Monday, July 23, 2012


In 1996 we were a GMO Free, 100% organic, UK4 Soil Association Oregon Tilth certified company located in Durham, looking at Cuba as an organic supply line. NEEM was established in Durham at that time as an activist organization promoting neem in sustainable agriculture. We worked outside the USA in the equatorial belt countries where neem grows and the people impoverished (Latin basin, African diaspora & Central America). We promoted neem as a biological, naturally occurring, yearly harvest-able alternative to chemical inputs in agriculture and an answer to Malaria, Dengue, AIDS and numerous maladies that included potential for economic development. Countries that were codependent on gifted chemicals for agriculture and medicine, neither of which they could afford (as they remain today). Our objective was self reliance where we worked and opening production capability. We engaged with the Cuban's and their Neem Project director. 
Our company was organic but we were global, environmentally this was an issue. We learned about the new agricultural urban program during this time in Cuba where we encouraged use of neem. The global market exposure was our re-visit to how organic we really were and subsequently adopted a "local" mentality replicating the Cuban model as we do today at NEEM. We applaud the Cubans for staying on top of infrastructure required and thank them for all they have done for us.
Is neem an answer to global issue, we think so, we always have!  
Biofactory built for neem insecticide
Written by AIN
Guantanamo. - Biofactory to produce insecticide from the neem tree is built in the arid coastal strip south of Guantanamo, where blooms the plant, known as the toothbrush of indigenous peoples.

Among its many uses, this bush scientific name Azadirachta indica A. Juss, is used for cleaning and brushing of the teeth in the Asian and African continents, where it is common to see their native inhabitants with a small slice, for oral bacterial infection.

But in Guantanamo priority will be its use as a biological insecticide, mainly in the planting of vegetables, meats and fruit Caujerí Valley, said today the engineer Soraya García Pavón, for a series of conferences and scientific panels that develops in this city, in salute to July 26.

Neem provides the substance called azadirachtin, which interferes with the metamorphosis of the larvae of insect pests, and therefore the reproduction of these in the areas planted, said the specialist at the Center for Applied Research for Sustainable Development (CATEDES).

He said that that is the result of biofactory international collaborative project funded by the Cuban government, supported by the Small Grants Programme of the Global Environment.

Its production will favor more than 1300 hectares of the valley, which benefit from August 2010 to one of the waterworks in the country: the diversion of the river to the dam Sabanalamar Pozo Azul.

For over five years, the introduction of Nim increased forested area in the arid coastal strip south of Guantanamo, where hundreds of hectares have been enriched by this plant, several species associated with timber and fruit.

That task was the work of the Sector to Combat Desertification and Drought CATEDES subordinate entity.

The initiative to host the semi-desert landscape to the Nim tree is considered by environmental experts as one of the outstanding achievements of the scientific community Guantanamo.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Democracy is more than just a word"

"Democracy is more than just a word". "There can be no democracy where there is hunger, unemployment and injustice." 

This is a call to to American companies, come home - do the right thing. We used to be self sustaining, we can be again. American companies continue to move companies, production and labor to other countries. I say if your business is somewhere other than here, then you are not an American corporation but a colonialist corporation and should declare that allegiance.
There is no middle class anymore and that is in and of itself dangerous! 
Huey Long said in 1963 that fascism would come to America in the guise of fear. Was he right after 911? Or, are we really a Socialist State with so many on social programs (statistics don't consider the self employed) and we just can't admit it? 
In 1864 90% of businessmen in America were farmers, self employed. 10% were shopkeepers who carried goods for the farmers. Our country depended on no one, we took advantage of oceans of separation. We stayed out of peoples business, completely independent. What happened? 
After the Industrial Revolution we were the powerhouse, we were the industrial giant. We are dependent now on the high tech revolution that replaced the vacated position of the Industrial revolution. An industry that's history is replacement of people as it improves. 
We are a consumer/service society codependent on countries whose influence and ownership in the U.S. is like some stock or bond they hold as a majority shareholder; poised to make changes we the people have nothing to say about. Have we lost our way? Have we lost our minds?  
Cuba seeks to be self sufficient. This is positive thinking towards self preservation. If they can do it there, we can do it here. Cuba is too a consumer/service society. Its an island so to be clear they ship in 60% of their food. Never-the-less, 90% of the vegetables consumed in Havana are grown in Havana. That is a big number. 60% of daily dietary requirements are met and produced or raised in Havana.

