In Romania: Focus on the small farmers involved in community supported agriculture!
More than 30 persons, small farmers and consumers, spent an entire weekend near Odorheiu-Secuiesc in order to discuss about CSA models and practices. The meeting was organized on June18-19, in the framework of the Be part of CSA! training program. It was a great chance to visit a CSA farm from Harghita county, which is the first CSA farm from this region. The visit on the farm put in evidence the great work to grow vegetables in a region which is not very appropriate for this activity.
Participants discussed about traditional practices to cultivate vegetables, to combat pests, the sources of traditional seeds. Also, the participants had the chance to present their own experience, as producer or consumer interested in CSA system.
Also, during the training, we invited two specialist to present information about planning tools (crop-planer) and traditional practices for ecological agriculture.
The most important results of the training:
- high participation rate- 8 CSA producers from Romania participated to this training. Also, we have a great participation from consumers. The total number of participants to this training was 35 persons;
- the possibility to exchange information from different CSA around Romania – each partnership was presented by the producers and consumers involved in CSA;
- non-formal training methods allowed to the participants to expressed their opinion and experience. The training put in evidence that every experience is important and valuable – the participants felt in a safe and trusted environment to communicate, even if some of them have not developed communication skills
- increase the confidence in the CSA movement;
- the training allowed to discuss with producers and consumers some issues as criteria for complementary products, standards used in ASAT for the selection of new producers.
The participants appreciated this training very much and they recommended organizing similar meetings in the future, in order to facilitate the exchange of experiences and peer to peer education.
The real smells and tastes of CSA KomPot: the 4th and last “Be part of CSA” seminar in practice in the Czech Republic
The seminar took place on June 11th with many participants of the project “Be part of CSA” coming to the community farm KomPot, near Prague.
In mid-June the farm was already in blossom: participants got the opportunity to fully experience the farm, investigate and discuss everything with 3 KomPot members and 3 farmers; most of the participants were consumers. Farmers who took part to the session are interested in finding another way to cultivate and sell their products than through the market chain, would like to explore the CSA model and try it.
The seminar started as usual with a short presentation of each participant. None of the participants visited KomPot before so the next activity was very authentic. They shared and discussed the information they had found out about KomPot on the Internet. There were many different opinions but the activity introduced a good feedback for KomPot´s members and its publicity. The basic information about CSA and transparent bank account received among other a positive reaction, on the other hand outdated information about farm’s activities and members from 2014 made the impression of an old, non-functional web.
Then, participants went onto the field to investigate the farm. They went to see fields, flower beds, vegetable beds, common places, orchard, storage, bee keeping place, etc. This activity showed different aesthetic perceptions from consumers compared to more practical farmer’s perceptions who were surprised that there was no tractor.
The investigative activity was followed by a tour with one of the KomPot founders and farmer Míla Hilgertová who also talked about the history and everyday operation of KomPot. The excursion was rather a very pleasant discussion, as the farmers had practical questions.
After the lunch cooked by aKomPot member with the products from the farm, the discussion with members and farmers went on in a non-formal way about their roles, delegation, distribution, meetings, finances, publicity and so on. Then, participants were asked to create a cognitive map of KomPot with the information and data they gathered during the day and to put them in relations. Each participant remembered and noted different ideas so it was a big challenge to put together in one map. And despite the fact that they talked a lot about „communication“, it was not mentioned on the map after all!
The evaluation at the end of the day proved again the need to meet face-to-face and to get support from active CSA members. The participants were given the information on where and how to join the national and international CSA networks and PRO-BIO LIGA is already planning another CSA seminar this autumn!
The forth module of the Be part of CSA! training programme focus on the operation of CSAs in practice. The interest in Hungary was high, we had 27 participants from all over the country.
The training was held on July 9th, in Herencsény, in Nógrad province in a lovely old country house in the neighbourhood of the Herencsényi Ökotársulás CSA. About half of the participants already arrived an evening before the official training; cooked together on open fire and watched a CSA related movie, so the training was a real community event itself.
Next day we started with an introduction and we summarized the knowledge gained during the first three training modules. In the morning session we visited the CSA in Herencsény. The participants had enough time to learn about the CSA’s operation and discuss the most important topics with each other during the visit about all aspects of CSAs. The Herencsényi Ökotársulás CSA serves 54 families in the capital, operates for 10 month annually.
After lunch we discussed how an ideal CSA would look like and the participants’ draw a visual map of their ideas in small groups. After we travelled to Terény, and visited the MagosVölgy Ecological CSA Farm.
We believe the training was really successful and also served as a good networking event for the participating farmers, coordinators and members. But the real success is that more new CSA initiatives have started to come alive.
To be successfully continued….