Space for culture and art “Vihar”
Narodno Chitalishte Svetlina-1861
Bee Time Art and Ecology Research Projects
The lead organisation and the 3 partners have formed a project team, that has joined forces to design and implement the project.
Our project unites people around food, aiming to improve quality of life, environmental balance and to bring together opposing groups of people. We support small village producers and connect them to consumers. We include and train unemployed people. We use sociocracy tools, arts, social permaculture methods, civic environmental education, community garden areas. We want to provide access to clean, fair, local food, impacting positively the environment and the social cohesion in the Rose Valley
Kazanlak Municipality, Region of Stara Zagora, The Rose Valley, Bulgaria
The challenge we face is the division of people and lack of social cohesion. The community is fragmented into groups of people, representing contradictory to each other opposites: small animal husbandry producers/people complaining about animal smell, environmentalists/people who spray toxic substances to keep sidewalks clean of weeds, beekeepers/conventional agricultural producers, old people/youngsters with different values, people working for weapon factory/those against weapon industry; people who want to protect Nature/people with no awareness of their footprint. Often within each opposite pair there is also division into smaller fractions. For example the people who want to protect Nature have no coherent network and are not united in their actions to address the issues.
The initiative unites people around a solidarity food-consumer network. This shows the power of active citizens participation and is to serve as an inspiration to resolve serious local problems. Solidarity, food independence,earth care, traditional occupation and agricultural varieties strengthen and develop the local community. Strong and independent local communities help decentralization and reverse de-popularization of small villages and impoverishment. Formation and functioning of citizenship initiatives are an example and opportunity for conflict resolution by the local community itself. Supporting small local producers would benefit both them and the consumers with the added value to improved environmental and democratic balance of the region itself.
We are targeting the local community including all the different polarities in the spectrum- with focus on local consumers, small producers, bee keepers, unemployed, local authorities. An important target group are the permanently unemployed, who will be trained and involved into gardening and growing food, with the help of consumers. This measure will reduce unemployment and will create an alternative to large agriculture and help reduce land exploitation and pollution.
Local citizens will be trained into sustainable composting and weed and pest control practices. Uniting around food will help to avoid disappearance of small local producers and artisans. We aim to help them strengthen their business and serve the needs of the local consumers.
Finding small local eco-producers. Understanding their needs and creating a group with common objectives and purpose.
Creating a consumer network and meetings for both groups with specialized guests offering their experience from already existing models. Creating a local working system, meeting the needs of both sides
Development of a social place in Kazanlak, for receiving and transmitting production, meetings and events.
Creative workshops developed for group cohesion and a sense of belonging through mutual support.
Design of urban permaculture areas as an alternative to the current spraying practices through workshops as compost making and others.
Creating a solidary public consumer market to spread the idea and invite new members, attracting local media, artists and craftsmen.
A working network supporting local small organic producers and promoting healthy eating and fair trade.
The place chosen for the exchange of goods and the center of the network and the community, as a constantly visited social center, especially during the active gardening season, will be one of the beating hearts of the civil society in the region.
The participants in the established food network will be more informed and active on various current issues of the region.
The local community will be stronger, resilient and united and so will be able to respond more effectively to the various issues of sustainable development of the region.
Once established, the approach will be a good example and can be applied in other regions in Bulgaria with similar conditions and problems.
Our initiative provides a platform for people to be heard, people with different opinions and backgrounds. Together with the help of skillful facilitation people can find the solution to conflicts and problems. And when people are more connected and cohesive, their civic participation is also greater. The improvement on the local level, automatically contributes to the bigger picture and is helping Europe become more democratic. Democracy is stable in the presence of strong local communities with independent active citizens and we believe that our steps are in this direction.
Through this initiative, we see an opportunity to unite and stand up for our right to a clean environment and a better life.
The father of permaculture Bill Mollison says “all the world problems can be solved in a garden”. And it is true, as a civilization we are very remote from this notion and local action is needed for the creation of strong self-sufficient resilient communities. We have been working since 2008 in Shipka for the creation of a resilient community, that can be inspiration to others. We practice zero waste lifestyle, grow food in a permaculture way and slowly work to build a community. We want to expand our knowledge and expertise to the wider community. We believe consumption of clean food, locally produced is not only good to the consumers, but reduces the environmental impact of food and serves as a basis for democratic citizen participation.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel (incl external experts) EUR 36,000
Travel & accommodation : 5,000
Production costs: 10,500
Workshop and event materials, structures, planting material, projector and equipment (purchased and rented)
Rent - social center: 1,500
Publication, Promotion costs: 4,000
We are grateful for any comments, questions, criticisms, advice, that will help us look at the idea from more perspectives.Especially those that come from experience in applying such ideas. We are excited for the contact with like-minded organizations and the opportunity to share between each other