PONT MI Közhasznú Egyesület
The farm lifestyle in our region has a long history, but is now on the verge of extinction. At the same time, the demand for the natural way of life, safe food and home-made products associated with the existence of a farm started again. Socially deprived families who have not been able to take advantage of their environmental potentials have moved to farms in Kétsoprony. The inhabitants of the town can teach these families to recognize and live with the most important of these potentials.
Village Kétsoprony, Békés county, South Békés, Hungary.
Békés county is a disadvantaged region in several aspects. Emigration is high and there are very few jobs. The small villages of the county are particularly affected by deep poverty. Our homestead, which dates back hundreds of years and is unique in Europe in this form, is now partly synonymous with poverty. The natives no longer see value in it, so they sell them at a low price, the new owners cannot cultivate the garden and they cut down the trees. They have no connections, they don’t know where to ask for help. They do not recognize their interests. They do not have access to tender opportunities, or to essential informations.
On the other hand, interest in the rural way of life has increased in recent years. Many people move from big cities to homesteads and return to old life forms.
Excluded farm residents who are unable to recognize their own interests come into contact with the village’s natives, who are still familiar with the self-sustaining techniques they used to live on the farm when there was no electricity. In this way, they enter the circulation of the settlement. They move out of isolation, they get closer to information and opportunities. They experience that they can do something for themselves and that they can also succeed. It is important that this reduces the prejudice of the indigenous people of the village and makes the community more inclusive. This example can go to a higher level as a good practice.
Through our previous projects, we have already come into contact with settled families living on the outskirts of Kétsoprony. Most of them have cumulative social problems. Out of all 33 families living in difficult situations, we see 12 families whose parents are unskilled, have three or more children, have a low employment rate, but who are open to change, want to develop and learn.
A long time ago, there were community fruit dryers and fruit presses in this area, which processing, techniques are still known to the local natives. At Furnace Farm we organize horticulture and fruit processing training for 12 families, with the help of local natives and fruit growers. (We also include some children's program for the training.) For this, we need to buy a 4500 m2 orchard and vegetable garden on the border of Kétsoprony, which we have been already renting from the owner. Here we set up a fruit press (juice maker) and drying house, for the use of which we involve families prepared during the training. The practical part of the training will take place here. At the beginning and end of the project, we are planning a civil forum to which local representatives will be invited.
12 families complete the training, learning about the ancient forms of fruit processing. Through them, the idea spreads to other families in their living environment. We are expecting a slow-moving radical change. In a year, our 12 families will start cultivating their garden to process the fruit and vegetables they produce. They also pass on this knowledge to their children. Their quality of life and living standards are improving. They get closer to the rooted population of the village, neighborhoods and friendships are formed. Prejudice is declining in the village. In local leadership, a change of attitude begins.
European democracies are characterized by inclusion, diversity, and a rejection of exclusion and prejudice. Our initiative involves the excluded in the life of the wider village community through concrete learning and activity taught to them by the rooted members of the village, thus bringing them closer together. In this way, they gain knowledge, local connections and a sense of success, experiencing their own effectiveness, which also affects their ability to assert themselves. Democracy can be built on these local community initiatives and strong relationships. The more of these are built, the stronger the legs will be, the fewer people will be exposed to power in the municipality, the region, the country and Europe.
Kétsoprony is surrounded by an extensive farm world. 40% of the population lives on homesteads, however, the local government sees no opportunity, only a social problem in homestead existence. Although since 2012, since our association has been operating the Furnace Farm, we have been trying to prove the values of farm life and seek dialogue with the management of the settlement, we have not been able to achieve a major breakthrough in the change of attitude. The village - and the region as a good example - could be a breaking point to fill the farm world with new content based on old values. For farm residents, civic awareness and community participation would be the way to go. This would have a positive effect on the whole settlement. We are committed to saving this Hungarian value.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Training at the Furnace Farm (expert awards, lecturers, supplies, etc.) 6000 EUR
Personnel costs (project management for 1 year): 9000 EUR
Communication costs: 300 EUR
Making a film about the project: 1400 EUR
Project operating costs (overheads, accounting, office supplies, cleaning and cleaning products): 2000 EUR
Volunteer care: 1000 EUR
Travel costs: 300 EUR
Tools, equipment for the project: 12,000 EUR
Technical conditions, infrastructure: 6000 EUR
We want to know if our idea is considered effective enough to strengthen democracy. Are there other organizations that have gained experience in similar projects and with what results. How else can you measure results in this type of project? Is there any experience with sustainability?