Our association organized its first youth exchange called LET’S WORK THE LAND! The exchange had 4 partners, from Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania and it was organized between 10-17 June 2014 in the city of Cristuru Secuiesc and the villages of Betesti, Cechesti, Filiasi and Ruganesti, for 7-7 participants and 1+1 group leader from each country; 32 in total.
The objectives of the exchange were to 1 make the participating youth aware of different ways of doing agriculture in the EU, 2 to develop a common strategy of becoming sustainable agriculturists on an individual or family level, where product quality is also positive, 3 to motivate the farmers in the villages to seek counselling and aid to better their crop quality and yield, and 4 to create an intercultural environment of mutual learning about one another.
These, together with the objectives and priorities of the Youth in Action program were achieved through the activities of the youth exchange, which were the following: after doing introduction and team building activities in the first day, each guest country presented their practices on the topic of agriculture and sustainability. Then, they fanned out during 4 days in the villages of Filias, Cechesti, Betesti and Ruganesti in order to explore the lifestyles of the villagers. They were separated in 5 groups and visited households in each village, focusing on analyzing and taking part in the daily practices of these men and women regarding agricultural life around their houses where they are growing and rearing almost 90% of the foods they consume: vegetables, grains, plants, fruit, fowl and other animals. They did this in the mornings, in smaller teams assigned to different households while in the afternoons they analyzed how is it possible to adapt these practices into the lives of modern EU citizens such as themselves, how to use traditional practices to bring about modern models of sustainable habits. Based on these combined knowledge, on the last day, the international team created a strategy on how to start up these practices in each country and the EU. In between these activities, day 5 was dedicated to discovering Romania’s cultural heritages in Criseni, Bezid and Sighisoara.
Beside all these, the young participants also did language and culture exchanges so that they managed to develop their intercultural knowledge and understanding. In the end, they planned further cooperation in this topic and they made an evaluation of their exchange. The participants also received Youthpass Certificates that recorded their learning achievements.
The project was founded through the Youth in Action Program of the European Commission.