I am taking advantage here from an older story. When I, as a city boy, first came to live in Lețcani village, I tried to identify myself with the peasant life style. The one we all would like to tick off and which in our dreams allures us with meatballs, sarmale, pies, tomatoes, setting up the hammock, drinking the cold refreshing fountain water and laying the gazebo.
I assumed I knew a lot about this lifestyle, thinking that literature and newspaper had prepared me well enough for my coming peasant integration. Like Bouvard, like Pecuchet, I was in that safety net area where I knew I was going to conquer the life, the Earth, the bees, the growing rhythm of the parsley.
If there is anything easier on this world it is about proving as the city boy succeeds to heat himself with the the fountain chain in the face, how he cannot tell the difference between parsley and hemlock, how he encyclopedically gazes at the technique of removing shoots from tomatoes and dahlias, how he wonders that acacia does not make apples or the linden tree is not precisely a a species of pear tree.
Being 13 km away further from Iași is not that much. But it is either too little. You come burdened by the city and you just know you will first build a gazebo, a fountain, a cellar to keep as a spare a connecting bike and you imagine that everything will be just like in your city life.
If you come with such thoughts, chances are quite big that you will end up smiling at yourself and the your silly thoughts.
The land is an analogue technology which you will understand presently. And nowise you will not understand it either by translation and adjusting. It is not enough to want a gazebo, lots of trees a wine cellar and a heaps of flowers.
After I got in the countryside, paying a visit to one of my good friends, I had the chance of talking a little to his grandfather. And I told him about the flower grown by Sonia and myself in the garden: some popped up beautifully, others stubbornly decided to shame us. I was telling him all these with the hope that I could get some expertise. That I would get the confirmation at least that flowers were not supposed to be planted with their roots up. That did not happen. But I was allowed to take his picture right in the moment he said: Mr Codrin, these are my flowers!
The moment took place some years ago. I wrote a couple of things about it at some point.
Now I remember this little story because, at the institute the city boy part of me works (he is on ices.ro), I had the pleasure of assisting to a peasant consulting about food sovereignty, the right to traditional food, to tradition, to wanting a healthy food.
Many issues were discussed. the differences between ecological and traditional products, the relationship between research and rural community, the participation of some important NGOs from Romania to consultations and European strategies, the need of supporting short food supply chains, the legislation void on supporting a safe and healthy food, the strategies of the peasant communities for developing a culture of healthy alimentation.
The coffee break was not taken, but the gem break of, syrup break, home-baked bread break, porcini mushroom salad break and, finally, doughnut break were not missed.
And so I remembered this little story with the picture above where, a discontented I was still thinking about tomatoes.
Among the guests I could identify at the meeting the following: Raluca Dan and Ramona Duminicioiu (from Eco Ruralis), Adina and Paul Bordei (from Dor de Verde), Stela Zămoiu and Vali Cucu (produceres of peasant seeds and traditional vegetables), Ana Elena Gheorghică and Alexandru Bodnar (from Mai Bine and Cuib), Ioan Creţu (GAL Valea Racovei, Vaslui), Genoveva Cojocaru (Prodsor Romania Oţeleni), Stoica Loredana (Syrups and gems from Bukovina), Valentin Mihai Bohatereț, Ioan Sebastian Brumă, Lucian Tanasă, Sebastian Doboș and Codrin Dinu Vasiliu (all five from the Institute of Economic and Social research ICES).
Mrs Stoica Loredana provided that break which was not a coffee break.