Day two we visited a few farms in the Varadero area. One farm was owned by a larger grouping of people, and the other farm was owned by an individual farmer. The farmers had different farming styles, and the farms had different purposes. The second farm was officially sponsored by Raol Castro and the federal government’s agricultural initiatives. We had an opportunity to meet government officials at the farm.
It is very interesting for me to see the way farmers live and work in Cuba. Growing up, I was more accustomed to seeing farms that were more industrial, and less organic and related to permaculture practises. Sometimes, the permaculture farms have a different appearance to them. They are less pristine-looking and more natural in their appearance. Yet, permaculture farms produce a great yield and are much better for their immediate ecosystems, and the environment in general.
Cubans, especially Cuban permaculture farmers are not at all wasteful. I notice this in the type of practices they engage in agriculturally, the wear and usage of their farming tools (which are still perfectly useful), and their attitude in general. It is nice to witness this, as it is a sharp contrast to Canadian culture. I wouldn’t call Canada a culture that condones wastefulness but is a country with a lot of wealth, and consumer culture in Canada is prevalent in many circles.
I think Canadian farmers and Cuban farmers, both industrial or permaculture practising farmers could learn a lot from each other, as they both take a lot of pride in what they produce, care about the land, and share similar values at the end of the day.