Have you ever wanted to go to Cuba? VCI’s people-to-people professional travel opportunities are at the core of our organization's work to foster cross-cultural understanding, share expertise, and create collaborative responses to local challenges and opportunities.
Our people-to-people trips align with the strategic areas of focus we have outlined as priorities for our organization: environmental sustainability, sustainable food systems, and arts and cultural promotion. Each VCI-organized trip is unique and carefully planned to ensure a travel experience that not only provides participants with an opportunity to learn about the country, but also fosters a deeper understanding of how the Cuban people address challenges like food sustainability or energy conservation.
Upcoming Professional Travel Exchanges June 4th - 7th, 2018 (with pre-event options as well) 12th Meeting on Agroecology, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Cuba's Association of Agricultural and Forestry Technicians (ACTAF) will host their biennial conference on Agroecology, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture in May of 2018. The conference will provide a space for reflection and exchange of ideas through thematic symposiums. The event will take place as Cuba begins to implement its intersecting national strategies on "Confronting Climate Change" ("Life Task", or,"Tarea Vida", in Spanish) and Agricultural Development 2030. A pre-event course & tour to agroecological sites will also be available to international participants. More information, including finalized costs, specific locations and how to register will be forthcoming in the new year. If you would like us to notify you directly when more information becomes available, please click here to add your name and email to the interest list.
Pre-event Course: May 28th - 30th Pre-event Tour: June 1st - 3rd Main Event: June 4th - 7th
Recent Professional Travel Exchanges November 19-25, 2017 4th International Conference of Agroecology In November, CUSAN coordinated the attendance of over 50 delegates from across the US (as well as from Haiti and Denmark) at the National Small Farmers' Association (ANAP) Encounter on Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture and Cooperativism. Every two years, this event brings together farmers, academics, activists and NGO representatives from around the world at the ANAP Training Center in Güira de Melena, Artemisa, Cuba. In all, 250 delegates, from 19 countries, participated this year. We enjoyed field visits to agroecological farms, cooperatives, small processing plants and distribution centers in all 15 provinces of Cuba, where we were welcomed with gracious hospitality and witnessed incredible innovation, cooperation and ingenuity.
This year's conference commemorated the 20th anniversary of the arrival of the Farmer-to-Farmer movement in Cuba from its origins in Guatemala and Nicaragua. The delegates and ANAP leaders and organizers alike were honored to hear closing remarks fromDon Felipe Tomás Mux of Guatemala, the founder and father of the Farmer-to-Farmer movement. The final declaration of the Encounter concluded that "Agroecology is our alternative way to build a world based on mutual respect, social justice, equality, solidarity and harmony with nature." We couldn't agree more.
Mark your calendars: The 7th International Encounter on Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture and Cooperativism will take place in November, 2019!
April 18-21, 2017 Cuban Urban, Suburban, and Family Agriculture Congress The Institute for Fundamental Research in Tropical Agriculture "Alejandro de Humboldt" (INIFAT in Spanish) is hosting its 3rd International Congress on Urban, Suburban and Family Agriculture at the Havana International Conference Center in Havana, Cuba. This Congress will provide the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences among researchers, professors, businessmen, students and producers linked with farming science.
In conjunction with the Congress, INIFAT will also be hosting its 15th Scientific Meeting. The Scientific Meeting will include master lectures, workshops, round tables, poster presentations, as well as pre-Congress courses led by highly experienced professors and researchers.
Main Topics include:
Urban Agriculture and Climate Change
Local Food Production
Management, preservation and use of genetic resources
Seed Production as biodiversity base
Disease and Pest management
The Congress will also be hosting a large Scientific and Commercial Exposition in the main lobby of the Havana International Conference Center featuring companies, institutions and other entities exhibiting and marketing their products, technologies and services. The working languages of the Congress are Spanish and English. Click here for more information (in Spanish) on the event. For further details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
October 23-30, 2016 Agrodesarollo 2016 - International Convention hosted by Indio Hautey Indio Hatuey Agricultural Research Station (a science and technology organization of the University of Matanzas), is hosting its 4th International Convention AGRODESARROLLO 2016, taking place from October 23 to 30, 2016, in Varadero, Cuba. The Convention includes a pre-event tour (October 23-24), scientific fair (October 25-28) and post-event course (October 28-30).
