Scholarship Winners: Food Sovereignty Tour Cuba 2017

John Spradling | 11.27.2017

Thanks to the generosity of Food Sovereignty Tour donors, we have sent 3 food sovereignty activists to Cuba, enabling them to learn from their agroecological revolution and to bring their knowledge back to their local community. From California and North Carolina, these food activists will learn firsthand what happens when national policy prioritizes organic farming and remediating hunger. The trip will focus on Cuba’s dramatic transition into agroecological farming practices and the institutions that made this shift possible.

Meet the Recipients

Chanowk Yisrael

Chanowk Yisrael, Founder of The Yisrael Family Urban Farm, is a husbandman & community activist. Born and raised in Sacramento, he traveled across the country for 10 years on the dime of corporate America, before deciding to trade-in his frequent flyer miles for seeds and soil.

Chanowk’s parents are both cancer survivors and these events prompted Chinook to transition himself and his family to a plant-based diet. It is here that The Yisrael Family Urban Farm was born.

The Yisrael Family Urban Farm is transforming the hood for good using urban agriculture as a tool to engage, employ and empower communities.  This is done through primarily agriculture education, culinary classes, and youth mentorship.

Madaly Alcala

Madaly Alcala works at the nonprofit Fresh Approach where she manages a mobile farmers’ market, making fresh and local produce accessible to Bay Area communities. During her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, she studied Society and Environment, with an emphasis on sustainability and environmental justice.

Looking forward to the Food Sovereignty Tour in Cuba, Madaly is excited to witness agroecology in action as a science, practice, and movement. For her, agroecology is liberation for campesinos and communities alike.

Sera Deva

Sera came across Food First Food Sovereignty tours in June 2014 as she was finishing her B.S. in Agroecology and Genetics at The Evergreen State College. Her last class, Tropical Cropping Systems, extensively explored international agricultural issues and justice.

Stay in the loop with Food First!

Get our independent analysis, research, and other publications you care about to your inbox for free!

Sign up today!

Currently, her organization, Organic Growers School, in Asheville, NC, is considering organizing a Cuba tour through Altruvistas in the Spring of 2018, thanks to the robust curriculum and connections they have made through organizing with Food First.

Sera is using this opportunity not only to visit Cuba and learn about Cuban agriculture for her own personal interests, but also to experience the curriculum to help adapt it and it be appropriate for a new audience.

Stay tuned for the experience of all three farmers, diving into their stories from our Cuba Food Sovereignty Tour!

For more information about our upcoming Food Sovereignty Tours, please visit