Hungarian RAIN. Third meeting takes three days of visiting farms and exchanging experiences

The 3rd Hungarian RAIN meeting was organized in two parts.

On 2nd of June, the stakeholders took part in the celebration of shepherds and wood pasture in Olaszfalu, a small village near the lake Balaton. During the morning lectures, we gained insight into professional and cultural aspects of shepherding: everyday life, traditions and the present of the pastoral life. The round-table discussion was about exchanging experience and sharing ideas of wood pasture, the relevant research results and innovations. In the afternoon Antal Varga led us around his farm, which was established on a twenty-hectare site by restoring an abandoned pasture. Besides the breeding of the Merino sheep, the farm also works as a horsemanship and event centre.

The second part of the network meeting was held on 22nd of June, at the Faculty of Horticulture of Szent István University, and the next day in Vértesacsa, on a bio farm called “Valaha Tanya”. In the morning we listened to lectures on agro-forestry and permaculture experiences, and then we talked in small groups about their different approaches (e.g. economic issues, sustainability), current situation, breakpoints.

In the afternoon, members of the network discussed the themes of innovation they planned, enriched with their opinions, ideas and experience, and agreed on the tasks of the following months.

On 23rd of June Balázs Kulcsár, organic producer, received the members of the network at “Valaha Tanya”, Vértesacsa, a small village near to Budapest. The history of the farm began 12 years ago in an arable land of 12 hectares, when fruit trees have been planted on the field. Since then the trees provide a bountiful supply of fruit for the bio-syrups, intercropped with the herbs that give special spice to the product. The tree rows are alternating with meadows, which provide the feeding of goats, cows and donkey. The RAIN members could experience the difficulties and pleasures of creating mixed farming and the processing of bio products.