Family Farm Defenders (Kansas Chapter)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Lifetime Visit/Exchange with Finca del Medio, Agroecological Family Dream Farm in Taguasco, Cuba

Image may contain: 13 people, including Angelica Salazar and Finca Del Medio, people smiling, people standing, food and indoor
This is a recent photo of the Casimiro family and guests
on their farm, Finca Del Medio, a truly divine agroecologial 
farm on the national Cuban highway (Autopista Nacional),  
349 km north of Taguasco, Cuba (a rural, isolated and beautiful 
part of Cuba). I had the opportunity to visit Finca del Medio and 
this family in May 2008 during Cuba's 2008 Biannual 
Organic Agriculture Conference! It was truly an inspiring 
and beautiful farm and family with  lots of hard, loving and 
skillful work, beautiful and transcendentally still! I did not 
want to leave! 

Recently, (2017), I had been wanting to visit this family and farm and stay for a while, but I was not sure this idea would be interesting to the Casimiro family!!! So I was excited when my young, brilliant and beautiful colleague,  PhD Agroecologist, farmer, and mother, Leidy Casimiro (2nd from right in the picture above) shared this opportunity with me for farmers, agroecologists and all those interested, to come, visit and work on her family farm in Taguasco, Cuba for as long as a week at a time for a reasonable price: $25.00 CUC (Cuban Money) (about $28.00 US Dollars) a day including board in a simple bunk house and meals with the family.) They suggest a minimum of three days stay and a maximum of seven days.

The family has built a simple but comfortable "bunkhouse" for visitors to stay. (See pictures and details below.)

     I cannot recommend this opportunity highly enough. I am already planning my trip with another colleague! This family has so much wisdom about family farming agroecologically from a practical, scientific, family and spiritual point of view. And the farm  itself is so beautiful and peaceful, it could even be called a retreat. As I shared above, back in 2008, I did not want to leave!

     The Casimiro family immigrated to Cuba from the Canary Islands in Spain in 1993. It would be interesting to know what motivated this family to take this enormous leap to a whole new world! Now, three generations of the family live and work altogether, something challenging in itself, and from which alone there is much to learn. In 2001 they switched to agriculture without chemicals and now they are 100% agroecological. They are committed to all the shared principles of Agroecology, Permaculture, Slow Food, soil conservation and the family farm!!!!

     As a family, the Casimiros have hosted and particpated in hundreds of events at their farm, nationally in Cuba and globally, sharing their work, agroecology and family farming in Cuba. They are familiar with all the problems of agroecological farming such as: degraded soils abandoned for their sterility.

     Today, says Dr. Leidy Casimiro, the family has developed its own culture adopted to the needs of the family, the farm business, economic realities and climate change. Says Dr. Casimiro, we know how to conserve our produce and food and produce our own seeds. We have made so many mistakes, says Dr. Casimiro, and learned profound lessons from all of them!!! We, consequently, now have so much to share! We can share from our own experience that it is possible that the family farm can be a sovereign and sustainable institution with fair policies where the family can prosper as well as the nation, says Dr. Casimiro!

    Dr. Casimiro continues, we have specialized in the use of renewable sources, efficient stoves, solar cooking, irrigation systems by gravity, installation and use of hydraulic rams, windmills,  construction of biodigesters, bio-climatic housing, and animal and plant selection for small farms.  We know how to make fruit liqueurs with cane honey grown on the farm, dry fruits, make our own bread with banana flour or yucca flour grown on the farm and made by ourselves.  We also make our own vinegar and soap with coconut oil. 

     We have arrived to our  dream of independence and resilience, says Dr.  Casimiro! Our cuisine is quintessential Cuban and   lacks no essential human minerals or nutritional ingredients. Complete mineralization of  the crops, plus a public experience of almost 20 years sharing our table, we assure you that whoever eats at the Finca del Medio will never forget Cuba, says Dr. Casimiro! (Or the Casimiro Family: a thriving family!) 

     As I previously mentioned, the Casimiro family offers a charming and simple independent bunkhouse for guests. (See pictures below.) Meals are also available, advisable and included in the $25.00 CUC daily price!!!!

     Their business is completely legal under Cuban law as they pay taxes as self employed workers, so the family wants to assure visitors that their visit will be completely relaxing, legal, worry free, educational, fun, enlightening and truly a once in a lifetime cross cultural and family consciousness-raising experience!!!! Guests are always welcome to return!!!!

