Registrations POPREBEL Food localisation 30 October 2020

Hello @noemi, very nice to e-meet you as well!
In order to stay afloat, i invested almost all the income from the farm back into it. We are operating at about a 20% gross profit margin and we are using that to finance the farm’s expenses from season to season. Investments were made mainly with our own money. We are fortunate to have a couple local partners for organic materials that we use in our system (mulches etc).
I hope that i answered your question but please let me know if there are things that i missed! :smiley:

Vlad

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Our mission is to change the way in which vegetables are grown in Romania. We wanted to build a sustainable farm in every way: from a soil health perspective and from an economic perspective. So this is why we are commited to an organic bio intensive market gardening system.
An organic system not only provides ensures that the soil is getting more and more productive each year but also is a system that gets simpler as time passes. There is less pest pressure and less disease pressure with the passing of time. In terms of support, my suggestion is to find books and other reading materials as good organic farming consultants are difficult to find in Romania. Regarding the business development aspect, this is a bit more complicated but starting with the basics would be the best avenue to take: record keeping, knowing your numbers on expenses, income, profit margin and selecting the right crops to grow based on these.

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What does that mean, in practice? Sometimes we hear things like regenerative agriculture, permaculture etc, is this similar ? And what are the limits to scale?

Ping @thom_stewart heads up

Hi Noemi, thanks for the welcome. Indeed long time no see - would be nice to see you again sometime. In terms of your question, one interesting initiative in the UK is re-wilding, which has some limited government support (and is attracting growing attention). It is not just about food, but it definitely about important things like soil health and biodiversity will play a vital role in healthy food system.

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What is your name?
Tamara

Are you part of a project or an organisation? What does the project/organisation do, and why?
EU project manager: Roadmap, Soildiveragro y Novaterra (H2020) and VINIoT (Interreg Sudoe)

Let’s get to know each other. Which of the following topics is the most relevant to you?
Sustainability in agriculture or food

Think about the topic… and tell us: What is a practical problem that you have in your work/projects or personal life?
Looking for more sustainable agricultural management practices.

How is your government helping this, or not helping?
Governments are involved in a way.

Are you interested to co-host an event with EdgeRyders in the next months? If so, do you have ideas to engage others near you to participate?
It could to be an option to think about.

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Nice to e-meet you Tamara! Where are you based?
Could you share with us an example of collaboration from one of your projects? Do you personally feel it is making an impact in sustainability? We have heard quite some critical points, especially from those directly involved in working with farmers, so it’s useful to see how things look from your perspective.

What is your name?
Wilfried Rimensberger

Are you part of a project or an organisation? What does the project/organisation do, and why?
Millbank Creative Works uses creative and sustainability projects to build a stronger local communities and facilitate neighbourhood stakeholder engagement. We established Westminster’s most successful local community garden And run regular creative up cycling workshops at Tate Britain and regular local community linked projects with ChelseaUAL students and teachers. #MillbankAtlas

Let’s get to know each other. Which of the following topics is the most relevant to you?
Sustainability in agriculture or food

Think about the topic… and tell us: What is a practical problem that you have in your work/projects or personal life?
Growing fluctuation in residents moving in an out of the neighbourhood.

How is your government helping this, or not helping?
Gentrification with new expensive developments brings in new owners. But most are renting out. It also drives up living costs for the remaining original residents.

Are you interested to co-host an event with EdgeRyders in the next months? If so, do you have ideas to engage others near you to participate?
I’m thinking about it.

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Some of us have been talking a lot about the need to ‘educate’ farmers to stick to traditional farming, write funding proposals, build their own community of support and local circuits

Indeed, although with the new CAP it sounds like we are going exactly in the opposite direction again. It is as well a matter of structural funding and bargaining power… and accessibility to quality food not solely for the most affluent (see the nutrients collapse since the 1950s in almost all foods). I think the neo-rurals in general often start with a different model in mind, if I recall well 10% of new peasants in France for instance start from scratch (not from inherited land) and do not want to reproduce the mistakes of past generations submerged by debt, monoculture crops and efficiency ratios. Terre de liens, a French association functioning as a community trust for farms, facilitates access to the land & tightens use of the land to agroecological practices. Since 2016 they managed to preserve in this way 6400 ha that would have otherwise ended up in urban concreting or big agribusiness hands.

But in my opinion, it rests on the image of the farmer we now have, an ageing population and less younger people in rural areas. What is this mix role that you are talking about, how did you come to this idea ?

