Focus: Land Resources
Location: Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania
Odorhei (Udvarhely in Hungarian) is a mountainous region in Romania where animal breeding and fruit farming have been traditional sources of income for centuries. Farmers not only use local fruits for homemade jam, dried fruits, and syrup, but they also use them for tea and medicine.
In the 1970s, the state launched an intensive fruit farming program which caused the near extinction of the region’s fruit varieties. By 2008, home gardens and traditional orchards were neglected and left in poor condition. Furthermore, farmers had fewer opportunities to market their fruits, and less success in knowledge sharing. However, in 2009, that began to change. In order to encourage the cultivation of different fruit varieties and increase their profitability, the Civitas Foundation launched “The Fruits of our Tradition” project.
This community-based project has helped train twenty farmers in ten communities, as well as map the oldest orchards and most diverse fruit farms. In addition, a small fruit processing plant has been set up, providing female farmers with the opportunity to add value to their products and market them outside Odorhei. Every year, the Udvarhely Seat Fruit Festival is organized to promote local fruit products. By the time the folk music ended in 2010, 7,500 jars of different fruit products had been sold.
Environmental Impact: Preserved biodiversity and sustainable fruit farming
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