     As the family does all the work and there are now young children in the family, the family does have some limits and suggestions for those interested!  Says Dra. Casimiro, we currently have two small children in the family who require a lot of care, so there will be some time everyday now when visitors will have free time. She suggests that visitors come in a group so you can go for a walk or do other things together to entertain yourselves during  time when the family needs to attend uniquely to its own needs. Or, she suggests,  you can just be prepared to have some time on your own to do your own work such as writing, playing a musical instrument, taking pictures, going for a walk, etc.

Dr. Casimiro also asks that those  interested in visiting, should also book well in advance in order to secure a reservation that  does  not coincide with others who have previously booked. She asks that the minimum visit be 3 days and that the maximum be 7 days. Up to 6 people is perfect and again, a minimum of 2 is advised so visitors will not be alone when the family is attending to their personal needs.

We are currently speaking English at the 2nd grade level says Dr. Casimiro (!), and and we can exchange (we teach Spanish and you teach us English, hahaha).  Says, Dr. Casimiro, we really hope those of you who love and aspire to this way of life, the family farm or farming, will visit us, even if you do not have a farm but simply  carry it in your  soul. If you are new or aspiring farmers perfect, it is very nice as well!

We do not have ads, or paved roads, continues Dr. Casimiro. To be on this small, uniquely, Cuban family farm, to live with the family, to share with everyone at the table, to taste the complete delicacy, to the desserts for diabetics, to eat what is desired, whether vegetarian, vegan or celiac,  and that every moment be experienced wholely and completely in itself is what we offer and share with you!!!

We hope that the friends who have eaten  and lived with us will  tell their story in defense of the small family farm in Cuba, in Puerto Rico, the Carribean, in the USA, in Latin America and all over the world!!!!  We welcome you and look forward to learning from you as well. 

If interested please contact Dr. Leidy Casimiro at  leidy7580@gmail.com Cel and WhatsApp (+53) 52408610. Please let her know her colleague, Maria Whittaker of the USA, referred you and please drop me a quick note at my personal email: mariachristianwhittaker@gmail.com so I can follow generally your experience to make sure Dr. Casimiro and myself are working on the same playing field  to generally bring a wonderful, educational and transformative experience to all those interested in agroecology, the family farm and Cuba!!!!

      The Christopher Reynolds Foundation https://www.creynolds.org/ may be willing to fund your exchange with this Family Agroecological Farm in Cuba as they are funding some such exchanges to end the US led trade embargo against Cuba.  Please let them know the ED of Kansas Chapter of Family Farm Defenders,  Maria Whittaker, referred you!Image may contain: 1 person, standing, outdoor and natureImage may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
.Image may contain: sky, tree, plant, grass, outdoor and natureImage may contain: outdoorImage may contain: 1 person, table and food Image may contain: 1 person, indoor




Wednesday, May 15, 2019

“Agroecology as Basis for the Socioecological Resilience of Agricultural Systems:” 5th International Convention AGRODESARROLLO, Cuba 2019, October 22-26, 2019, Plaza América Convention Center, Varadero, Cuba


Agroecology as basis for the socioecological resilience of agricultural systems.

The Pastures and Forages Research Station Indio Hatuey, Science, Technology and Innovation Institution of the Ministry of Higher Education, invites you to participate in the:

 5th International Convention AGRODESARROLLO 2019
October 22-26, 2019
Plaza América Convention Center
Varadero, Cuba (Beach Resort)

The Convention includes three scientific events:
1.the 12th International Workshop “Trees and shrubs in tropical animal husbandry”;
2.the 6th International Symposium “Extension work, technology transference, socioeconomic aspects and sustainable agricultural development” and
3.the 5th International Workshop “Agroenergy and food security.”

Before these scientific events, from October 14 to 19, the 11th RedBioLAC Meeting will be held, organized along with the Network of Biodigesters for Latin America and the Caribbean. This meeting includes two introductory courses (October 14 and 15), one field day (October 16) and two days of technical and scientific works (October 17 and 18), as well as the meeting of the management council (October 19).

We will share knowledge with the participants for the development of a better world, with results that allow higher productivity and efficiency, which favor food, technological and energy security and sovereignty and contribute to the adaptation to and mitigation of the climate change with the motto

Agroecology as basis for the socioecological resilience of agricultural systems”.

Please join us!


 Dr.C. Luis Hernández Olivera. Presidente del Comité Organizador
Dr.C. Luis Hernández Olivera
President of the Organizing Committee

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Are we Healing Ourselves through Urban Gardening? Halla if dee answer is a Resounding YAAAAAS!!!! Peoplez!!!!!!

Are we Healing Ourselves through Urban Gardening? Halla if dee answer is a Resounding YAAAAAS!!!! Peoplez!!!!!!

