On November 27th and 28th, 2019 the first Agroecology Conference of Hungary was organized in cooperation of Védegylet, Environmental Social Science Research Group (ESSRG) and the French Institute of Hungary, as part of the international environmental awareness month. It is first of its kind, as it gathered together from different regions of the country actors from all three pillars of agroecology : science, practice and movement.
The first day of the conference was held in Hungarian specifically for the Hungarian public, aiming to give a general overview of agroecology, its definitions, history of practices and Hungarian good examples. After the presentation of the primary results of the research « Mapping agroecology in Hungary” carried out by Védegylet and ESSRG, farmers, representatives of civil society organization and researchers discussed at three consecutive round table the following topics: agrobiodiversity and seeds, land use (agroforestry and dynamic livestock grazing) and local food systems, short food supply chains.
The second day of the conference focused on agroecological transition in farming practices, policy measures and the importance of public support. During this day, international good practices from France, the Netherlands and Hungary were presented and discussed. Central topics of the discussion were the role of farmers and consumers in the transition, good practices in farming, marketing, cooperation and policy support. Experts from different European countries all agreed that strong political and public support, including changing the focus of the CAP were indispensable for a large-scale agroecological transition.
The following week on 5th December, On the 5th of December the “Agroecology: Vision to Action” workshop was organized by Védegylet, ESSRG with the cooperation of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture. The aim of the workshop was to connect actors from agroecological initiatives in Hungary and form a basis for future cooperation of the stakeholders. During the first part of the day, participants created a common 20-year vision, agreeing that: in a positive future, food systems will be rooted in local communities; functioning independently from external inputs. In the afternoon, the long-term visions were then translated into short term goals and actions. The groups have agreed in their first main goal: to create a network of agroecology in Hungary, advocating for common interests and creating a background for education and awareness raising; while providing a common, agreed context for agroecology in Hungary. At the end of the day, participants agreed to continue working together and Védegylet has ensured to aid this cooperation in the future.
The next step is going to be indeed the co-creation of a common definition of ‘agroecology’ as it is understood in the Hungarian context. Védegylet will facilitate a session where the draft definition will be discussed using participatory democratic methods among the participants at the annual joint conference of the Hungarian Permaculture Association, the Network of traditional/alternative fruit growers of the Carpathian Basin and the Hungarian Agroforestry Network (AFINET) on 25th January.
The research « Mapping agroecology in Hungary” is supported by Agroecology Europe, and is also part of the European-wide mapping project on Agroecology carried out by the Agroecology Europe Youth Network.
The three panel discussions of 27th November were filmed and can be seen here(http://védegylet.hu/megtekinthetok-az-agrookologia-konferenciarol-keszult-felvetelek/ ); in the near future English subtitles will be added.
Find out more information about the conferences in English/French and in Hungarian http://védegylet.hu/ket-nap-az-agrookologia-jegyeben/.