University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut


UConn Food and Revolution: The Cuban Experience (Winter) (Faculty-led)

The Program

The course will cover Cuba’s remarkable history pertaining to agricultural production and food security. During a time called the “special period,” Cuba experienced a severe food crisis due to the collapse of trade relations with the former Soviet Union and the ongoing U.S. trade embargo. Cuban society had to develop local solutions to meet the needs of agricultural inputs and to improve its own food production. As a result, efforts in sustainable agriculture, organic farming, and a strong development of biological controls for pest management have become a hallmark of Cuban agriculture. Nevertheless, challenges to production and access remain. The evolution of food systems continues in Cuba, and students will have the opportunity to meet with farmers, scientists, government officials, community leaders, and urban agriculture practitioners to learn about the history of and future vision for food production and food security.

Limited need-based scholarships of $500 are available for this program.

The Academics

You will earn 3 UConn graded credits in winter intersession (AGNR 3095: Food and Revolution: the Cuban Experience) in this program which is team taught by Dr. Ana Legrand, Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture and Dr. Steven Zinn, Department of Animal Science along with other Cuban faculty and guest speakers. This course can be used to meet the 36 credits of 2000 and above level courses requirement.

View a sample syllabus.pdf.  Syllabus :  link to be added.

It is expected that the students will increase their knowledge and understanding in:

  • Cuban history and culture
  • Impact of the revolution and other geopolitical events on agricultural production and food security.
  • Cuban solutions to agricultural production and distribution challenges
  • Sociocultural aspects and current transformation of food systems in Cuba
  • Environmental issues related to food production (i.e. adaptations to climate change)


Guest lectures – topics include:

  • US / Cuban Relations in regard to agriculture
  • Organic agriculture in Cuba
  • The transition from conventional to agroecological farming
  • Sustainable systems for animal production in the tropics
  • Sustainable vegetable production and organoponic systems
  • Urban agriculture in Cuba
  • Food security in Cuba


Cultural activities and excursions include:

  • Tour Old Havana
  • Jose Marti Memorial and Revolution Square
  • Visit to Los Estudios de Egrem (Buena Vista Social Club recording studio)
  • Jazz and salsa live music outings
  • Visit to art museums
  • Dining at farm to table restaurants
  • Trip to the eco-community Las Terrazas
  • Hike and swim in the Sierra del Rosario UNESCO Biosphere Reserve

The Experience

Students and instructors will reside in ‘residencias’ – student guest houses run by host families in the Vedado neighborhood in Havana, Cuba. Havana is an exciting city to visit due to its rich historical and cultural significance. The city is the fourth largest city in the Caribbean and in 1982 the Old Havana sector was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There will be plenty to see and experience in Havana. Classes and field trips will take place in several locations outside Havana. Students will spend time at the Institute of Animal Sciences, the National Center of Agricultural Health and the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences.  A significant portion of the course will entail visits to farms, agricultural communities and urban agriculture projects. In addition to the academic component, the course is designed to provide students with an exciting cultural exposure unique to Cuba.

The program includes:

  • Round trip flight to Havana, Cuba
  • Accommodations at a ‘residencia’ in Havana.
  • Daily meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • Transportation for excursions included in the program
  • Group airport pick-up and transfers in Cuba
  • Cuban visa and medical insurance
  • Excursions, special presentations, and guest speakers as described
  • 3 UConn credits


UConn fees: $3,535

Limited need-based scholarships of $500 are available for this program.

Budget Sheets: Winter
The Details

  • Location: Havana, Cuba
  • Terms: Winter
  • Homepage:

Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Winter 2018 10/02/2017 10/09/2017 01/03/2018 01/14/2018

Fact Sheet:

Class status: Academic area: Agriculture, Environmental Studies, Food Studies
Language of instruction: English Prior language study required:
Open to non-UConn students: Required GPA: 2.5