Planting Seeds “Cocina Abierta”

In December of 2012 Green Cities Fund sponsored a visit to Havana by a delegation of organic food experts and chefs trained at Berkeley’s famed Chez Panisse Restaurant. The purpose of the trip, whose planning took almost a year, was to initiate a dialogue between Cuban and U.S. advocates of sustainable, organic agriculture, with the goal of improving the Cuban diet through local food production and permaculture, and to advance independent worker cooperatives under the new economic policies of the Cuban Government. For the first time the owners and chefs of the paladares (private restaurants) in the Havana area sat down and discussed how they might better work together with themselves, with communities and with the government, which still imports 70% of the food Cubans eat. The challenges faced are reflected in an interview with one of the Chez Panisse chefs, Cuban-American Danielle Alvarez. Plans are now under way for the development of an independent teaching facility, “Cocina Abierta”, to promote the ideals of good diet, permaculture and sustainability.  The institution will include an outreach program to schools and institutions throughout Cuba. With the help of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, State Senator Loni Hancock and former Florida Governor and Senator Bob Graham, Green Cities Fund has now been granted a license to legally transfer funds to Cuba to acquire and improve a teaching facility and commence an ongoing “Planting Seeds” program.  Funders are now being approached, and inquiries welcomed.

Imogene Tondre, who spearheaded Cocina Abierta in Cuba, is a scholar of Cuban food culture and recently co-authored the seminal book on Cuban cuisine: “Cuba,The Cookbook” offers a hands on Cuban cuisine experience during your visit.  Simply indicate your interest in the Cuba Travel application.

More recently famed Bay Area chef and restaurateur Narsai David has joined the “Planting Seeds” team.

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Green Cities Fund
725 Washington Street, Suite 300
Oakland, California 94607 

Be sure to designate which project you wish to support – “Planting Seeds”, Palma Soriano “Sister City” Clean Water Project, Fondam, Prey Lang forest project, Parwaz Microfinance, Chi-Em microfinance, Vietnam Green Building Council, Send A Piana to Havana, or the Vietnam Algae Biofuel Project.  General fund contributions to support our ongoing project development and overhead (less than 5%) are also welcome.  100% of your donation is passed through to the designated project. Green Cities Fund, Inc. is a California Public Benefit corporation and is tax exempt under California law and Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.