We’re honored to have been invited to visit Romania in January of 2008. Kate Lucas, a remarkably savvy Peace Corps volunteer with the Ratiu Center for Democracy in Turda is largely responsible for handholding the visit. We are still working out the details and schedule for this fast-approaching series of workshops – a key focus of which will involve village outreach and hands-on seed stewardship education. Here’s some context from Kate about what Sarah and Andrew are headed towards.

The Ratiu Center for Democracy in Turda (where I am) started with Democracy studies, but beyond academics its programs encourage “participatory democracy”. Basically getting community members to participate in making their own communities a better place in whatever areas of need they see as important.

The Center can almost be seen as a social incubator teaching interested and willing community members howto manage project in a democratic way as well as proving partial funding and promoting projects that are good for the community as a whole. One such project is Choose For Your Own Sake an anti-human-trafficking awareness campaign

What I work more closely with is Turda Fest. Originally it started as a 3 day cultural and agricultural celebration, but in the planning for its 4th year we are trying to expand the programming to include a number of educational opportunities for
small, organic, and natural farmers and partnering with other NGOs in this effort. Things like “village outreach” seminars that we would like you to do are just one component. We’re hoping to increase environmental impact awareness among the local agricultural community while helping them increase the profitability of their farms. To give them the most practical and implement-able advice possible. I’d also like to parallel this education with slightly more urban initiatives like farm to school/school garden pilot programs.

Last year we tried the first of such programs by having Rosemary Barron give seminars on food and sustainable tourism .