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
November 19-25, 2017 4th International Conference of Agroecology The Cuban National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) and Via Campesina are organizing this event on the 20th anniversary of the arrival of ‘Campesino a Campesino’ in Cuba. This conference will provide the opportunity for participants to exchange ideas, experiences and lessons learned on the following themes:
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
The conference will include presentations, workshops, round tables, panel discussions, expositions, and field trips. In addition, two hands-on pre- and post-conference workshops will be offered to help participants put theory into practice.
Pre-conference Workshop (November 13-18, 2017): “Indigenous and rural family-farms” Topics covered include: Agroecology and food sovereignty; natural resource management and food production; Sustainable agriculture – design and implementation.
Post-conference Workshop (November 27-December 2, 2017): “Campesino a Campesino Approaches and Methodology” Topics covered include: Campesino a Campesino approaches and methodology, principles, activities and tools.
This is a Spanish-language event, however translation into English may be available upon request. Click here for more information (in Spanish) on the event. For further details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent Professional Travel Exchanges
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 email@example.com
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.