On June 24, a group of children and adults visited the Competence Center, where they could visit the herbal show garden and prepare spicy salt. After the project assistant, Bákai Magdolna presented the most important rules to be kept at the time of the collection, they went to collect horse-mint on the fields outside the village. The collected herbs were put in the solar energy dryer, on the courtyard of the museum, while they could get acquainted with its operation as well.
The Transylvanian Herb Garden participated at the City Days of Odorheiu Secuiesc (26-28 May) with a large variety of programs. At the event, held in the City Park of Odorheiu Secuiesc, several volunteers have presented their herbal products, but the herb-recognition contest and the spicy-salt preparing workshop were also popular activities.
13-14 May was the date of the first Góbé Festival in Manchester. The festival was organized on the Albert Squire, in the city center. Besides the cultural performances, a handicraft fair was held, where more than ten thousand visitors could have a look at the local products of Szeklerland. At the Transylvanian Herb Garden’s tent the British visitors could be introduced to the herbal products of several medicinal plant producers from Transylvania.
The Transylvanian Herb Garden project, which originally was scheduled to end on 30th of April was extended till 31st October. The project’s activities were also expanded: during this extended period the representatives of the volunteer groups will have the chance to learn about the basics of marketing and to acquire practical knowledge via experience exchanges.
In this new season, the volunteers will have the opportunity to experiment with new products made from the herbs harvested in the spring and summer, which they can sell on the Fruit Festival of Odorhei, in September. There is also an enlarged area at the Competence Center in Locodeni, where it is possible to grow herbs and medicinal plants which are to be used in the various workshops in larger quantities (eg. lavender, lemongrass, mint, purple coneflowers, Marian thistle etc.).
On 28th of April 2017, a part of the Cluj team worked very enthusiastic on the setting up of an experimental show garden for medicinal plants and herbs. They sow the seeds and planted the seedlings of the different plants together and the result was a garden created through community work full with mint, rosemary, savoury, sage, basil and lavender. During these activities they were talking about optimal cultivation conditions, summarized the tasks of taking care of the garden, the most important processes of the harvest and processing and also discussed the health benefits of medicinal and aromatic plants.
Cowslip (Primula veris), also known as cuy lippe, herb peter, paigle etc. is one of the earliest flowering collectible medicinal plants and it is considered the symbol of spring. On 27th April 2017 the youngsters of the LIA Foundation had the opportunity to participate in a workshop and learn about the relevant quality aspects of the sustainable collection and drying of this plant and about the health benefits of the infusion which can be prepared of it. The plants collected together were stored at the drying place and after their primary processing they will be used as basic ingredient for different herbal teas.
The Transylvanian Herb Garden Association was founded on 7th April 2017 with the occasion of a workshop held at the head office of the Civitas Foundation, with 46 founding members. The participants discussed and elaborated the Statute and Founding Charter of the association. The duty of the association is to carry out the community objectives of the project through the sustainable collection and processing of medicinal and aromatic plants. Beside the representation of the member’s interests an important objective is to promote the processing of medicinal and aromatic plants in order to develop a sustainable agriculture. In the elaboration of the association’s program and its activities it is always an important aspect the integration of the disadvantaged people.
On 20-21st March 2017 we organized a workshop in order to develop a strategy for the cooperation between the Swiss and the Romanian organizations.
On behalf of our project partner, the Biodynamic Agricultural Association Susanne Küffer Heer was present and from the Swiss Ekkarthof Association Karl-Heinz Amann.
Besides the organizations involved in the project, representatives of several institutions and organizations from Romania (Hargita County Agricultural Directorate, Odorheiu Secuiesc Mayor’s Office, Forestry Office of Zetea, DJC-Domus Foundation from Cristuru Secuiesc, Miere de Câmpie Agricultural Cooperative, Élő Szövet Foundation, Ribes Association, Wolter Foundation, Szekler Fruit Association, Prodplant Impex Ltd., Csaba Szakács, biodynamic farmer ) have been involved in the elaboration of the strategies for the cooperation. As a result of the meeting the main guidelines of the cooperation were set, a draft of the strategy was drawn up, which will be finalized by the project’s team.
On 13th March 2017 we held a press conference where we presented a 30 min. long documentary film about the activities of the project. The film was made by the staff of the Székelyföldi Studio: Jakab Endre and Fecső Zoltán. The shortmovie presents the most important moments of the project considering the trainings and the knowledge transfer, it shows the beauty of the nature of this region and it reproduces the atmosphere of the main events, such as: the Barock Festival of Bonchida, the Open Day in Locodeni, the Fruit Festival of Odorhei Region and it introduces the people involved in the project. All the opinions lead us to a single conclusion: this initiative of the Civitas Foundation is a very useful one, the Transylvanian Herb Garden has made good progress.
On the DVD, besides the original Hungarian version of the film, there is a Romanian, English and German subtitled version as well, which we are going to give to different educative institutions and NGOs in order to spread the vision which is represented by our Herb Garden.
As Kolumbán Gábor, the president of the Civitas Foundation says in the film ”being preoccupied with medicinal plants can have a mentality changing effect and there is a good chance, that our illness and medicine focused, consumer’s society will turn into a society whose goal is to stay healthy and prevent illnesses by a healthier way of living.”
On 10th March 2017 the participants of the Medicinal Plants Training Course living in Odorhei Region held their first meeting at the head office of the Civitas Foundation. Although the training course consisting of 11 sessions is already finished, the participants discussed and summarized the experiences gained last year and made plans about continuing the trainings and worked on the elaboration of the strategy of the Competence Center in Locodeni, within the frames of a workshop. Amongst the future plans was the founding of the Transylvanian Herb Garden Association, which will happen on 7th April, on their next meeting. In the future there will be a monthly thematic meeting, the first already in April, with the goal of exchanging medicinal plants seeds and seedlings.