On the idea of being closer to the land I’m rather thinking about my own experience as I would love to be more connected to nature as a youngish :smiley: and never-been-farmer urban, meaning rather spending systemically more time in rural areas while not giving up urban life.
This doesn’t mean that I should just move to a smaller city or to a peripheral suburban area looking at my kitchen garden and cows ruminating from my window :sweat_smile: I’m rather pointing at the possibility of suburban citizens to actively participate and more profoundly be aware of the food chains that support our (urban) livelihoods.
I’m thinking for instance about seasonal work that could be taken over by workers in the city (see btw what happened with desbrasdansnosassiette during the spring lockdown) and how the city could be useful for rurals on the other hand, on top of our natural role of ‘compost makers’ which is still far from being accomplished in most cities (see the latest report from ‘operation phosphore’ for Brussels).

This would mean that in the long run we should all make time for this kind of activities to happen in a more systematic way rather than solely relying on volunteering or on governments and private companies failing to take good care of our means of nourishment and ecosystems. It would mean as well rearranging our work time as ‘fully-scheduled’ service workers (although, of course, not all urban residents are service workers) and spending more time directly or indirectly taking care of commons, i.e. the soil at the basis of our own livelihoods.
Basically we need more time for farming and it needs to concern more people as well in cities.

Paris, for instance, used to be almost entirely self-sustained within the Ile-de-France region. Le maraîcher, which means vegetable grower / gardener in French, was actually named after the Parisian neighborhood ‘Les Marais’. Paris was well known for its variety of crops and inventiveness in urban farming since the Middle Ages, see the fruit walls in Montreuil, etc.


Source: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mur_à_pêches
Or cultivation under bell jars

Source: https://www.enlargeyourparis.fr/societe/quand-lalimentation-dessine-le-territoire-une-histoire-des-relations-entre-paris-et-sa-peripherie-agricole-depuis-le-moyen-age
These days the area around Paris produces solely 10% of veggies & fruits necessary for its population livelihood. In the 1900s it used to be 80%. Farmers in the region used to be 500k in 1900s, 88k in 1954 and 11k in 2010. Despite the disappearance of ‘urban farming’ isn’t solely negative as it theoretically allows for more wild green areas (meadows, ponds, forests) which are necessary around and within a city.

Long story short, I’m trying to imagine a sort of transition from being an urban ‘knowledge worker’ to a sort of a farmer/researcher that is able to contribute to small-scale farming nourishing the most diverse fellow citizens of my city. May not be the most urgent item of discussion in today’s session but this is more or less what I was thinking of when I filled in my participation form :slight_smile:

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Wow, I’m blown away by the elegance of your argument… I think it deserves a separate post and a larger audience, we will move it in the Blog section after today’s session (with your permission of course). Maybe I resonate because we are the same generation and have similar jobs, and see urban life in all its glory and pains, I don’t know…

we need more time for farming and it needs to concern more people as well in cities.

Fully agree! This is a niche, but also such a fresh perspective Irene ! Thanks, you made my day!

It meas that we are growing on a small plot of land (under 1/2 ha), using permanent beds with the vegetables being closely planted/sown, using organic inputs (seeds, fertilisers etc).
There are limits to scale but it has been proven that the yield and the profits could support a family throghout the year.However these results have been obtained in Sweden, France, Canada and USA. This is important in the context of bringing such a model in a country like Romania.

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What is your name?
Mara Cazacu

Are you part of a project or an organisation? What does the project/organisation do, and why?
Working as a sustainable development officer with WWF-Romania, in the field of food & farming - we are aiming to preserve biodiversity-rich landscapes and empower local communities to contribute to this while improving their wellbeing.

Let’s get to know each other. Which of the following topics is the most relevant to you?
Sustainability in agriculture or food

Think about the topic… and tell us: What is a practical problem that you have in your work/projects or personal life?
My answer regards the field in itself, not my practical issues, namely a legislative framework that is not supportive for small, local producers and local food environments, plus a subsidy system (rooted in the Common agricultural policy of the EU) that over-favours agri-business and disregards smallholders and nature-friendly agri-food systems, which is completely at odds with the type of response we need to the developing climate and nature crises.

How is your government helping this, or not helping?
Not helping and lacking vision and open-mindedness towards alternatives to business-as-usual.

Are you interested to co-host an event with EdgeRyders in the next months? If so, do you have ideas to engage others near you to participate?
No

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What is your name?
Witold

Are you part of a project or an organisation? What does the project/organisation do, and why?
Mental health care Blogger and Vlogger.
Blog.psypo.pl
YouTube: Psychiczne Pojednanie

Let’s get to know each other. Which of the following topics is the most relevant to you?
Health and social care

Think about the topic… and tell us: What is a practical problem that you have in your work/projects or personal life?
Technical maintenance of my blog.
I try to do everything alone and its rather too much for me.

