Food Sovereignty and Cooperative Production
March 22 – 30, 2014
This tour offers a unique opportunity to get to know the Basque Country, Euskal Herria, through the eyes of local farmers and sovereignty activists. Agriculture and food play key economic and social roles within Basque society by preserving important threatened traditions. The Basque people are one of the oldest ethnic groups in Europe, with a strong sense of autonomy and a cooperative community structure forming much of what it means to be Basque. While cooperative, sustainable land use and production have been traditional forms of life, in the last century industrialization, nation-building, and, most recently, factors such as EU agricultural policy, have greatly impacted this lifestyle.
Though small, Euskal Herria is geographically diverse, from dramatic mountain ranges and the breath-taking northern coast, to the plains and Rioja wine growing valleys in the south. In much of Euskal Herria, there has been a strong presence of small farming communities, characterized by the “caserio” or family farm that specialize in cheese, wine, cider and other traditional products. While staying on these traditional farms, you will learn first-hand about the challenges faced by caserios and their deep commitment to cooperative work, trade and sustainable practices.
On this tour, you will meet with a wide range of community leaders and visit various projects including the world-renowned Mondragón Cooperative: Humanity at Work, collectively organized CSAs, traditional farmers’ markets and community gardens. In addition, you will visit Basque nature preserves and important capitals of commerce and Basque culture, such as Bilbao and San Sebastian.
This delegation is hosted by the Basque Farmers’ Union, EHNE (Euskal Herriko Nekazarien Elkartasuna), member of the international peasant movement Via Campesina. EHNE farmers will be your main guides, sharing their experiences, food traditions and political culture. From the sea to the farm, experience the struggle for food sovereignty as part of the broader struggle for regional sovereignty, alternative food production and community self-sufficiency against the striking landscape of Euskal Herria.
.Tour highlights include:
- Discuss Basque culture and food sovereignty with members of EHNE (Euskal Herriko Nekazarien Elkartasuna), the Basque Farmers’ Union
- Stay in farmer-owned bed & breakfasts in the beautiful basque countryside
- Visit the fish market in Bermeo (Bizkaia)
- Visit the farmers’ market and town of Guernica, site of Franco’s devastating bombing in 1937
- Tour the world-famous Mondragón Cooperative and meet with members to discuss the Mondragón cooperative model
- Eat traditional Basque cuisine at farmhouse restaurants and Basque ciderhouses
- Basque wine tasting in La Rioja
- Visit agricultural cooperatives, CSAs and artisan food producers (cheese, meat, fruits and vegetables)
- Visit the ecological reserve at Urkiola National Park
- Spend a day visiting farms in the French Basque Country
- Dinner in a “txoko” (a private gastronomical club that meets to cook and experiment in the kitchen and socialize with friends)
Tour Price – $2400
Price will include
- Three star hotel accommodations
- 2-3 meals per day
- Translation of all program activities into English
- All in-country transportation, including airport transfers
- Food First policy analyst on entire trip, all activities, local guides, guest speakers
- Price is based on double room accommodations; add $300 for single room
- Food First Membership
Price does not include
- Airfare to and from Bilbao
- Beverages, gratuities
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenditures, etc.
For more information, contact Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 654-4400 ext. 223
Hear from Basque Country Tour Participants!
“Coming to meet these groups under the umbrella of Food First has opened doors and allowed us a window into an understanding of Basque culture as well as inspired us by modeling a more food sovereign future.” – Martha Rosemeyer, Basque Country
“Thanks for an incredible experience in Basque Country. I will be keeping the trip alive in my kitchen and garden. The dried Basque peppers made it through customs and I plan to get the seeds planted in my garden soon. The Basque experience continues!” – Cynthia Newcomb, Basque Country
“This was basically a very ‘human’ tour. By ‘human’, I mean being together and meeting with other people, talking to other people, exchange with the people living in the country you are visiting, experience this country in all its dimensions with its people, listening to them while they explain to you their life, their difficulties and challenges, the place where they live, the history of their country, their culture, their organization, their daily problems and aspirations, the way they look at their society.
The Tour was quite well organized. Right from the beginning. With a thick documentation made available before we started about the Basque country, its history, culture, cuisine etc. [The Tour Coordinator] did an outstanding job, showed a lot of sensitivity towards everyone of us and was both strict and flexible. Congratulations and many thanks.” -Jean Feyder, Basque Country