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May 10, 2017

Recent snowstorm - a wake-up call for all

Heavy snow on April 20th
Heavy snow on April 20th

This year Moldova was hit by a very unusual phenomenon – a heavy snow storm at the end of April when most fruit trees were already in bloom. Some places got up to a meter of snow in less than 48 hours. According to news reports, over 10,000 trees got broken in our capital city alone, 679 communities around the country lost electricity and when the snow started melting fast, many houses and agricultural fields got flooded.

This is just one of many examples of how climate change affects each of us and why an Environmental Training Center is so crucial in Moldova to help educate people about environmental issues, showcase sustainable practices and, more importantly, build a strong network among different stakeholders to reduce environmental damages and build more resilient communities. Together with you and your generous support, we can succeed!

Although the Center is still under construction, we’ve started a new program – active Organic focused on organic agriculture and permaculture. In a series of practical workshops and study visits we’ll cover such themes as soil rehabilitation, plant protection, efficient irrigation systems, CSAs (community supported agriculture), rural entrepreneurship and more.

First activeOrganic seminar brought together 30 participants from 15 regions in Moldova (selected out of over 100 that expressed interest) and included farmers, professors, NGO representatives, students, state officials, all eager to learn and practice environmentally-friendly agriculture on the land they own. One participant mentioned: “I was growing potatoes on the same piece of land for 16 years, not realizing how this practice depletes the soil. Now I’m ready to try crop rotation, and other soil rehabilitation practices like mulching and composting”. Many other participants mentioned that the training exceeded their expectations and they are looking forward to the next ones.

Thank you for making trainings like this one possible! Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. This summer we plan to apply natural plastering and we really need your support to employ more people from the village to finish cob walls by autumn.

With gratitude,

Liliana Botnaru

Flowering trees breaking under heavy snow
Flowering trees breaking under heavy snow
First ActiveOrganic training in the new Center
First ActiveOrganic training in the new Center
Practical workshop on fast composting
Practical workshop on fast composting
Applying permaculture principles in garden design
Applying permaculture principles in garden design

Links:

Jan 26, 2017

Community actions - multiplying effect

Mobilizing volunteers for tree-planting
Mobilizing volunteers for tree-planting

Dear partners,

Thanks to your support in 2016 we managed to complete construction of the wall frames of the Environmental Training Center and cover it just before the first snowfall.

Since there is a fair amount of wood used in natural construction, we initiated several tree-planting actions this autumn in an attempt to reduce the Center’s footprint. Through one of EcoVisio’s projects – Seed it Forward – more than 100 volunteers were mobilized to plant trees on public land, prone to erosion or soil degradation. Just in Riscova, were the Environmental Training Center is located, volunteers planted honey locust, poplar, ash, maple and acacia trees, as well as bushes like rosehip over about 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) of public land. Tree-planting actions were also organized in other parts of Moldova through Seed it Forward initiative this autumn and will continue in spring.

As the Environmental Training Center is taking shape, its impact is already noticeable. I mentioned in our previous report how one of our training alumni got inspired to build a solar dehydrator for drying fruits and vegetables at Eco-village Moldova. But the initiative did not stop there. A month later he helped built a similar dehydrator for another NGO “Gradina Moldovei”, which promotes organic gardening and a first heirloom seed bank in Moldova. Then, in October-January, the same alumni helped facilitate a series of workshops on building and using solar dehydrators. As a result, one more dehydrator was built with participation of local community members and is now accessible at the village Public Library in Riscova. Study visits to that library were organized for local school students to learn more about renewable energy, healthy diet and social entrepreneurship ideas, like fruit drying.  

All these initiatives would not be possible without your care and support. We’d like to sincerely thank each one of you for believing in this project, donating to it and spreading a word about it!

Planting trees to prevent soil erosion
Planting trees to prevent soil erosion
Training room and kitchen taking shape
Training room and kitchen taking shape
Eco-Training Center ready for winter
Eco-Training Center ready for winter
One of solar dehydrator trainings
One of solar dehydrator trainings
Drying fruits and vegetables using solar energy
Drying fruits and vegetables using solar energy
Oct 14, 2016

Training Center taking shape

Draft design of the Environmental Training Center
Draft design of the Environmental Training Center

Dear friends,

Autumn is harvesting time for most Moldovans, and Environmental Training Center is no exception. It’s been a busy summer, but now it’s time to reap what we have sown. Our Center started taking shape: foundations are ready, wall frames are mounting up. The Center will inclue a big conference room with natural light, a well-equipped kitchen, dining area in a green house up front and a few rooms for hosting training participants on the second floor. We hope to put a roof over the training room by the end of the year. There is still a long way ahead, but I trust that with your support we’ll make it happen.

Our educational programs continued this summer, ranging from one-day workshops for people in the village to week-long international seminars. Organic gardening and vegetarian cooking workshops turned out to be most popular, drawing over 40 people at a time. As one participant of the vegetarian cooking workshop noted: “I’ve been to many similar events, but this one was the most inspiring and fulfilling. Maybe it’s the special atmosphere I found here, maybe it’s your practical approach to training. I can’t tell, but I appreciate this workshop a lot”. Local community members were more attracted by the theme of upcycling old clothes into carpets and toys.

One of ‘activEco - sustainability in action’ alumni got inspired by his training and decided to take action by making a solar dehydrator from construction scraps he found laying around. The dehyrator allowed us to dry fruits and vegetables grown in the garden over the summer and preserve them almost at no cost. 

International seminars, like “Actors of Transition” gave an opportunity for people in the village to meet participants from Greece, Germany, Spain, Armenia and Poland. It led not only to a cultural exchange, but also joined efforts to rehabilitate a local soccer field, resulting in a friendly match. These seminars also allowed local families generate some income by hosting training participants. One elderly woman was able to cover all her winter heating costs and some house repairs from hosting training participants this season.

The interest and response we get from training participants and the impact felt in the village just demonstrates the dire need to keep developing the project.

Thank you for donating and spreading the word about this initiative! 

Training room that will fit up to 50 people
Training room that will fit up to 50 people
Organic gardening - a sustainable social business
Organic gardening - a sustainable social business
Fresh from the garden straight to cooking workshop
Fresh from the garden straight to cooking workshop
Local youth & Actors of Transition joining hands
Local youth & Actors of Transition joining hands
Eco-construction workshop is fun!
Eco-construction workshop is fun!
Training Center frame is coming up
Training Center frame is coming up

Links:

 
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