Invitation: Agroecology Training and International Encounter in Cuba, November 2013

Maintaining what has now become a biennial tradition, La Via Campesina International and the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) of Cuba will host the following events:

  • Nov. 10-16, 2013: Training course on the agroecology movement and methodology in Cuba by ANAP
  • Nov. 17-24, 2013: 4th International Encounter of the farmer-to-farmer (campesino a campesino) agroecology movement.
  • Nov. 25-29, 2013: Special course for NFU members and allies on the methodology of farmer-to-farmer methodology by La Via Campesina and ANAP.

As in previous meetings, the Sustainable Peasant Agriculture Commission of LVC will organize an international delegation to this LVC meeting. All NFU members are invited, particularly if you are interested to learn more about the technical, political, economic, social and organizational aspects of agroecology. For more information about the work of Via Campesina on agroecology, you can consult this document online.

Please note that all participants are expected to self-fund. Costs and program descriptions are detailed here. You must bring cash ($CDN) with you - credit cards and cheques are not usable in Cuba.

If you would like to attend one or more of these events, or if you have any questions, please contact the International Program Committee (IPC) Coordinator, Stephanie Wang. From among those who will be participating in the events, the IPC would like to select two members (one woman and one man) to act as official representatives of the NFU. When writing to us, please mention if you are interested to be an official representative.

- The International Program Committee

About Farmer to Farmer methodology (FtF)

FtF is the most successful method of promoting and sharing farmer innovation and horizontal learning. Throughout history, farmers have always innovated and shared their know-how, but the most up-to-date and detailed version of doing this was developed locally in Guatemala and spread throughout Mesoamerica at the beginning of the 1970s. FtF is a Freirian (from Paulo Freire) method of horizontal communication, or social process methodology, used by peasant promoters who have developed new and novel solutions to problems that many farmers are confronted with, or have recovered/rediscovered ancient traditional solutions. This popular education methodology is employed to allow farmers and peasants to share knowledge with their peers by using their own farms as classrooms. A basic central theme of FtF is that farmers and peasants are more likely to believe and follow their peers who are successfully applying a novel solution on their own farms if they see it with their own eyes. In Cuba, peasants have a saying: “When the peasant sees, he believes.”

To date, it is in Cuba that FtF has had the most impact, because the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP, Cuba), a member of La Via Campesina (LVC), adopted it with the conscious and explicit objective of building a grassroots agroecology movement within its organization. In less than ten years, the process has transformed the old production systems into diversified and integrated agroecological systems, and has spread to over a third of Cuba’s peasant families - a surprising growth rate. During this same period, the peasants that converted to agroecology dramatically increased their share of overall national production. Other benefits have been realized, such as reduced use of chemical and other inputs purchased off the farm (greater autonomy) and increased resilience with respect to climate change. For all these reasons, LVC has set out to send several exchange delegations to Cuba, which has considerably strengthened the process of agroecology development within LVC internationally.

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