ALC in Cuba

ALC Research and Outreach Coordinator, Martha Caswell, joined a delegation of Vermonters who attended the 4th International Conference on Agroecology hosted by the Cuban National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) and Via Campesina. Colleagues from the Vermont Carribean Institute (VCI), the Intervale CenterUVM Catamount Farm, the Vermont Community Garden Network and Farm to Plate comprised a group looking at potential ways that peri-/urban farmers in Vermont might learn from Cubans.

Photos by Abby Portman, Community Relations Coordinator, Intervale Center

This event was held on the 20th anniversary of the arrival of ‘Campesino a Campesino’ in Cuba, and explored themes including:

  • Inclusion of women and youth in agroecology systems and food sovereignty.
  • Family farming in rural and indigenous areas, and its role in food sovereignty and rural development.
  • Seed production and conservation in agro-ecosystems
  • Agroecology, the environment and climate change
  • The financial, ecological and social sustainability of agroecology farms
  • Agrarian reform, territory and cooperatives
  • Growth and promotion of agroecology

In addition to visits to farms, processing facilities and cultural events that introduced us to Cuban songs, history, dance and food, participants enjoyed learning from each other. The 250 attendees represented 19 countries, and conversations comparing our own challenges and ideas provided a rich complement to all we were learning from our Cuban hosts. We are each looking forward to ways in which we can bring our new connections and observations back to the work we do here in VT.

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