Coming.......with all de joy an; love I can muster

The 7th International Meeting of Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture and Cooperativism: 17 to 23 November 2019, Havana, CUBA

The 7th International Meeting of Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture and Cooperativism: 
17 to 23 November 2019, Havana, CUBA
(English/Spanish) 

The 7th International Meeting Of Agroecology, Sustainable Agriculture and Cooperativism, is set for 17 to 23 November 2019 in Havana with the participation of about 250 delegates says Radio Havana Cuba. The large majority will be 100 institutions of La Via Campesina, an international movement of small and medium farmers' organizations, rural women, indigenous communities, immigrant farm workers, young farmers and those farming without land are some of those topis which will be addressed and their role in the development of food sovereignty as well as the incorporation of young people, women and agroecology. ANAP in Cuba of La Via Campesina uses the methodologoy of farmer to farmer to pass on information and integrate farmers.

For further details and to register for this event, please contact:
Vermont Carribean Institute, home of the Cuban-US Agroecology Network, http://www.vtcarribean.org/collaborative-projects.
html; http://www.agroecologynetwork.org/ at this email: 
info@vtcarribean.org

The Cuban-US Agroecology Network will for the 3rd time be volunteering  to help facilitate the registration of those US citizens who would like to attend this event as part of the Network's mission to help build bridges between the agroecology movements in both countries. This year (2019) it looks like all foreign (non Cuban) participants will need to apply for permission to attend EARLY, so contact us soon!

This conference used to be like this, says Dr. Fernandez,  and then for the past 2 events ANAP was able to have foreign participants participate on tourist visas. VCI has registered US citizens for this event  many times in the past, it is more cumbersome, and all participants will need to register much earlier than in other years. "But,' as the indomitable Dr. Margarita Fernandez, says," it is doable" 

Thanks to Otto Manuel Anderez of Inifat Inifatfor sharing this information!!!

(Spanish/Espanol)
El VII Encuentro Internacional de Agroecología, Agricultura Sostenible y Cooperativismo, fue convocado para los días 17 al 23 de noviembre, en La Habana, con la participación de alrededor de 250 delegados, publica Radio Habana Cuba.
Gran parte de los que asistirán proceden de un centenar de instituciones integrantes de La Vía Campesina, movimiento internacional a la que Cuba pertenece y que agrupa a organizaciones de campesinos, pequeños y medianos productores, mujeres rurales, comunidades indígenas, trabajadores agrícolas emigrantes, jóvenes y jornaleros sin tierra.
Entre los temas objeto de análisis figuran la Agricultura Familiar e Indígena, su rol en el desarrollo rural y la soberanía alimentaria, y la incorporación de los jóvenes y las mujeres a los sistemas agroecológicos.
El Movimiento Agroecológico de la ANAP es un referente para diversas organizaciones de la Vía Campesina, lo cual, según la convocatoria “constituye un honor y un compromiso para el campesinado cubano”, y lo exhorta a “continuar cosechando resultados en la implementación de la Metodología de Campesino a Campesino”.
Fecha:
Miércoles, 9 de enero del 2019
Tomado de:
Radio Rebelde
Otras Noticias
http://www.redciencia.cu/…/convocan-en-guantanamo-a-e…/6140…

Dee' Detroit People's CO-OP is Divine! Black and Peopleeez Co-ops, Gardens and Community Farms do Mo' dan Close de Racial Wealth Gap!! They HEAL US!!! And HEALED People and COMMUNITIES create da' New and Betta' World We Allz Needs!


We are not gathered here today in order to change the world. We are here with a more modest proposal — to create a new world. We. Today. Here.” 
 —Zapatista communique, April 4, 1996

I recently skimmed an uninspiring article purporting a staid and worn out, conventional and well-accepted point of view that I myself might have written just a few years ago (Smile!) So, kudos to the author for getting a good conversation started about something worth talking about!!!!!!. It was entitled “Why Coops and Community Farms Can’t Close the Racial Wealth Gap.”

As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself, “Lawd, who iz lookin’ da close de racial wealth gap. Wee peoplez, paticularly weez AMERICUNS is consumin’ 2 much of everyding already!!! We need to be reducing allz our consumption, not consuming mo’ and trying ta catch up with de consumption levels of dee so called RICH!!!!!!”
The article featured a FINE! (Did I say FINE?) picture of Malik Yakini, ED of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network . 

Today howeva" thanks to my hard work, my ancestors and continued and relentless search for dee truf, I hav’ a different perspective!!!! Hallellujah! (Smile!) I now know, gratefully, there is something mo’ impo’tan dan closing da racial wealth gap involved in peoplez coops, gardenz and farms; who want da close dat anyway; lik I said, we iz all consuming way 2 much already. Mama Earth is gonna’ collapse!!!!

