the trip. Payments for the remaining $2,400 can be made in full or installments. Payments are due in full at least 6 weeks prior to the trip.
We offer a limited number of partial scholarships for up to $2,400 (75% of trip cost) to applicants based the prioritizes outlined below. Please note we are currently accepting scholarship applications for the November 2021 & January 2022 Tours. Special consideration will be given to the following:
- The type of work the applicant plans to do upon their return from the trip. Farmers will be prioritized.
- Applicant’s level of community involvement and engagement in work related to social justice and sustainable agriculture in Southern Appalachia. People of Color, LGBTQAI+ and other socially disadvantaged individuals will be prioritized.
- Financial limitations of international travel. Low wealth individuals will be prioritized.
Interested in a future trip to Cuba?
For more information on this program, please contact Avi Li, Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org