Canada-Cuba Farmer to Farmer Project

 
Wendy R. Holm, P.Ag.

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Letter of Invitation to Canadian farmers
from Wendy Holm, P.Ag...


Winter 2013 Farmer Exchanges

  • ONE TOUR THIS WINTER.... FEB 6-20th

  • Three days of sun and luxury on Cuba's beautiful Varadero Beach
  •  
  • Eight days of travel through Cuba's countryside visiting large cooperative farms

  • Three days in Old Havana

Join us in Cuba for "the trip of a lifetime..."


2012 Canadian Farmer Tour: CLICK HERE FOR BROCHURE
 
February 6th to February 20th

COOKS TOUR OF CUBA:
(on demand)

What's Included
Cost
10 Excellent Reasons to Go
Purpose
Who Joins Us?
Farmers' Brochure Farmer Itinerary THE CUBA "STORY" Published
Articles
Contact us
Rationale
History


First Outcome: Canadian Farmers Raise One Voice On Water

First Project:  Enhancing Sustainable Dairy Production Capacity in Cuba

More about Canadian Agrologist Wendy R. Holm, who escorts each tour

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WHAT'S INCLUDED:

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS WHILE IN IN CUBA PROVIDED BY CUBA NATURA S.A.

CLICK HERE FOR BROCHURE

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LAND COSTS:  

$3,200 per person, two sharing, plus air fare from Canada.  This includes all taxes, all hotels (7 nights in 5 star, 7 nights in country hotels), all meals (with the exception of three lunches and two dinners in Havana), all gratuities (including guide and driver), transportation, airport transfers in Cuba, guide, full translation, an 8 day farm tour and a flight from Santiago de Cuba to Havana.  Does not include air fare between Canada and Cuba, airport departure taxes, required medical insurance and beverages (including bottled water).  Single surcharge ($320 CAD) applies to those occupying a single room (happy to put people in touch who wish to discuss sharing a room).  

Terms
Deposit of $500 per person on booking, balance 60 days days prior to departure.  Sorry, cheques only.

2012 AIR COSTS:

Air Transat:    First choice as all flights fly directly into Varadero.  As always, we search for the lowest fares possible and will be pleased to arrange flights for you from the following airports.  If you book thru us, we will cover your airport transfers in Cuba.  The price of the tour is based on a Monday to Monday schedule.  If you arrive earlier (e.g. on Sunday) or later (e.g. on Tuesday) small adjustments will apply - please discuss with me.

POSTED PRICES as of October 2012 -  DIRECT FLIGHTS TO VARADERO, ALL DEPARTURES:
Air Transat fm Vancouver (Sat nite to Sun): $809+$264.71 (taxes, tourist visa incl)
Air Transat fm Edmonton  (Mon to Mon):  $819+274 (taxes, tourist visa incl)
Air Transat fm Calgary (Mon to Mon):  $748+$274.16 (taxes, tourist visa incl)
Air Transat fm Saskatoon (Tues to Tues):   $599+$263.66 (taxes, tourist visa incl)
Air Transat fm Regina (Tues to Tues):  $709+$263 (taxes, tourist visa incl)
Air Transat fm Winnipeg: (Mon to Mon): $629+268.91 (taxes, tourist visa included)
Air Transat fm Hamilton: (Sat to Sat): $599+263.66 (taxes, tourist visa included)
Air Transat fm Toronto: (Mon to Mon):  $399+$276.16 (taxes, tourist visa included)
Air Transat fm Ottawa: (Sun to Sun):  $549+$270.51 (taxes, tourist visa included)
Air Transat fm Montreal: (Mon to Mon):  $433+$256.39 (taxes, tourist visa included)

Air Canada:  Current prices apply.  I can assist you with this or you can book thru your travel agent.  The choice if you want to arrive on the Monday (and Air Transat doesn't offer this from your local airport), go earlier, stay later, or fly on air points.  Air Canada flys into and out of Varadero and Havana.  If you arrive other than on a Monday OR fly in/out of Havana Airport, transfers may apply.  Please discuss this with me before you book!

Air Cubana   Frequent flights from Toronto to Havana.

Booking:    We are happy to handle all air bookings at very competitive rates.

