Saturday, December 26, 2015

December 16, 2015

Harmless lizards and a snake shared the room for some of us overnight in the Villa Hatuey.

Breakfast in the cafeteria at Indo Hatuey

After breakfast (cafeteria style) we were given a tour of the facilities, which included silk worm, ornamental grasses, vegetable and biogas production. In the afternoon we had presentations from staff and the local municipality of Perico who are interested in bringing the ecopueblo concept to their locality.

Map of local agriculture impacted by Indio Hatuey

Classroom discussion/presentation at Indo Hatuey about ecopueblos and local agriculture

We then left for Havana and on the way stopped by the Finca Campesina Placido Gonzalez (aka Placido farm) in Cardenas, Matanzas province where we received a tour from Fernando Donis. The farm was an excellent example of integrated animal and plant agriculture with an emphasis upon creating and maintaining a closed system, i.e. no external inputs, which is the agroecological way. In the animal category there were cattle, swine, poultry and rabbits. In the plant category we saw turmeric, banana, elderberry, and moringa. We also saw biogas and micronutrients production, the later which has multiple uses including antiparasital, fly control, smell mitigation, among other benefits. The micronutrient production we saw uses forest litter, milk and other ingredients. 

Dr. Fernando Funes and Fernando Donis (left to right)

More views of Placido farm

 Nursery beds with bird house beyond

 The farm had ducks, peacocks and chickens

 Poster about the finca

Turmeric between the orchard rows 

There was an amazing natural chemical injection system for the greenhouse built from a large plastic soft drink bottle, a counter weight and fluid tubing. This instead of the expensive and almost impossible to obtain (in Cuba) electromechanical chemical injection systems requiring electricity. This was appropriate technology at its best (see pictures below)!

 The software drink bottle fills up with nutrients then its full weight causes it to tilt forward where it when injects the secret sauce into the water supply supplying the greenhouse plants. When the bottle empties its contents, it springs back to be refilled again with nutrients.

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