“Yaaas,” as  the beautiful, young  and brilliant Shakara Tyler saaays, we allz need fud stuffs and healthy fuds and we need da grow it in harmony with Muder Earth, but maybe de is sumptin' else goin’ on here as well besides feedin’ our bodies which admittedly iz impo’tant!!!!

Maybe weez bee feddin’ sumptin else besides our bodies as well!!! Maybe we bee feeding our SOULS 2!!!! And all yall’s know in dis der America in 2019 we allz badly needz to feed our soulz!!!! Jes’ look around at da sufferin’, violence. We allz knows our society and humanity itself need' a GRAND CHANGE! And maybe deez people co-ops, gardens and farms are part of dis' GRAND CHANGE! Jes' maybe!

And as well, maybe jes’ maybe, deez community gardens, farms and coops, maybe  dey is changin’ us, wee human beings, as much as wee is changing how we grow our food and what we eat!!!

I’m gonna’ suggest ta you dat today in modern society, our souls are at stake, human peace and sanity iz at stake, and maybe jes’ maybe people's coops, community gardens and farms got sumptin' ta do wid savin' dem!!

Jes' maybe!!!!!

Money is meaningless without PEACE and CONSCIOUSNESS!!! Don't buy into this world's focus on the material when it is and always will be the spiritual which trumps all!! The world is off course with its intense focus on the material!!!!!! Look at our ancestors; they triumphed with humility, spiritual practice, love, community and devotion. 

Furthermore, global leaders all point out the coming collapse of this world by the end of this century due to our relentless material consumption! It is destroying our world and our Mother Earth upon which we depend to live

It is consequently our spiritual growth which is the most important thing and why we are here. And when we do grow spiritually and manifest higher consciousness we also will have enough for all our material needs!

Get off this sinking material boat of endless and ever increasing material consumption and focus on what is real and really important: our own individual, family and communal healing, peace and consciousness; things MONEY can never buy!!!! 

Don't judge our success as a people by the values of the world and all those who subscribe to these fallacious values for material consumption at all cost. The world is  on a sinking ship! Our ship cannot sink!!!!! 

SMILE!!!!!" 

As the amazing Zapatista community of Mexico says:
 “We are not gathered here today in order to change the world. We are here with a more modest proposal — to create a new world. We. Today. Here.”
 —Zapatista communique, April 4, 1996

And so are we the peoplez here in the USA! With our coops, community gardens, community food projects we are not working to change this world; we are working for a more modest proposal as say the Zapatistas of Mexico!!! Like them we are working to create a new world because,  well,  this one is failing!!!

This is a true human path: to create a new world, with new values, not simply greed at all cost!!!! And that is the path wee dee peoplez are on!

Deep down inside of you, ya'll know its true and so do these folks destroying the all fo' mo' money! They are in such intense suffering actually, that they cannot stop destroying everything in their way!!! 
They, the vast majority of those consuming at all cost are running from their own suffering, by consuming!
Let me say that again, the wealthy of the world are running from their own suffering by consuming!!!!
But consumption does not heal the suffering that humanity is experiencing so it is an endless treadmill of suffering and consumption and suffering and consumption and more and more consumption and running, until the world will be destroyed; our planet will be ruined for human and many other types of life forms habitation!

Smile, breathe and bee true to You and we will conquer all!!!!!" It ain't about da' money; its about peace, and love and community and family an' what is true AN" DA MONEY WILL FOLLOW!!!!!! But it ain't fer da MONEY! Its fer da love!!!!

Yes sum folks got most of de money and de material consumption. but we got mo soul an' consciousness and dat is de most important ding! And we all know it!!!!! Luv, "tru luv," not money conquers all! Money without consciousness (GREED!) is what is leading dis world right now and leading dis world to its end--so say dee scientists! Do not buy into the majority led insane greed for material consumption over all. It is a lie and must fail. We are on a different path; that is our conscious choice!! We ain't about chasing money. Those who got it can have it for all the happiness it will bring dem' when dis planet collapses because of our greed!!! We iz about growing our own and our peoplez' Consciousness, wisdom, peace and righteousness and letting it manifest itself!!! The world is on de wrong path, but we don' have ta' be! An' we can have a different consciousness and fate dan dis world!! 

Dis coop iz DIVINE!. 

A model of de possible!!!  Up up and carry on! Let righteousness and love, bee your path! An nothin' in dis world will stand in yer way!"

Yes, we Are building the New worldwe all need, one peoplez garden, coop and community farm at a time!


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