A Memorable Meal in Cuba

Tasnim Elboute | 07.27.2016

This post is about Food First’s Food Sovereignty Tour to Cuba. To learn more about our upcoming Cuba trip or to register, click here.

The sculptures and ceramic art pieces scattered in between towering fruit trees are the first thing you notice upon arrival to Finca Coincidencia, one of the many farms visited on the Food Sovereignty tour to Cuba. Here, participants get to meet and enjoy a meal with Hector, an artist and agriculturalist.

On Food First’s tour, participants learn about Cuba’s food sovereignty movement with a focus on the nation’s wide-scale transition into agroecological farming. Trip-goers experience the results of national policy that prioritizes organic food production.

From finding coconut trees and enjoying fresh coconut water to visiting a farm that’s redefining the locally sourced meal, various aspects of Cuba’s food culture are sampled. For Thalia Morin, an anthropology student from the Rio Grande valley in Texas, the meal she enjoyed at Finca Coincidencia was her favorite memory of Cuba. She described the meal that was prepared with food solely from Hector’s farm, even the grains.

“We had moringa soup from his moringa tree. There were sweet potatoes and various squashes and beans. Hector also makes cheese, so we had cheese with mulberry marmalade,” Thalia listed.

The food out of Hector’s kitchen sheds new light on locally sourced meals as all of the plate and bowls use to serve his family’s produce came out of his kiln. Serving meals cooked from farm fresh ingredients on ceramics made on the farm beautifully blurs the lines between art and agriculture. Hector’s artistic pursuits complement his farming – both physically through artwork displayed at the farm and financially.

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The group’s visit to Finca Coincidencia was part of string of visits to farms that are able to supplement their income from food production with another farm-based activity. Hector and his family rely on selling ceramics products, specifically terracotta vases and pots, to keep their farm economically afloat during more difficult times.

As an anthropology major, getting to be immersed in a new culture, trying to understand a different socio-political system, and simultaneously exploring issues of food and power has offered new insights to her field. Most importantly for Thalia, it was a chance to find inspiration for change at home.

Thalia is hoping to bring newly learned lessons about food back home to the Rio Grande valley. “I live in a community that has high levels of obesity, diabetes, and poverty. I’m thinking about models to implement in my own community.” Thalia’s hope for changing the high rates of diet-related disease and food access in her community is refreshed after traveling the Cuban foodscape.

“Everyone was very active in the learning process, had a lot of great things to say and contribute,” Thalia said.

By going on the trip with a diverse group of participants — farmers, students, researchers, and food movement activists — there was wealth of knowledge shared between participants of tour. Many people are attracted to food sovereignty tours for this very reason — the chance travel with others who are also deeply interested in food.

This post is about Food First’s Food Sovereignty Tour to Cuba. To learn more about our upcoming Cuba trip or to register, click here.