Apply to Join
Jun 9, 2020

Adapting to new realities

Organic garden offers healthy foods in a pandemic
Organic garden offers healthy foods in a pandemic

Dear partners,

As the world started to slow down in the face of a global pandemic, it offered all of us a chance to re-think what we do, how we do it and why. For our project the quarantine brought a new challenge of shifting most trainings on-line, cancelling planned camps and seminars, re-thinking financial sustainability. But it also gave us the space to re-design our garden, upgrade our rainwater collection system and focus more on organizational development.

Aiming to become more educational, our garden was re-designed to include a clear crop rotation plan, promote biodiversity, measure precipitation levels and demonstrate water conservation and soil rehabilitation techniques in gardening, like terracing, mulching, composting.  

Last autumn we installed 2 water tanks (of 20 and 28 tons) to collect more rainwater. Despite a serious 8-month drought this season, we managed to collect 40 tons of water this winter from hoarfrost thawing on the roofs and a single small snowfall. Collected rainwater has been used for garden irrigation and construction needs. We’d like to promote rainwater collection among people in our village to reduce instances of some households at the beginning of the water pipeline losing access to drinking water when other people down the line use it for irrigation.

COVID-19 showed once more the importance of building resiliency and sustainability on a local level. For us, it means working with our neighbors on climate adaptation measures, eco-friendly gardening, developing structures for seed sharing, local food markets and more importantly, encouraging mutual support and care within community.

This is the time when many sustainability practices explored in ecovillages can become mainstream and your contribution for projects like ours could make all the difference.

We value your support in these challenging times and cherish our partnership!

Redesigned educational garden plan
Redesigned educational garden plan
Climate change training for high-school teachers
Climate change training for high-school teachers
Delivery of a 20 t. tank for rainwater collection
Delivery of a 20 t. tank for rainwater collection
Greening up and team-building training for staff
Greening up and team-building training for staff
Greening up workshop for catering social business
Greening up workshop for catering social business
Jun 8, 2020

Double crisis - double commitment!

Horses grazing on our first fenced pasture
Horses grazing on our first fenced pasture

It has been little over a year and a half since the heart-breaking event of rescuing our horses and struggling to find a shelter for them in a state of emergency as winter was approaching, and now we find ourselves in - yet another crisis. Moldova’s worst drought since the 90s and the global COVID 19 pandemic are really challenging our goals and commitment...

Meanwhile, thanks to your kind contribution we HAVE reached our initial goal for funding and we are immensely grateful to you!

As I am writing this, our horses are grazing on the first piece of pasture we have managed to rent and fence. Even though it is quite small - it is a tremendous development, because pastures where animals can roam free are a very rare site to see in our country. We’re still actively looking for about 2 hectares of pasture we estimate we still need for our 4 horses.

The arena for safely interacting with the horses and practicing natural horsemanship now has a firm clay layer as a base, strong wooden boards to keep it together and a safety fence from wood poles.

Even though the winter in Moldova has been very mild, our stable has proved more practical than we ever expected and sheltered the horses all the way through the cold season. With the added wood pole fencing connecting the stable to the day boxes near the forest, our horses, when in the stable, have their running every day, while keeping the rest of the garden safe.

Our biggest excitement since our last report was meeting Kathryn and Katelin, USA Peace Corps volunteers, with whom we put together future project ideas and planned the timeline for each of the horse's natural horsemanship training. Even though many of these plans have been put on pause because of the global pandemic, we’re looking forward to exploring this collaboration online.

These are challenging times - but we remain committed! And we’re looking forward to making the best of our connections - online! And bridge to the expertise of our friends worldwide to bring it home, here at the sanctuary in Riscova. And we’re enthusiastic and humbled to have the opportunity to slow down, as a project, maybe altogether as a nation, as a planet, and rethink our priorities, our actions and re-discover our connection with the environment around us and the beings that have helped us come so far along. 

