Romanian Village Farming 22nd -29th August 2017

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Erasmus+ structured courses for staff

22nd -29th August 2017

Romanian Village Farming – Focus on Hay Meadows, Leaf Hay & Subsistence Farming

Hay is at the base of almost all traditional meat & dairy farm products – even to the farmyard chickens eating grasshoppers brought into the yard with the new hay crop.   Hay – especially cut with a scythe, has shaped Romania’s rural cultural landscape and resulted in enormous biodiversity of flowering plants, insects & birds. Other important & ecosystem shaping farming activities include grazing and cutting (shredding/pollarding) trees for leaf hay and for fencing without wire.  The structured training course develops out of  ‘Green Village – Rural Food’.

DAY ONE – arrive to Sibiu/Cluj Napoca and travel to the market town of Aiud in Alba County. After lunch visit a local fruit tree nursery to see how they grow and perpetuate local fruit varieties and the importance of this for nature conservation.  Evening meal in Aiud – traditional local products.

DAY TWO – Visit the village of Girbovita. We start a ‘day on the farm’ – visiting wood pasture / vine yard / hay meadows / orchards & vegetable gardens.  In each, the focus is on the wildlife potential of these traditionally farmed areas – we look out for insects, birds, trees and flowers – their importance & significance is discussed. Haymaking – we might learn to cut with a scythe and will certainly turn hay and make a hay stack. Lunch at the farm. Return to Aiud in the afternoon.

DAY THREE – Early start into the mountains to visit the village of Rimet. We drive up through stupendous oak forest – stopping to look at this specific biotype (depending on season, there are a variety of edible fungi).  We break out from the forest into high hay meadows and pastures – the flowers and cacophony of insect noises is startling.  Look at flowers, identify some of the more notable ones – learning their local names & uses. We visit the traditional steep pitched roof houses and admire how they blend into the landscape. Visit the mayor & hear about how this mountain village ticks – with agriculture at its base. Walk through hay meadows and look at shredded ash trees – producers of leaf hay, especially when grass hay is in short supply. Visit the etnographic museum in the village and meet Torita, the lady in charge of the museum.

DAY FOUR – Return to Girbovita for a day of making preserves ( tomato juice/aubergine & peper chutney) for the winter. Lunch at the farm. Visit the fence without wire and go into the forest to see the source of the small roundwood – discuss the nature conservation value of pollarding & coppicing.

DAY FIVE – Market day in Aiud, spend the morning browsing the stalls, afternoon transfer to Alba Iulia for a visit to the new forest park & footpath/cycle-way on the edge of the city, walk the path looking down on the city. Overnight Alba Iulia.

DAY SIX – Drive along the Mures river – see bee-eater colony and rich wet woodlands. Visit the Saxon church at Vurpar.  Carry on to Homorod to the wood pasture with its ancient poplars and willows.  Look at the old trees and discuss management and the future for this kind of village pasture.

DAY SEVEN – early morning departure from Sibiu/Cluj airport.

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