How is your government helping this, or not helping?
I do not receive any help from Polish government.

Are you interested to co-host an event with EdgeRyders in the next months? If so, do you have ideas to engage others near you to participate?
Maybe, if mental health issues are in the scope of the foundation activity.

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Save the date!
Hei everyone, since rural rebuilding has become such a common point of resonance in our Food event from a few weeks ago, we will be hosting a follow up session to talk about it in 2 weeks - 23 November at 18:00 CET. Let me know if you’d like to attend by leaving a comment here?

Event: How to bring back human potential to rural areas - ‘you need to offer them more than just a plot of land’ International

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:green_heart:!! I think that a “farmer/researcher”, perhaps also working a consultant for other farms, is totally a viable idea. Because farming has, or should have, quite a large knowledge work component to it. It’s not like large-scale commercial farmers nowadays would knowingly and intentionally degrade and destroy their land – they just don’t know any better how to farm profitably without degrading the land and are somehow forced to think in short timescales, such as the 30-50 years until the topsoil might have gone from their land.

That’s how I came to like stories of industrial farmers who changed their ways and are now evangelizing among other farmers about the restoration techniques they discovered. I have found several of these stories, but this one is the best: Peter and Stuart Andrews’ Natural Sequence Farming, dealing with water cycle restoration on cattle farms in Australia.

Like their farm consultancy for industrial farms, small farms and urban gardens also need knowledge input. I would not know how to make a properly paid job out of consulting small farms and gardeners, though … except maybe if you’d combine it with a webshop or dropshipping store that also sells innovative gardening and urban farming products. There is so much hardly known tech for small-scale farming out there (and one might also add own developments over time). Just one example to illustrate:

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It’s true - there are a lot of very simple but effective tools out there that are not well known. In today’s info-tech world it can be tempting to design super high tech gadgets that employ wi fi and all, but often the simple time saver utilizing simple basic machines (lever, screw, incline, wheel, wedge, pulley) is best. I was recently a judge for a contest to design innovative products for ag in the developing world. Most of them were so complicated or high tech that as soon as something broke, the thing would get put in a shed and forgotten. You have to be able to fix things in the field.

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On the other hand, I like this current proposal for helping bee colonies using sensors that phone home for analysis to help prevent colony collapse. Sensors can be made robust and easy enough to clean. And when a problem is identified, the solution is not some other super high tech thing but more of a traditional human intervention. So, networked sensors to identify problems I think use networked tech smartly, or they can. The items I was seeing in that contest used sensors too, but they also had lots of electronic controlling devices. That makes many more potential problems because they had control units that energized solenoids to make mechanical action. Lots of potential breakdown with that stuff. Not to mention learning curve for someone who already has a sore back and not enough hours in the day.

What is your name?
Petra Kubálková

Are you part of a project or an organisation? What does the project/organisation do, and why?
I am a regional organizer of Innovation Prizes EIT Food - Czechia
Project owner of program EWA - Empowering Women in Agrifood - EIT Food

https://www.linkedin.com/in/petrakubalkova/

Let’s get to know each other. Which of the following topics is the most relevant to you?
Sustainability in agriculture or food

Think about the topic… and tell us: What is a practical problem that you have in your work/projects or personal life?
How to support women in agrifood?
The problems:

  • lack of governmental support (just a big agrifood company, but no local, family farmers)
  • Lack of opportunity of programs helping small farmers to grow
  • Lack of opportunity of exploring new customers for small farmers
  • Lack of opportunity for building a community supporting local food
  • Lack of opportunity for women in agri-food

    How is your government helping this, or not helping?
    The Czech government (also thanks to our prime minister) is not supporting the smallest one and the local which are trying to be more sustainable.


    Are you interested to co-host an event with EdgeRyders in the next months? If so, do you have ideas to engage others near you to participate?
    Yes, some topics:
    Gender and gender opportunity, not only in the agri-food
    Agri-food and women


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An inspiring woman

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Thank you for sharing this Jasen! Related to our conversation during the session, this is really the kind of effort that makes farmers look like heroes! Right @Paco21? :wink: Maybe events like this where stellar farmers/entrepreneurs can shine would contribute to remaking the image of the farmer that you talked about?

It’s incredible how much hard work this is, and also how much freedom it gives.

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