Sustainable Agriculture, Food Systems and Wellness in Cuba
An Educational Delegation
February 8 -1 8, 2015
This is a tentative itinerary and subject to change and evolution
Feb. 8th Arrival and Orientation (L,D)
6:00 am Check in for Departure from Miami
8:00 am Depart from Miami International Airlines
9:00 am Arrive in Jose Marti International Airport.
11:00am Enjoy a guided Walking City Tour of Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Delegates also have time to engage with Cubans at their art studios, galleries and markets where participants will meet with Cuban artists and find out first hand how artist negotiate between the tourist market, a socialist economy and new opportunities
for individual entrepreneurship. Visit the four major historical squares of Cuba. Historian’s massive efforts to restore Old Havana buildings, attract tourism and new investment, and improve social services for local residents. See buildings and homes in different stages of reconstruction, meet with neighborhood residents.
Learn about how tourism impacts economic good.
1:00PM Lunch in old Havana and continue guided historical City Tour.
4:00PM Transfer to Hotel Presidente (to be requested).
6:00 PM Orientation Meeting & Briefing- engage in an overview of our delegation together in Cuba. We will review health and safety issues, petty crime, culture and group dynamics. Briefing by a panel of alternative health care provider on Wellbeing in Cuba! This is our holistic overview of health achievments and challenges.
8:30PM Welcome Dinner at La Torre. Enjoy the wonderful 360 degree views of Havana .
Feb. 9th Historical Botanical Overview of Cuba (B,L)
9:00 AM Invited Speaker to hotel to give a historical overview of the development of Havana (Requested architect and urban planner Miguel Coyula).
11:00 AM Visit to the Maqueta de la Ciudad (the scale model of the city) on Calle 28 e/ 1ra. y 3ra., Miramar. At the Maqueta , we will engage with representatives of the Group for the Comprehensive Development of the City, GDIC, a non-governmental organization that brings together architects, urban planners and sociologists who make recommendations, plan and implement on the future development of the Capital. We will meet with members for an overview, learn about their community development and bioremediation projects and then a dynamic question and answer period. Learn about the sociopsychology of effective design.
1:00 PM Visit to the Botanical Garndens. Then lunch at a vegetarian restaurant in the gardens called El Bambu. Learn about agro-ecology, and the vegetarian movement in Cuba. Visit to near by community and meet with nutritionists. Participants learn about the promotion of healthy lifestyle in Cuba.
3:30 PM Visit the Parque Metropolitano Havana. Learn of the city’s program to restore Havana’s urban watershed and clean up the Almendares River. Discussion of the community involvement in the restoration project supported by the GDIC and efforts to increase urban conservation. Participants will meet with residents to discuss the community led preservation issued, with an opportunity for one-on-one dialogue.
5:00-7 PM Enjoy a private rooftop presentation of Grup Mezcla in Miramar. This band is well know and fuses traditional, Afrocuban and salsa forms of music.
EVE Dinner Free to explore Havana on our own tonight.
Feb. 10 Introduction to Urban Agriculture (B,L)
9:00AM City Tour of Modern Havana continued. Optional visit to the Partagas Cigar Factory to learn about this important agricultural product and commodity. Here we will meet with rollers and see how labor intensive this is.
Lunch at El Ajibe
1:30 pm Exchange with an organic urban farm in Alamar, on the outskirts of Havana and exchange withlocal gardeners. At the Organopónico Vivero Alamar we will engage with one of Havana's largest and most successful urban garden, a Unidad Básica de Producción Cooperativa (Basic Unit of Cooperative Production). Covering 11 hectares in Alamar, a residential suburb, the allotment's rows of vegetables are overshadowed by grey Soviet-style blocks of flats. Though small, the garden (really more of an urban farm) is incredibly productive. As well as fresh vegetables, fruits, ornamental plants, seedlings, timber and medicinal and spiritual plants, the cooperative also produces dried herbs, condiments, garlic paste, tomato sauce and pickles; vermicompost, compost and substrates; goat and rabbit meat and mycorrhizal fungi. The Organopónico also welcomes tourists and holds workshops and courses in organic agriculture. Products are sold to local restaurants and directly to community members from the farm shop.
