Sunday, June 10, 2012


NEEM is an organization in Durham but a part of us is in Cuba

We would like to congratulate the organizing committee for bringing so many together for such a professional and well coordinated IX International Congress! 

   We just returned from Cuba after attending the IX International Congress on sustainable and organic agriculture. The theme was Agroecology and the focus the urban sector. 
    We were part of a group comprised of representatives from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Japan, Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico with NEEM representing the U.S. and North Carolina. It was interesting to see, and engage, with multicultural groups and get perspective on techniques they are using to address issues of food security in their countries. It is after all through dialogue and engagement with others that allows us to expand on our horizons. It was a magnificent and beneficial experience with cross cultural collaborations established. It was truly interesting to experience yet again the Cuba model along with all of the representative countries and their particular approach towards "Food  Security". 
    Meetings we had at the International level were inspiring. 
    Our presentation to the congress was "The Agroecological Farm as a Fulcrum for Sustainable Community Development" and "PEAK WATER" as an issue we cannot avoid. The presentation was well received and the interest outside Agroecology was very high on the Rain Water Harvesting Systems and sustainable management projects of NEEMs. Water is a problem in the United States but not as pronounced as in some of these representative countries. Cuba for instance does not harvest rain for agricultural purposes. We will work with and through the Canadian Consulate for an RWH and Sustainable Orchard management project. Very exciting if it actually comes to pass. 
    Dr. Fernando Funes won an the life time achievement award where his work in Agroecology, sustainable agriculture in the urban, sub urban and rural sectors were acknowledged. We are proud to work with and call him our friend. His and his families work represents a lifetime off untiring efforts to promote Agroecological concepts for a better future.
Jeff Ensminger 
    Travel as a NEEM Delegate: There are now new delegation dates added for August/September w/October almost full and December sold out. We are most excited to be receiving our "People to People" Exchange license from OFAC for our NEEM "Seed to Plate" AG related delegations.


Below is an article with what I thought would be interesting information from our friend Idalmis.

 “Urban and suburban agriculture is here to stay”

Cuba now has more than 33,000 urban and suburban farms, a project the island is promoting to increase sustainable food production in an attempt to slash costly imports.

“Urban and suburban agriculture is here to stay,” the president of the Cuban Association of Agricultural and Forestry Technicians, Idalmis Nazco, said at the inauguration of the 9th International Meeting of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture in Havana.
Among the project’s advantages, the specialist noted that since its introduction more than 15 years ago, urban and suburban agriculture has proved to be a movement toward sustainable production, with community participation and the advantage of bringing the source of produce closer to the consumer.
He said there are currently more than 33,000 urban and suburban plots dedicated to growing fruit, vegetables and other edibles, according to the Institute for Fundamental Research in Tropical Agriculture.
According to Nazco, this is an experience that has caught the interest of growers and specialists in 22 countries including Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, France, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and the United States, all taking part in the meeting.
The delegates visited farms, plots, patios and agricultural cooperatives to have a direct exchange of information with the growers.