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Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania
Conservarea biodiversităţii şi dezvoltare comunitară în Transilvania

ESSEDRA News

Peasant food for modern people

Through our national communication campaign, part of ESSEDRA project, we aimed to inform as many people about the importance and relevance of peasants (i.g. small scale farmers) in an ever changing and growing global market. It is of upmost importance for people to realise that these small scale farmers, that have a special connection with the land and thus the food they produce, hold in their traditional knowledge the key for a sustainable agriculture, capable of delivering high-quality food that is Good, Clean and Fair.

We wanted to get our message to the “responsible consumer”, which is a young person, with medium to high income and of a higher education, concerned by health and nature and that is aware of the problems faced by the modern society and is willing to get involved and sustain “alternative” agricultural systems, even is those are the traditional ones.
Together with local partners we organized our first event from the ESSEDRA second phase of the communication campaign in Sighisoara, on the 12 and 13th of December 2014. Local producers were invited to present and sell their products alongside a more charitable stand where local school children sold their hand-made souvenirs in order to collect money for the Voluntaries Club of Saschiz. The fair was organized also as a celebration of Terra Madre Day, and ADEPT staff spoke to the people attending about SF, ESSEDRA and the importance of everyday decisions we take as these decisions influence the quality of the food being produced worldwide.
Because we believe that all good things should be recognized by the whole world, or at least by the people we have something in common we decided to nominate the ESSEDRA project for the CAP Communication Award: Communication with the public, because of the joint efforts made by the network we managed to create, for promoting and spreading the word about the pillars of a sustainable agriculture and good, clean and fair food. At the Bruxelles ceremony, Ben Mehedin and Laura Chirila represented the ESSEDRA project from the ADEPT Foundation together with one of the partners, Dessislava Dimitrova, SF Bulgaria.
On the 2nd of February, Ben Mehehin held a brief presentation about the choices we make through our decisions of buying food, during a conference called “Made in Rural”, held in Băile Tușnad, where over 20 representatives of NGOs interested in promoting quality products, food and non-food, made by small producers from rural areas of Romania. 
On the 22nd of February, Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania held the annual Farmers meeting in Sighisoara where we invite members of the local communities we work with to get informed about the projects we are currently implementing and useful informations about the agro-environment measures and funding opportunities. This year the meeting was attended by over 300 people and enjoyed a large media coverage not only on local level, but also on regional level.
During our national campaign we attended several workshops and meetings held by the National Rural Development Network: 26-27th February, 26-th-27-th of March, 16-17-th of April, 13 May, 10-12 June, 6-7 July, 9- 11 July, 13-14 July and 23-24 July in different locations throught Romania. At these workshops we focused on creating the legal framework and a network of interested people that will support and contribute to the development and economic viability of an extensive agriculture.
On the 26th of March we had a conference in Sighisoara celebrating one of our European awards, first prize for a project that brought additional income to farming communities in a Natura2000 site, where representatives of the EU Commission and local interest factors attended and found out about the ESSEDRA project and campaign.
In April, on the 6th and 7th, we hosted a group of people from Maramures, a county from the North-Western part of Romania. They were introduced not only to the concept of good, clean and fair food, but also to local farmers that manage to get extra incomes from their agricultural activities.
From the 4th of May until the 8th we had some field visits for researching the Bazna pig breed and discussions with interested actors for setting up a Presidia, which is an important part of our communication campaign as it will help not only the local community but also encourage other people to take advantage of this opportunity.
In Brasov between 8 and 10-th of May the European Regions Festival was held. There were debates and a fair for local products. We had promoted the local products as a tool for biodiversity and High Nature Value landscapes.
On the 16th of May, together with the Local Action Group we organised in Saschiz the Rhubarb Festival where the focal point was the plant of rhubarb and its many uses in various recipes either traditional or innovative. Ben Mehedin held a presentation and also disseminated some When you shop use your head booklets that served as a important discussion starter.
At the end of June a meeting in Timisoara with the Association for Saving the Peaseant Agriculture was organised. Here we  had a presentation about how we could better promote the local food in order to benefit both - the farmers and the consumers.
On the 7 and 8th of August, Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania was one of the co-organisers of Haferland Week. During the event that had a national media coverage, on both days that were dedicated to our projects we served fresh, local food from local producers and had presentations and discussions with the people attending. On the 7th, when we launched the Pottery Shop in Saschiz we met over 100 people, while on the 8th, during the Bike Trail Race we interacted with over 400 people that received not only food but informations and reccommendations.
Our biggest event from the Peasant Food for Modern People was taking part in Rural Fest 2015, an event organised in Bucharest by the Representance of the European Commission in Romania. During the event we had with us various local producers from different areas of Romania and presentations, one covered by the DiGi24 television, as well as individual discussions with people that visited our stand. After the Rural Fest, the National Rural Development Network has asked for help in organising the next fairs and events for small scale producers and also asked for the permission to re-print and distribute the brochure (When You Shop use your Head translated in Romanian) which we shared in most of the presentations during the campaign.
Unfortunatelly, the event planned for Bruxelles, as a fair with Romanian products, an awareness raising opportunity, was cancelled due to lack of funding from the Romanian Embassy that extended the invitation.
The oportunity for new Local Action Group strategies may be used for thinking and innovative way of promoting and selling the local products in a short food chain. Two LAG's in our area were pursued in order to introduce such an innovative measure in their new development plans.
In advocating the role of small scale farmer for biodiversity, we also organised again the Christmas Fair, on the 12-th of December 2015 with local partners  in Sighisoara. Local producers were invited to present and sell their products again. We may say that there are some inhabitants which are looking forward for this fair to happen in a regular basis. The fair was organized also as a celebration of Terra Madre Day.
We will continue to hold meetings and presentations about the importance of quality food and supporting the local farming communities of Romania, coordinated with the advocacy campaign we plan for the upcoming period.
As a continous concern for small scale farmers and the importance for biodiversity preservation, we worked alongside with parners in order to find donors for setting  up a small facility in Daia. The proposal was submited now we are waiting for the right answer.

The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Slow Food and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union


ESSEDRA

Environmentally Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Rural Areas. For more information see the ESSEDRA website www.essedra.com

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