6:30PM Dinner will be at a local paladar. Then we are off to wander the Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabaña, known as La Cabaña (Fort of Saint Charles), is an 18th-century fortress complex, the biggest in the Americas, located on the elevated eastern side of the harbor entrance in Havana, Cuba . The fort rises above the 200-foot (60 m) hilltop, along with Morro Castle. At the time of its construction in the 1770s it was the largest fort the Spanish had ever built, as well as the most costly. Following the occupation by the British, who used this location to secure the port for their side, the Spanish set about building Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana. We will also enjoy live music.
8:00pm See the Canoñazo Ceremony. Soldiers dressed in 18th century uniforms fire a cannon over Havana bay at precisely 9 p.m. o’clock. It is a historical reconstruction dating back to the colonial era. Back then, the cannon fire announced the official end of the day and the time to close the city gates for the night.
Feb. 11 SustainableDevelopment from the Grassroots to Grasstops(B,D)
9:00 AM Meeting with CITMA (Ministerio de Ciencia Tecnología y Medio Ambiente). Visit with a representative from CITMA to learn about Cuba’s efforts to promote sustainable development. Learn about shared marine ecosystems with the US and concerns around climate change. Dialogue about how communities in habitat reserve areas and mountainous and coastal zones are involved in environmental and habitat protection, and to learn about local environmental pressures and conservation efforts by the Cuban people.
11:30AM We will have time to visit with the Cuban photographer Roberto Salas, at his home. He will share his images and incredible history documenting the Cuban revoliution with us.
1:00 PM Lunch
3:00 PM Briefing by the Antonio Núñez Jiménez Foundation for Nature and Humanity (FANJ) is a cultural and scientific non- governmental institution, dedicated to research and promotion of programs and projects for the protection of the environment as it relates to culture and society. Dialogue and exchange with staff about important issues facing Cuba today. Learn about environmental education, science, urban agriculture and food security in Cuba.We will travel to their main office and be breifed about the how Cuba is preparing its food policy and development in the face of climate change.
Dinner Free to explore local Paladares or family run restaurants
Eve Optional Cultural Activity or Faculty led discussion Circle.
Feb. 12 Rural Excursion- Las Terrazas (B, L)
9:00am Check out of hotel and depart for Pinar Del Rio, to Cuba’s Western rural province. Discussion with Cuban guide en route on a variety of topics. Opportunity for questions and answers with Cubans on daily life and individual perceptions of Cuba today.
1:30PM Lunch at El Romero, a Vegetarian Restaurant. If possible meet with Tito Nunez, the vegan pioneer and chef in Cuba; the founder of the first vegetarian restaurants in Cuba, radio show personality and hear about his efforts to educate communities about vegetarianism.
3:00PM Enjoy a community guided visit in Rosario Mountains bio-reserve, Las Terrazas, an ecological community and environmental education center. Participants will meet with reserve officials and community and student volunteers working in the reserve. We will receive an overview of the history of the project, a favorite because it is an intentional tourism community project and a very successful example of rural development and reforestation and habitat restoration. Then have time for a hike through the community to meet with local artists and learn about the community’s unique architecture. This is a fabulous opportunity to interact with the local community and we will break up into smaller groups to discuss rural development strategies with hotel workers, famers, artists and the local family doctor and nurse. Visits include their school, a local health clinic, and artist studios.
7:00PM Dinner at Hotel and time to enjoy local music from the community.
EVE Group Discussion Circle at hotel bar.
Feb. 13 Rural Development (B,L)
9:00AM Check out of hotel. Then we are off to visit to the Environmental Office of CITMA (Ministerio de Ciencia Tecnología y Medio Ambiente) at the Bioreserve. A visit the CTIMA office in this environmental reserve. Participants will hear a lecture outlining the history of the reserve and current projects and after they will have an opportunity to learn about science, the environment and conservation in Cuba. Then enjoy a hike through reforested areas and learning about endemic populations and restoration efforsts. This is also an area known for Cuban birding.
12:30PM Lunch at the Buena Vista Coffee Plantation which is located 2km east of the hotel. After our meal we can briefly explore the ruins of the plantation, old slave quarters and this area’s coffee legacy. Then Drive to the beautiful town of Vinales.