So far we have:

  • Built over 350m of wood pole fencing, from the stable to the day boxes, around the arena and a small pasture outside the arena.
  • Finished up to 90% our 80 sq. meters stable, with just the final wall cover, doors and furnishing needed for the second floor, where volunteers and participants will be hosted.
  • Arranged the 300 sq. meters arena, now missing only the top layer of sand.
  • Purchased nearly 1.5 thousand straw and hay bales from local farmers, which we used as bedding and food through our 2 cold seasons here.
  • Produced an estimate of 24 tons of compost we have already incorporated in the garden of EcoVillage and surprisingly, sold about 150 sacks of clean manure to be mixed with clay for applying the finishing layer on the walls of the house of a local farmer who is building the entire structure by hand, using only ecological, traditional methods.
  • Hosted over 60 events, meetings, workshops, seminars, group visits, including a festival. This way our horses have already interacted with several hundred people and the word has spread to thousands with the help of more than a dozen articles, blog posts and interviews published in the local media.

All of these have been possible also thanks to your involvement. Thank you.

Much work remains to be done and we are up to it! Thank you for being here for us since this was just a wish with a plan - up until now, in this difficult period.

Wise is closely inspecting new arena floor
Wise is closely inspecting new arena floor
Stable proved very practical and horses seem happy
Stable proved very practical and horses seem happy
Group visit and nearly finished stable in the back
Group visit and nearly finished stable in the back
Day boxes outside-good walking space during winter
Day boxes outside-good walking space during winter
Yuki has matured beautifully under our eyes
Yuki has matured beautifully under our eyes
Volunteer Annie, preparing tack for pasture season
Volunteer Annie, preparing tack for pasture season
One of many mesmerizing mornings on the pasture
One of many mesmerizing mornings on the pasture

Links:

Dec 11, 2019

Cartoful Riscovean: A Local Potato Collective

Dear Friends,

As many of you may already know, Eco-Village Moldova is situated in a small village in the heart of Moldova called Rîscova. Rîscova, despite its small size, is well-known in Chisinau public markets for its potatoes. After the success of our first annual Rîscova Potato Festival in 2018, we founded Cartoful Rîscovean, a cooperative that grows potatoes without the use of insecticides, fungicides, or any chemical fertilizers. The cooperative is made up of Rîscova locals, and for today’s report, we interviewed one of the producers, Aurica.

Although originally from the village of Cocieri on the other side of the Dneister River, Aurica has been living in Rîscova for over three decades now. Aurica married a local from Rîscova and has two children who have since moved away after starting their own families. Prior to the project, Aurica could often be found tending to the fields and taking care of things at home.

“I joined Cartoful Rîscovean for a number of reasons, but from the top of my head, I’d started to become more interested in learning about ecological agriculture recently, especially after more and more interactions with Eco-Village [Moldova]. My primary motivation is for produce that goes to our children’s table to be healthier, so I wanted to learn how to grow more natural potatoes and other crops [to create that] healthier society.”

Aurica was one of our first producers and to this day, is one of our most enthusiastic producers. Prior to joining the collective, Aurica and her husband had been selling potatoes at a farmer’s market in the city; now, through Cartoful Rîscovean, they sell at an ecological farmer’s market. Growing potatoes more naturally has not always been easy for the local producers, and there have been some growing pains in the switch. In order to help guide them through the change, we brought in an expert in organic agriculture to help the producers.

“Producing natural potatoes is quite difficult, without the use of insecticides, it becomes a lot of work to deal with the [Colorado potato] beetles. Especially when everyone else uses insecticides, the beetles come to our land more often. Despite that, the expert and the coordinator [for Cartoful Rîscovean] have both given us a lot of encouragement and help. In fact, through the project, it has been significantly easier for us to find buyers and we have been able to sell our potatoes much more easily.”

Outside of the project, Aurica has expressed greater interest in learning about more ecological agriculture and permaculture, so she has recently joined us at the Eco-Village to help in our garden.

“I’ve learned a lot from working in the garden at Eco-Village Moldova as well. Mostly, I’ve learned about many different types of produce that I’d never seen before: sweet potatoes and different types of leafy greens, like kale. It has been great learning about different methods of growing vegetables and plants and how they interact with one another.”

Aurica and her husband have agreed to continue with the Cartoful Rîscovean project and at the Eco-Village. Although new, she has already made a great impression with her friendliness and diligence and we look forward to her company for years to come.

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.