What we need to do is go somewhere where we are deprived of these high tech things that keep us all busy. Things that have woven themselves into our lives. That keep us constantly connected and always available, constantly accessible with no real time left in the day. 
How would it be to find yourself inaccessible but in a culturally invigorating atmosphere. 
What about going to a place where your cell phone doesn't work, you only have 15 minutes on the internet every two days, no real advertising, no computer,3 channel TV shuts off at 12PM and the land line doesn't ring. Does this sound like 1950/60 when we all had one phone in the kitchen, 3 channels, free TV and radio, no answer machine and time to be Human!
A place where there are no fear reminders of losing homes, hostile billing, negative Ads and actual truthful educated discussions on climate and ecology resulting in meaningful answers and action. Where there are not homeless people laying on the corner, kids go to school until 12th grade, everyone has a house, health care is free, almost crime-less, 33,000 urban farms that hire 480,000 people, almost self sufficient, Sustainable/Organic, everyone eats something, great music and art, the best people you will come to know, a culture where people work to live instead of "live to work". A place where there is no prepared or fast food.
A place that by virtue of going is a statement towards effecting positive change,an opportunity to display Democratic values and when you come home will share the good things you learned to our benefit here?
You would not return the same, you would feel misinformed and know that without real information regular people cannot make an educated decision.
We replicate the Cuban model, it is successful and it works. It is irrelevant what the politics are to degrees other than you also will know that there is not a demonic force murdering peasants for land like Batista.
No you will return with great ideas for your community. Ideas you will work to bring to fruition and relish the time you had when no one could contact you.

Cuba Travel@HavanaMan
check out Cuba Travel - delegations on Sustainable Agriculture; Roll w/Pro’s at NEEM since 2003

Thursday, July 12, 2012


What comes with 16 years experience in travel to Cuba? The hidden, the real  & the sustainable CUBA. The Culinary and undiscovered Cuba.
We have a "Cuba attitude", NEEM delegates have fun; a great time in and out of the itinerary. You go places and see things others have not (including our Cuban counterparts). With very few exceptions, Cuba delegates with NEEM will not return to hear another person who traveled with a group talk about the same places we go. Our delegations are unique, not flipped. We are "Seed to Plate" A Wandering Feast.. As an environmentalist Executive Chef Farmer and musician you can expect to go to the best restaurant's but at the best prices. You might even find yourself in the jungle, surrounded by Royal palms eating Carne Asada slow cooked over an open flame draped in palm by a Cuban Chef. (We do not list the restaurants or they become a find then expensive).Our hosts, driver and interpreter eat with us, not at a separate table. Do you want to go to a free live Jam one night during your free time where musicians pour out into a hidden courtyard and play Bata, Rumba, Folklorica? We're going, so come along, its awesome.  We have undiscovered, cool and lesser known spots where we stay that are incredible (we only list hotel's in our ads, final itinerary will have accommodations). When we stay at Hotels, we don't always stay at the best but we make sure we stay where you can change money, get a cab and reasonable internet access. We had that experience once and we won't again. Why spend free time chasing currency exchange (they will not have if theyu don't), cabs or hours in the internet cafe. Depending on where you stay, this can become an issue and actually more expensive than a nicer place. Bottom line is we are still cheap even at the good hotels. We include a leisurely night in Miami and smooth transition to MIA to Havana AND round trip airfare from always included. 

Are we serious about what we do, yes? Food security, self sufficiency and sustainability are important topics of the day, what we do here in the States and why you are there. know body said it had to be boring. Our itineraries work as well for the novice as they do for the professional. It is always relaxed and no matter where or how hard times are there for our hosts, we will be treated as honored guests with a modicum of manners and gentality that only the Cuban people can provide. Something I Americans have forgot.
Either way you cut it, you will not come home the same, you will as they say in Sancti Spritus "return to the waters".

   [read more...] 2012 CUBA delegations.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Involved in Cuba since 1996 NEEM is the only sustainable agricultural organization leading delegations to Cuba on Agroecology & Sustainable Agriculture.  Why NEEM? We know the farmers. Since 2003 NEEM has lead licensed unique delegations engaging ordinary Cuban people hosted with our partners, the founders of the sustainable movement in Cuba.
What comes with 16 years experience ? The hidden, the real  & the sustainable CUBA  [read more...]  2012 CUBA delegations.