3:00PM Learn about Renewable Energy in Rural Cuba with a visit to the to the Mini- Hydroelectric Station of San Vicente. Visit a rural school and community center electrified with solar power. Meet community residents to learn about their involvement in the project and about the impact of electrification on their community. Discuss the programs and the challenges of rural life in Cuba and visit and learn about rural schools and health clinics.
5:00PM Visit to the Viñales Valley Town and meet the town Historian (and hopefully his mother to discuss about the Cuban literacy program) for dinner.
7:30PM Dinner and Eve free at the Hotel Ermita (requested)
Feb 14 Cuban Agricultre from Family Farms to Cooperatives (B,L)
9:00AM Walking Farm tour in the Valley . This morning we will enjoy a guided walking tour through farms. Meet with different farmers (including tobacco) and their families as you learn about Cuban agriculture and small-scale farming.
PM On the return back to Havana we will story for a short visit to the Small Farmers Association (ANAP) for a briefing on their work and model. Then we will visit a small project in San Andres, La Palma. Meet with farmers, including the award winning with Humberto Rios and learn about permaculture and other alternative agricultural techniques developed since the Special Period.
7:30PM Dinner then we will go get a daiquiri at one of Hemingway’s old haunts, El Floridita and have a facilitated wrap up briefing about the Rural Excursion.
Feb. 15 Holistic Health Care in Cuba (B, L)
9 :00 AM Meeting with CENESEX, the Center for Sex Education in Cuba, to discuss the impacts of tourism on contemporary culture, and health in Cuba. Here we learn about challenges with the rise of STDs in Cuba and how reproductive rights work for the Cuban population.
11:00 AM Meeting at the Casa De Amistad; briefing by our Cuban hosts ICAP to discuss the impacts of the US Embargo on the Cuban population on health and nutrition, and the current state of US/Cuba international relations
2:30PM Exchange with the community agriculture project called the Patio Las Calendulas and it was recently stared by Junior Amaya Lugo and his mama. We examine another local community development project, green medicine and learn about local food security issues. We will have lunch with them and enjoy helping out.
7:00 PM Dinner and Evening Free
Feb. 16 Conservation and Marine Ecology (B,L)
8:00AM Leave for the Zapata Peninsula (4 hours) a UNESCO bioreserve. We will visit to environmental reserve, Bermejas Preserve, which took the brunt of Hurricane Michelle in November 2001. Local conservationists have been assisting the natural recovery process here under park supervision. As we arrive we will enjoy a hike through the preserve. We will also visit a Cuban Crocodile Farm. After lunch students will will hear a lecture outlining the history of the reserve and current projects and after they will have an opportunity to share in small group discussion with student volunteers working on the reserve. We will check into the Playa Larga Hotel and enjoy time at the beach or pool. 7:30 PM Dinner and Eve free for a Faculty Discussion Circle.
Feb 17 Zapata Swamp (B,L)
AM There will be an option for an early morning nature hike in this unique coastal ecosystem. We will meet with a local conservationist and CITMA outpost scientist.
This is where you might see good examples of the 35 species of birds, including 22 endemic species and the world’s smallest bird the Bee Hummingbird. We return to the hotel to freshen up and check out.
Later we return to Havana with a stop at Korimakao Community Arts Group- Korimakao, is an indigenous word that means “man who carries his house on his back”. This group was founded in August 1992 in the heart of the Zapata wetland, on the initiative of one of the leaders of Cuba’s 1959 socialist revolution, Faustino Pérez, now deceased. These youth put on high quality performances combining theatre, dance, music, lights, sets and costumes. We will enjoy a performance (donations are welcome here).
4:30PM Check into hotel and time for rest, research or a visit to the artisan’s faire.
6:30 PM Wrap –up Meeting and Debriefing at the hotel
8:30 PM Farewell Dinner Feb. 18 Wrap-up (B)
9:30AM Briefing with a representative of the Tropical Agriculture Institue INIFAT.
11:30 Enjoy the Bellas Artes Museum, to explore Cuban fine art.
Lunch At Hemingway’s old dive, the Bodequita del Medio.
AM Check out of Hotel
AM Departure back to US
This Journey is Powered by …
And Operated by the TSP… VAYA SOJOURNS