Terms:    Payable in full upon ticketing.  May be paid by cheque or credit card.

In the case of Air Canada and Air Cubana, these tickets are non-refundable, change fees and some restrictions may apply (e.g. using credits within a specified period).  

In the case of Air Transat, like all charters, bookings are final and no refunds are given.   Trip cancellation insurance - available through Air Transat at time of ticketing - is recommended in case an unanticipated medical condition or event prior to the departure date prevents you from travelling. 

Air Canada and Air Cubana fly thru Toronto, necessitating a change of planes for those incoming from another airport and, if coming from the west (depending on connecting flight to Toronto), may require a red-eye flight or an overnight in Toronto.  Air Transat flies direct. 


CLICK HERE FOR BROCHURE

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10 EXCELLENT REASONS TO GO TO CUBA AS PART OF A CANADA-CUBA FARMER TO FARMER DELEGATION


#10 YOU CAN WRITE IT OFF AS A BUSINESS EXPENSE.
If you make your living from farming, you'll have little difficulty justifying this as a business expense!  The goal of the Project is to facilitate cooperation between farm communities. Canada has expertise in processing, packaging, labeling, marketing and sales. Cuba's farmers are world leaders in commercial organic cropping systems, have highly organized cooperatives, good farm extension, unparalleled soil and water resources and a tropical climate. We have a lot to learn from them. They have a lot to learn from us. Together, we're more competitive. Farmer's who travel to Cuba as part of this project are exposed to this potential "from the ground up".

 
 #9. YOU'LL BE IN GOOD HANDS.
With thirteen successful years, thirty-nine delegations and 662 Delegates behind us, we are professionals highly experienced in organizing and delivering unique Canadian farmer tours of Cuba. Our Cuban partner ANAP (the national farmer organization to which all Cuban farmers belong) works with us to deliver a high-quality, memorable and safe travel experience completely free of stress and filled with delightful memories of the real Cuba and her people. We promise.   All farmer tours fully escorted by Wendy R. Holm, P.Ag.


 #8. YOU'LL BE TRAVELING WITH A "GREAT BUNCH" --- OTHER FARMERS:
Dairy farmers, crop farmers, ranchers, orchardists, poultry farmers, greenhouse growers, bee keepers and the like - a relaxing and fun group to travel with.  So far, approximately two percent of our Delegates have been organic farmers, most are conventional farmers.  


 #7. YOU'LL SEE FIRST HAND INNOVATIVE PRACTICES THAT MAKE CUBAN FARMERS WORLD LEADERS IN SUSTAINABILITY.
In 1999, Cuba won the prestigious Right Livelihood Award of the Swedish Parliament for sustainable agricultural practices. This was due in no small measure to strong scientific capacity and good agricultural extension,. We will visit large scale worm composting facilities, CREE's (Centres for the Reproduction of Entomopathogens and Entomofagos) and plant protection laboratories to see how Cuba became an innovative world leader in the use of biopesticides and biofertilizers.

 
 #6. YOU'LL VISIT OUR AWARD-WINNING DAIRY PROJECT AND SEE THE RESULTS OF CANADIAN COOPERATION.
This project began with a small CIDA pilot grant in December 2004.  Six years later, through the cooperative efforts of farmers in Canada and Cuba, we have tripled milk production and created a self sufficient rural milk production model that is attracting big attention in this tiny little country…  And you will get to see how we did it!

 
 #5. YOU'LL EXPERIENCE A CULTURE WHERE FARMERS ARE RESPECTED.
A majorly unique - dare we say empowering - experience for Canadian farmers. We will have the opportunity to meet with Cuban farmers to discuss how they run their cooperatives, how production decisions are made, how state contracts are negotiated and profits are shared, how crop insurance works, how they get access to farmers' markets and how ANAP (Cuba's national farmers' organization) speaks with one voice in the interests of the farm community.


 #4. YOU'LL BE "IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR" IN TERMS OF FUTURE PROJECT INITIATIVES.
The experience of Cuban agriculture - that large scale commercial organic production IS possible - is a lesson for the world. By partnering with Cuba, Canada can piggy-back on this expertise.  Farmers who participate in these Delegations will receive regular updates on the Project and are "in on the ground floor" in terms of any future initiatives.

