From Marion to Cuba

Nov 2, 2019

MARION — Nine participants from a thirteen person collaboration between the Sippican Lands Trust and Marion-based travel company Cuba Up Close departed from Marion Village on the morning of Nov. 2 on a seven-day trip to Cuba. 

As part of the partnership, some of the funds for the trip will be donated back to the Sippican Lands Trust. 

Jean Fuller Gest, the coordinator for Cuba Up Close said that the trip includes many lectures and talks in addition to the usual touristy things. She also arranged some special moments, such as a private concert with an acclaimed jazz artist. 

Several people had long coats on for the departure, but with a cheery “87 and sunny in Havana!” Fuller Gest encouraged them that better weather was ahead. 

She was also easily able to tie the trip back to its partnership with the Lands Trust, 

The coordinator called Cuba, “very interesting from an environmental standpoint. All the food, for one, is organic. This was not necessarily out of choice but out of necessity.”

She explained that because the country was isolated after the fall of the Solviet bloc it was “forced to fend for itself.” As a result, farmers moved away from sugar production and developed small farm cooperatives. 

“Oxen replaced tractors and still today these ancient farming methods are in place,”  Fuller Gest, said, adding, “In 2006, a World Wildlife Fund report called Cuba the only country with sustainable development. It has a lot to teach us.”

The tour group will travel to Old Havana, the beaches of Cayo Jutias, and the Museo de Bellas Arte, among other places. 

Jim Bride, executive director of the Sippican Lands Trust, said that the “Sippican Lands Trust is thrilled to be partnering with Cuba Up Close on this exciting and in-depth exploration of Cuba.”