Basque Country: Food Sovereignty and Cooperative Production

March 22, 2014March 30, 2014

This is a Food Sovereignty Tour brought to you by Food First/the Institute for Food and Development Policy in partnership with Global Exchange Reality Tours. Guided by local expert guides as well as a Food First policy analyst, you will gain rare access to rural communities, through the eyes of local farmers and sovereignty activists working for food and climate justice in the Basque Country, Euskal Herria.

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.

On this delegation, you will stay in Basque farmer-owned guesthouses and learn about the struggles and triumphs of Basque history and share delicious, local, cooperatively grown food.

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.

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.

For more information, contact Katie at or (510) 654-4400 ext. 223

Program Highlights may 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 during the grape harvest
  • 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)
Price Includes: 
  • All in-country transportation during the tour including airport transfers
  • Three-star hotel accommodations in farmer-operated bed & breakfasts
  • 2meals per day
  • Food First policy analyst on entire trip, all activities, local guides, guest speakers
  • Preparatory reading materials

Does not Include

  • International airfare
  • Most beverages
  • Tips
  • Insurance
How to Register: 

Please register Online with Food Sovereignty Tours

For more information, contact Katie at or (510) 654-4400 ext. 223

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