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Where Tomato means Paradise | Civic Europe
Community development, Environment and sustainability

Where Tomato means Paradise

Reopening the old pub as an integrative community center and contributing to a well-functioning village community in terms of social life, public affairs and sustainability


Who is behind this?

Anna Mészár

Terényi Faluvédő és Segítő Egyesület (Association for Terény)


Who is joining forces?

MagosVölgy Ökológiai Gazdaság (Seeds Valley Organic Farm)


Noha Studio / Noha Terény / Galambház Egyesület (Pigeon House Association)


Budapest Green School



Idea pitch

“Paradicsom” is a homonymous word in Hungarian: stands for the vegetable tomato and also means Paradise. Our community space “Paradicsom'' connects diverse groups with its social and physical infrastructure. Our inclusive approach and commitment have an impact on both local and regional levels and contributes to underpin local governance, builds social capital, enhances economic prosperity as well as ecological sustainability and can serve as a role model for other rural parts of the country.

Where will your project idea take place?

Terény, Nógrád county, Northern Hungary

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Both long-standing and newly emerged local issues have been identified: e.g. in religiousness (non-religious vs evangelists vs catholics), different views of political sides (pro-government vs opposition voters), or diverse approach in the attitude towards gardening and ecology (chemicals used in gardens vs organic farming and permaculture).
Some issues make the solutions to these problems more complicated, like people approach each other with stereotypes, migration of locals and newcomers, lack of work opportunities locally or low level of self-determination.
Children also need better circumstances for spending time meaningfully together with same age group friends.
Our local team members are key to identify these problems correctly and they also help us to address these effectively

Who are you doing it for?

Our aim is to make people of Terény more confident and open. Our key target group are the locals. With a special emphasis on children and youngsters.
We also focus on people from the region, mainly with events and with our small bistro.
Terény is located along the main tourist route of Hungary so we have quite a lot of visitors on whom we want to make a good impression.
Also we would like to have an impact on:
- people who want to move out from the city for a more sustainable life, but cannot imagine how this can work properly,
- local communities who want social change similar to us,
- organisations that want to take real social and ecological responsibility or would like to base their operation on their community,
- restaurants, bars that need inspiration for being sustainable

How do you plan to get there?

1. Create a core team: our core team consists of local key figures, new inhabitants and members of MagosVölgy and Noha network. The team has been in close cooperation since December 2020. We have new applicants who intend to join us in the near future.
2. Buy the building of the old pub - this will give the physical space for the “Paradicsom”. The purchase happened on the 10th of April 2021 financed by the core team members.
3. Basic renovation of the building - essential functions like bathroom, kitchen will be restored, and simple design will make the place more welcoming and functioning.
4. Three types of activity will begin within the renewed facility:
a) Services / events planned through participatory design with the villagers: community exhibition, common planning sessions, invitation to building renovation, survey, events initiated and organized by them etc.
b) Services / events by the “Paradicsom” core team. We will offer integrative programs such as street balls, theatre performances, small scale concerts, board game club, contemporary library, gallery for local traditional and modern art, professional training, filmclub, public discussion forums.
c) Bistro / restaurant - our vision is to run a small scale, quality restaurant with local, seasonal food that will serve as a financial basis for our project. This is accompanied with our own permaculture garden.

What are the expected results?

Short term:
- local work opportunities (at least part-time)
- members of different social groups spend time together and start open conversation on diverse issues
- increasing attendance in community programs and willingness to help organizing them
- feeling again the connectedness and being a valued member of the society
- understanding the value of local support or simple help from family, neighbours, groups, friends or our team

Long term:
- citizens can learn how to articulate community needs and concerns and will feel their impact on how things are going
- enjoying positive relationship between social connections and physical / mental health
- enjoying the advantages of local diversity
- change of attitude towards ecological crisis on a local level
- become a role model

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Demonstrating a new way of cooperation by sharing ownership and leadership (e.g. buying the pub as a team), transparent communication, inclusive approach and sociocratic approach can have a game changer effect on several community levels by empowering local people and giving them confidence to raise their voice.
We want people to sit at the same table (literally) and help them differentiate between political messages and real public affairs. Therefore we encourage people to act and think on issue level and not on political party level.
Events like participatory design planning sessions, public affairs forum (“Agora”), “debate theater”, film clubs, streetballs, etc. are all good opportunities to get to know each other thoroughly and discuss different opinions without preconceptions.

Why is this idea important to you?

All of us have connections to Terény besides the project. Our most experienced member is the former mayor, who has been living in the village for 19 years. Others moved there in the last 6 years and built businesses there or have a weekend house in Terény, but live in Budapest. Most of us have an everyday connection with the locals. All of us have financially contributed to the purchase of the building.
All members of our core team have special knowledge that is very useful in a project like ours: architecture, photography, journalism, IT, financials, interior design, cultural anthropology, or a tone of invaluable experience with administration and legal matters.
Our main motivation is that we are living or plan to live in Terény and would like to have a flourishing community there.

€ 71700,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Basic infrastructure 19.500 EUR (this is not a pure construction but a necessity for making the building usable: repairing restroom / walls / electrical / heating / chimney - approved by the coordinator of Idea Challenge in the comment section)
Furniture / Kitchen appliances 9.700 EUR
Technical equipment 4.700 EUR
HR costs 10.100 EUR
Communication / Marketing 1.800 EUR
Events / Programs 3.700 EUR
Purchase of the building 22.200 EUR (Already done! Not required from Civic Europe!)

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

- Elements that you think are not coherent or not understandable in our vision.
- Relevance with the Civic Europe initiative.
- Connection points regarding activity, profile, region or other.


Anna Mészár




Idea created on April 19, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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