The Advisory Board struck at the outset to guide this work included: Moura Quayle, former Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of British Columbia; Evelyn Pinkerton, Professor, School of Resource & Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University; Ian MacPherson, Director, BC Institute for Co-operative Studies, University of Victoria; Susan Babbitt, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Queens University; and Dr. Warren Bell, President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.  In 2004, Vancouver-based Sustainable Cities (www.icsc.ca) joined us as an NGO Partner in approaching CIDA for funding for our first cooperative, capacity building project Enhancing Sustainable Dairy Production Capacity in Cuba. The Project commenced in December 2004.  In its fifth year, it has won international recognition for excellence in cooperation.  We will visit it on the tour.
 

 #3. YOU'LL ENJOY SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES AND HOTELS IN THE WORLD.
We begin with 3 nights at the beautiful 5 Star Hotel Melia Varadero and conclude with 1 night in the Melia Santiago de Cuba followed by 3 nights at Havana's fabulous 5 Star Hotel Nacional.

 
 #2. YOU'LL SEE "THE REAL CUBA" THAT TOURISTS NEVER EXPERIENCE.
Cuba is a safe and gentle destination with a unique culture and warm and friendly people. During your 8 day tour of Cuba's farming communities, we leave the tourist zones and travel into the countryside, visiting the provinces of Ciego de Avila, Camaguay, Bayamo and Santiago de Cuba. There is ample time set aside for sightseeing, sampling Cuban culture and even horseback riding on the beach at pristine Cayo Coco if you're so inclined.


 #1. YOU'LL HAVE THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME. (AND ISN'T THAT ABOUT TIME?)
It's perhaps best expressed in the words of other farmers: "wonderfully unique... ...an opportunity to see places other tourists have never been... Thanks for the trip of a lifetime..."

What more can I add...? Just your and your sweetie's name to one of next year's Delegations!

WE ARE ACCEPTING BOOKINGS NOW FOR THE WINTER 2012 SEASON.

Please note: 

FARM TOURS:  Active or retired Canadian farmers/farm families/accompanying persons only, subject to #8 above.

CLICK HERE FOR BROCHURE

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PURPOSE   The purpose of the Canada Cuba Farmer to Farmer Project is to foster cooperative, farmer-led capacity building.

Cuba's farmers are world leaders in large-scale organic production and in the development and extension of urban agriculture.  Our farmers are world leaders in sustainable management practices and have expertise in processing, packaging, labeling and marketing.   Cuban success in empowering farmers and building links between food and community has lessons for Canada.  Canadian expertise in animal production systms is keenly important to Cuba.  Together, we have more answers than we have apart.  The objective is to foster cooperative, farmer-led capacity building.  By allowing Canadian farmers to visit Cuban farms and observe common stewardship practices, the tours lay the foundation for Project success: relationship building and respect.  

The Project's second phase is cooperative capacity building.  Our first Project is Enhancing Sustainable Dairy Production Capacity in Cuba, began in December 2004 with the financial support of Vancouver-based NGO Sustainable Cities and CIDA.  Inirtial project cooperants were Canadian dairy farmers Bruce Beattie, Lorne Hansen and Jim and Gladys Millson and family, who first visited Cuba as part of a farmer tour and returned, in a cooperative, capacity building framework, to share with Cuban farmers the animal husbandry skills that rank our dairy farmers among the best in the world.  The Millson's have stayed engaged and are largely responsible for the success of the project.  (Our farm tours visit this CPA.)  Our next work will be in the Granma province, in the city of Bayamo, where we will, through Canadian constructed wetland's technology, effluent irrigate a peri-urban model of our pilot dairy project in rural Havana province.

For more information on this Project, click on Enhancing Sustainable Dairy Production Capacity in Cuba,   What goes around comes around (Western Producer), Did you hear the one about the farmer's daughter?   (the Western Dairy Farmer) and The little project that could - a Christmas Story   (Holstein News).
By fully re-opening its border [December 14, 2004] to all cuts of Canadian beef (bone in, bone out, from cattle of any age) and fast tracking approvals for live cattle imports, Cuba became the first country in the world to actually honour OIE Guidelines… since tiny Macau did so in March 2004…Cuba’s early and solid support for our beef sector was and should remain significant, not only for its diversification and export value but perhaps most importantly, because of what it represents.  What goes around comes around,

Wendy R. Holm, P.Ag., January column What goes around comes around, Western Producer, Jan 6, 2005
.
A culture based on respect for farmers sustains the economic health of communities.  A cuisine based on "fresh, local, healthy and seasonal" sustains the environmental and bio-physical health of communities.  Together, they empower the future. 

