SLOVAKIA – Rural Food

SLOVAKIA – Rural Food

The Ipel Union was formed 17 years ago and is a not-for profit NGO. Their objectives include strengthening links between Hungary and Slovakia, preserving and revitalising the natural and cultural heritage of the Ipel River watershed area, supporting rural development and local community capacity building through education and training. All of their activities are focused on education, the environment, culture, capacity building, rural development and tourism. The Ipel Union also has a planning and managing role in the local RAMSAR site, which is a world recognised wetland. Past projects included an inventory of obsolete pesticide stocks in Slovakia and Hungary, with Dutch & British Government funding, as well as inventories of all-kinds of pollution sources in the Ipel watershed with EU Phare funding. The Ipel Union run an environmental training programme for people who are unemployed.

The Ipel Union works in a disadvantaged region having a peripheral character due to its location in the Slovak-Hungarian border region, which has been neglected for decades. This is why most of their target groups are in a disadvantaged position being members of groups at risk of social exclusion because of their ethnicity, being unemployed in long-term and having to live with the lack of opportunities. Participation in this project would be an invaluable experience for their adult learners and for thier organisation to share their experiences.

In August, 2 UK participants went to Slovakia to see the celebrations of the local harvests and experience local foods and traditionas associaited with them. The groups were taken to their accommodation just outside Sahy and met the other “Celebrating Seasons” participants there.