Cuban Agriculture: Finca L’Armonia Ecologica (Permaculture Farm), Viñales
Day 5 – Saturday January 11 (Viñales) late afternoon
After lunch at Finca Paraiso restaurant and a tour of their beautiful farm, we visited
Finca L’Armonia (Ecological Permaculture Farm)
Our 27-year-old host farmer Yoani arrived on horseback. He is farming 1 hectare (2.2 acres) of his family of origin’s 13 hectares. It is a lovely farm. The farmer had twice been to France for permaculture training. His mother, sister, and grandfather farm the other 12 hectares as a coop that sells to the government (we saw part of this in a fenced area of shaded annual crops). He does permaculture on his portion.
He grows two varieties of coffee (trees his grandfather planted) and had coffee for sale in plastic water bottles. Because tourists are urged to drink only bottled water, empty water bottles are a convenient container for any kinds of seeds, as we saw at the bean seed conservation center, Finca Hoyo Bonito (see March 17 2020 post). He also grows passionfruit, avocado, pineapples, mangoes, and other fruit trees including Cuban pears.
He maintains worm bins and a composting toilet (top quality!) – the first composting toilet we saw on our tour. I am surprised there are not more composting toilets in the rural areas. Some tourist spots have horrible restrooms!
My room-mate Julia and I had dinner at our casa, cooked by our hosts. We had soup, salad, rice, red snapper fish, ice cream with honey. All delicious.
In the evening I did some shopping at a souvenir street market in Viñales.
Here is a video about this farm, from Franny’s Farmacy. Made by two of my fellow travelers on the OGS Tour.
For a longer video, about Agroecological Farming in Cuba in general, see the 2017 Agroecology in Cuba, with English subtitles, by Lepore y van Caloen
To read more about the Organic Growers School organized trips and Cuban agriculture, see this article written by our fantastic tour guide Yoseti Herrera Guitián, who started working as a tour guide in 2013 with Amistur Cuba, a specialized tourism travel agency that is part of ICAP (Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples). She has worked with diverse groups focused on topics such as health, education, culture and mostly agriculture. Open as a new page here: https://organicgrowersschool.org/cuba-through-the-seasons
or click the link below, which will redirect you.