"...Off farm doesn't have to mean out of sector. And adding value doesn't have to mean building a potato chip mill at the end of the drive way. Or opening a "farm bed and breakfast". What we need is to add market value to the stewardship activities our farmers are already leaders at undertaking. In concert with farmers in other countries with whom we have a strategic advantage. Cooperatively capturing back margins that have been soaked up by market concentration in the pre and post-farm gate sectors. Margins that are legitimately due the sustainable providers of the food itself. (It's called leveling the playing field.)..."
Wendy R. Holm, P.Ag., April 2000 Column, Country Life in British Columbia

PUBLISHED ARTICLES AND COLUMNS:

For more background on the farmer tours and the Canada Cuba Farmer to Farmer Project, the following published columns are available as download-able PDF's:

Cuba's farmers went back to pre-chemical roots.  The future of food in Maine (and in the United
        States) is, irony of ironies, Cuba.  Kennebeck Journal, Aug 30, 2008

Meeting the real Cuba, face to face.  Edmonton Journal Aug 13, 2008
Do you know a deserving student?  Western Dairy Farmer Jan 2008
Dairy without borders.  Western Dairy Farmer Nov-Dec 2007
Beware a Conservative majority.  Western Dairy Farmer Sept-Oct 2007
International co-operation bestows accolades on dairy efforts.  Western Dairy Farmer July-Aug 2007
Ontario Dairy Farmers Abroad-Sustainable Dairy Circles in Cuba. Western Dairy Farmer July-Aug 2007
Long live the Pedestals - down with the King.  Western Dairy Farmer May-June 1007
Ontario dairy farmers helping in Cuba.  Rural Voice. May 2007
Canadian farmers triple dairy production at a Cuban cooperative.  Western Dairy Farmer Mar-Apr 2007
The Rumpelstiltskin Project:  Sewage to Milk, Bayamo.  Western Dairy Farmer  Jan-Feb 2007

The Cuban boot project and other tales...  Western Dairy Farmer.  Nov/Dec 2006.
The little project that could - a Christmas Story.  BC Holstein News, December 2005
Did you hear the one about the farmer's daughter?  Western Dairy Farmer, July/August 2005
Hypocrisy and Opportunity.  OPINION.  The Western Producer.  April 14, 2005.
Teaching our bovines to roar.  Western Dairy Farmer. 
May/June 2005.
What goes around comes around.  OPINION.  The Western Producer.  January 6, 2005.
Sharing Secrets - Three Canadian Dairy Farmers Bound for Cuba.  BC Holstein News, December 2005.
Plain and Simple Stuff.  BC Fruit Grower, September 2004
Respect is not an option...  Growers Journal, June/July 2004
Farmers without borders.  Country Life in BC.  February 2004 
The empowerment gap.  Country Life in BC.   December 2003
Cuban roots Canadian soul.  Country Life in BC.  January 2003
Making connections in Cuba.  Country Life in BC.  February 2001
Stories from the back roads of Cuba  Country Life in BC. December 2000
Falling in love with Cuba.  Country Life in BC. August 1998

For more background on the "bigger picture" issues behind this work - farmer-to-farmer, cooperative, bilateral capacity building - the following published columns are available as download-able PDF's:

Building a Better Tractor, Part 1 of 2,  Growers Journal, June/July 2004
Building a Better Tractor, Part 2 of 2,  Growers Journal, August/September 2004

OR click here to visit the Holm's Columns web page.

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WHO JOINS US?

Click here to see a distrbution of farmers who have come to Cuba with us by farm commodity by province and by gender.

CONTACT US

For more information or to register for a trip, send email to
Wendy Holm P. Ag. holm@farmertofarmer.ca

Also visit The Holm Team website at www.theholmteam.ca.


 
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