Late last year, the International Permaculture Conference 11 (IPC 11) took place in Cuba and Australian attendees have reported on their visits …
Robyn Francis reports…
Robyn Francis, seasoned international permaculture traveller and educator based at Djanbung Gardens in northern NSW, wrote of her experiences on her blog.
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April Sampson-Kelly reports…
April Sampson-Kelly, who offers an online permaculture design course from her home in NSW’s Illawarra region and is a performing flamenco dancer, the favorite part of the journey in Cuba was meeting local nutrition celebrities.
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Here, newcomer, Asher Landes, writes his of experiences in Cuba…
“My life’s work and dreams have largely been within the urban environment. Coming from an internship at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm and before that a career as a chef in Melbourne, Cuba was a Mecca of sustainability, and thus the International Permaculture Conference in La Habana an inevitability!
“In the lead up to the conference, my partner Zaro and I had a couple of weeks to explore the host nation. The ‘organiponico revolution’ at first seemed non-apparent, reflective in the scarcity of vegetables on the menu at our home stays, among other signs. Yet, like a couple of chooks, we were only scratching the surface.
“From the moment the doors opened, the social buzz at the conference was contagious. The IPC was undoubtedly the strongest barrier-breaking experience I have been through to date. Every person in the grand hall of the Havana Libre Hotel was fair game. This became clear in one precise moment. Looking for a seat at lunch, I saw an older gentlemen sporting a mighty moustache. His name was Scott; mine Asher. He was from New Mexico; I was from Melbourne. He taught around the world with Bill; I was an excited novice breaking into the scene. Scott Pittman, permaculture guru and policing authority on PDC’s around the world; Asher Landes, excited to talk to everyone!
“I’d say it’s easy to romanticise the modesty of the Cuban lifestyle. In reality, many Cubans we met look to the west with envy. I take away the hope that the work of people like Ron Berezan and Javin Bernakevitch can help revitalise the organiponico and permaculture movements in Cuba.
“Though we found the aggressive tourist trade, confusing currency and economics extremely confronting we were deeply moved by the complicated day-to-day reality that the Cuban people face.
The time we spent with locals was heartfelt, wholesome and inspiring. Their positive energy and outlook in the face of oppression is something I will take away forever. Viva Marc Anthony and Robin Clayfield on the dance floor… I will never forget Cuba and the IPC.”