Judit Csikvári is now the Deputy Treasurer of EURAF. She is also a farmer in Hungary. Let's read her life description and motivations!
"My journey to agroforestry – and to agriculture at all – started from very afar. I graduated in cultural anthropology in 2004 in Hungary. I worked both in the social and the market research sector. As a social researcher, I was involved in background research, needs and situation assessments, public opinion surveys, impact assessments prior to community development (infrastructural development, awareness rising campaigns) or policy preparation (religious diversities within community, illegal foreign work, juvenile delinquency, alternatives for prison in the case of milder crimes, legalization of prostitution). In the field of market research, I carried out satisfaction surveys, qualitative market research projects, and for three years lead the Hungarian office of a global customer satisfaction feedback company. I had the opportunity to learn about a wide range of research methods, focussed on very different aspects of society and had some insight in the field of market research.
I and my husband have contacts with an indigenous community in the Ecuadorian Amazon. We visited them first in 2010 – for me visiting the rainforest was a childhood dream coming true. Those few weeks proved to be a truly life-changing experience that changed my professional orientation, too. The astonishing scale and rapidity of the degradation of nature and communities stroke us, and opened our eyes to nature degradation in Europe, in Hungary. We believe that saving the world starts with saving a small piece of it in our closest surroundings, so the decision matured to by some land and start our own farm. To create a system that allows food production while promoting ecosystem health and biodiversity, and contributes to the development of local community. We found manifold land use and agroforestry techniques the closest to our ideas and preferences. We are trying to realize, test and adopt these methods in our farm and develop a divers, ecologically balanced system with a complexity of agricultural products, and a positive effect on nature, landscape and society. A long way to go… but we are entertained walking it.
It was (and is) a challenge to obtain skills and knowledge in agroforestry and farming in general, without formal educational background in some related field – on top of that innovative and sustainable methods are not usually included in formal, “conventional” agricultural education. We follow the way of learning by doing, which I support with attending conferences and contacting organizations and experts of the field. During this intellectual journey I got actively involved in different projects related to agroforestry or sustainable agriculture in general. (Hungarian Agrarian Chamber agroforestry campaign, European Commission EIP-Agri agroforestry focus group, EURAKNOS and EUREKA, AFINET project and EP round-table, ”Caring for Soil is Caring for Life” EC mission workshop) I learned about EURAF and got familiar with its work in his period. I joined because I find that the organization is truly devoted to promoting agroforestry as a sustainable option in agriculture, and it is developing an efficient and sophisticated lobbying activity while keeping close contacts with farmers.
I think that our generation’s responsibility is huge in shaping the future of the planet and its people, and each of us has to do his or her own part according to individual qualities and possibilities. Radically rethinking and reshaping agriculture and land use practices is crucial for a healthy ecosystem. I have a son, I owe him a liveable world, and in Zsörk I work for creating at least a small oasis where resources are used responsibly. As a member of the EURAF board, I would have the possibility to move on with this work to another platform and give my best (however small) contribution to this transformation on a larger scale."
|Judit Csikvari (Hungary) - judit.csikvari at gmail.com