Can an NGO set out to change farming in the country where it operates? This is the aim of Eco Ruralis, an NGO set up in 2009 by small-scale farmers from different areas of Romania. There is just one criterion for membership: to practise traditional organic farming on the basis of care for the environment.
Unlike in industrialized farming, farmers who belong to this NGO use, gather and distribute only heritage seeds. In this way they hope to preserve both Romania’s food sovereignty and above all respect for consumer health.
Eco Ruralis believes in a society that puts farming and the environment at the heart of the collectivity, with a clearly defined and enhanced role for farmers. This is the only way to achieve a society that is environmentally sustainable, economically fair and socially just.
The aim is to promote family-based farming, supporting farmers against hostile actions by businesses and governments. In addition, Eco Ruralis actively supports the movement of young Romanian farmers to gain access to the land and revive traditional farming practices that will ensure control over food production and land rights.
There are three main programmes that support farmers:
- heritage seeds: collection and distribution of heritage seeds to small farmers and gardeners throughout the country;
- the right to land: the fight against land grabbing;
- Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF): an international exchange programme that puts small farmers in touch with volunteers.
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