The focus of the conference is ''Agroenergy as the Basis of Sustainable Agricultural Development" and will include the following topics:
Agroenergy, climate change and food sovereignty.
Integrated agroecological systems for food and energy production.
Sustainable rural development and family agriculture for human welfare.
Gender equity and inclusion in agriculture.
Agricultural production with emphasis on the use of livestock production agroforestry systems.
Sustainable management of agricultural and livestock production lands.
Local agricultural innovation and extension work on agroecological bases.
Agroecological practices for animal and plant health.
January 2016 University of Vermont’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics Launching a long-term research program in Cuba VCI is collaborating with The Gund Institute for Ecological Economics in establishing a joint research program with Cuban scholars and leaders to understand how the island’s social, economic, and ecological systems are connected, and how they are changing. Cuba’s society and economy holds lessons for global sustainability. Over the past several years, through a combination of outside forces, domestic polices, and grassroots innovations, the island nation has developed low-input agriculture, a low-carbon economy, protection of coastal ecosystems, progress in partial reforestation, and remarkable levels of literacy and health care. The recent rapprochement between Cuba and the United States raises the possibility of rapid change to this social-ecological system. To better understand these issues, the Gund Institute engaged with Cuban partners to establish a long-term interdisciplinary research program. This collaborative effort builds capacity among scholars, students, and institutions, and will generate lessons that can inform policy options in this dynamic time. To launch this program, 10 scholars from the Gund Institute visited Cuba in January 2016 aiming to deepen our grasp of the country’s sustainability challenges, understand ongoing efforts and needs, and connect further with Cuban leaders and collaborators.
September 2015 Ludwig Artist Exchange Program SEABA exhibit, September 2015 For several years, VCI has partnered with the Cuban based Ludwig Foundation which serves a large community of artists in Cuba. This exchange program supports Cuban artists to spend a month in Vermont learning English, volunteering with local NGOs and exhibiting their work. In September 2015, two young Cuban artists - one a photographer and film-maker and the other a musician - exhibited a photography and sound show at SEABA's 2015 Art Hop that took a comparative look at entrepreneurship in Havana, Cuba and Burlington, Vermont, highlighting unique features of each city's small entrepreneurs and drawing parallels between the two. The artists also volunteered with the local nonprofit Migrant Justice, filming and editing a short documentary about the organizations mission to support migrant farm workers in Vermont. November 2015 Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange Program In November 2015 VCI served as the Via Campesina organizer of the US delegation to the International Conference in Cuba on Agroecology organized by the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP). Sixty-eight participants from the US attended, representing urban and rural organic farmers from across the country, as well as NGO representatives and academics. VCI also worked with the Cuba-US Agroecology Network (CUSAN) to coordinate the event, with 10 members of CUSAN attending the conference.
July 2015 Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange Program In July 2015, VCI hosted the director of Indio Hautey Agricultural Research Station, Giraldo Martin, and a researcher, Luis Hernandez, for a 4-day visit to learn about the use of biogas on farms in Vermont, in order to inform the Cuban national biogas project they lead, The visit also included learning about Community Supported Agriculture, Food Hubs, and Food Cooperatives. During this trip, a Memorandum of Understanding between VCI and Indio Hautey was signed which outlines specific areas for future collaborative work.
April 2015 Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange Program In April 2015, VCI partnered with Americas Media Initiative and coordinated the Vermont leg of the documentary tour "Tierralismo: Stories from a Cooperative Farm", a film about one of the most successful urban farms in Havana - Alamar Organoponico. The lead farmer, Isis Salcines, toured with the film and was able to spend a week meeting with innovative farmers and food system initiatives in Vermont.
March 2015 Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange Program In March 2015, VCI traveled to Cuba with three organic farmers from Vermont to expand partnerships and collaboratively identify areas of future work for mutual exchange and learning opportunities around best practices for organic agriculture and sustainable food systems. We met with government agencies, NGOs, research institutes and farmers.