Cuban expert to speak on co-ops

Mavis Dora Alvarez to talk to Sooke FoodCHI on Oct. 22

Mavis Dora Alvarez

What do Vancouver Islanders and Cubans have in common? Cuba produces only 20 per cent of its food supply, and on Vancouver Island, less than 10 percent of the food supply is produced locally.

The Sooke Region Food CHI Society, with support from Vancity, invites the public to a talk by Mavis Dora Alvarez, one of Cuba’s foremost experts on the development of sustainable agriculture through farming cooperatives.

Alvarez will discuss the role of farming cooperatives in sustainable food production in Cuba.

An agronomist and educator, Alvarez is a member of the United Nations Development Programme’s Palma Project, an advisor to the Canadian International Development Agency, and was a member of the national leadership of the Cuban National Association of Small Farmers for 40 years.

According to Alvarez, “Cuba’s cooperative movement needs to exchange our experience with other countries and in particular with other farmers. This is important to achieve food security and build a better world, and is why I am in Canada now.  Cubans believe building on the values of cooperatives is the best way to defend our values as a society and achieve social justice.”

“In the last 10 years, Cuba has undergone a “peak oil” experience. But here on Vancouver Island, we don’t need to wait for a peak oil experience to improve food security – we can support our local farmers, now,” says Phoebe Dunbar, Sooke Food CHI director. “We are delighted to have this rare opportunity to hear from one of Cuba’s cooperative farming leaders.”

Sustaining Small Farms: the power of community

with Cuba’s Mavis Dora Alvarez, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, 7 – 9 p.m., Sooke Baptist Church, 7110 West Coast Road, Sooke, B.C.

Suggested donation $5. Bring an appetizer to share.

www.sookefoodchi.ca

Sooke Region Food CHI Society (Community Health Initiative) is working to create a vibrant, sustainable foodshed for our area. Our region is rooted in local production, historical and First Nations’ knowledge and environmental stewardship. Concerned individuals, producers and consumers have joined together to foster the knowledge of growing food.

Food CHI was formed in 2007 and is supported by local government, the Sooke region communities, corporations and foundations. Sooke Food CHI has gained much success with innovative farm mentorship programs, supporting new farmers, establishing a Farmer2Farmer network and voice, hosted farm tours, created award winning Sunriver Community Gardens, a community orchard, Sooke’s own Seedy Saturday, and hosted a number of special events and feasts.