ADEPT is seeking funding for building a village Milk Processing Unit.

280.000 € are needed  for milk processing plant restoring & equipping.  

We believe that a different future can be written. A future that allows consumers to enjoy quality products that carry with them all the richness and the uniqueness of the Târnava Mare area. A future that allows farmers to make a living and continue to maintain their constructive relationship with nature and be prosperous.

Project Overview

Beneficiaries

Viscri Farmers Association
5,000 familes in Târnava Mare
Consumers

Objective

Improve qulity of milk produced in the area by designing and creating a local cheese value chain

Outcome

Reduce poverty
Encourage people to stay in their family farms

Project Objectives

The overall goal of this project is to give some of these communities greater financial stability, and provide a model which can be used by other communities. Objectives:
Cheese: adding value locally to the milk produced in Târnava Mare; process the milk into a specialty cheese. Create and market a cheese that carries all the uniqueness of the Târnava Mare “terroir” and allows family farmers locally to benefit from part of the added value created by the processing of their milk.
Build on the strong community work done by Fundatia ADEPT, by starting small and local. The village of Viscri is the most appropriate. It has about 350 cows, of which 180 supply milk to the Viscri Grazing Association, which has proved successful as farmers have already been cooperating. We will start working with the Viscri Farmers Association to have minimum scale, and later we will scale up to neighbouring villages which share the same farming and landscape characteristics.
Processing: co-designing to succeed. ADEPT will work with the farmers to manage the investment and set up the production unit, with technical expertise from TFT and marketing support from Carrefour. Marketing and selling. Develop an original cheese recipe taking in account the type of cheese that the market would accept, containing the “values”, quality and the uniqueness of the Târnava Mare landscape. Consumers are increasingly willing to connect to nature through their food and be sure that the food they eat is healthy for them. The cheese from Viscri allows for them to do both at once. Breaking free of the ‘niche market trap’. We are planning to break out of the ‘niche’ market, which can be a trap which prevents expansion and innovation. This project will bring cheese from these HNV grassland areas into the wider market.

Beneficiaries

Farmers: immediately, 50 members of the association in Viscri. Community: social cohesion will be increased in the community in Viscri, 300 people. More widely, 5,000 farming families in Tarnava Mare as the area of purchase is increased and economic and social benefits are spread. Consumers who will have better access to quality food and will also be more aware of the values of Romanian HNV farmed landscapes and more supportive of them in their purchasing choices.

Project Location

Tarnava Mare area - establish a cheese production plant in Viscri village, which will initially purchase milk from its farmers, and gradually increase the volumes and area of sourcing of milk so that the entire Tarnava Mare area benefits. Viscri has a national reputation for tourism and food products and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Viscri milk production is average 1,400 liters of milk per day, of which 700 litres/day is collected by the Viscri Association, which has 54 members with 180 cows.

Threats to community

In spite of the valuable landscape and community, they are threatened. A sharp fall in cow milk prices in the last few years, because of cheap imports, has resulted in financial hardship and threatens the collapse of the land management system. These communities are severely threatened because their products are not properly valued by the market. Already, villages are becoming poorer, cow numbers are falling, land is being abandoned, and young people are increasingly leaving their family farms and seeing their future elsewhere.

ADEPT's Strategic Response

The future of such areas is not to be found in trying to prevent change and maintaining traditional farming practices. The future, we believe, can be assured by joining tradition to innovation, so that the important aspects of the landscape are preserved and village prosperity can be promoted by linking nature-rich landscapes to added-value products and commercial viability through smart product development and marketing. ADEPT has already worked with the village association to improve the milk price, thus establishing a strong working relationship.

Innovation and promotion for attractive livelihoods in rural areas

ADEPT’s philosophy is to combine innovation with tradition, not to conserve HNV farmed landscapes as a museum. ADEPT is using innovation at various levels to make the area more attractive for visitors and economically interesting for local people. For example, we have introduced innovative mowers in the area which are more sympathetic to small-scale farmers’ needs and to the environment, and cooperation at landscape scale can enable other groups to buy such equipment. At the visitor and marketing level, ADEPT is using smartphone apps and social media to promote the tourism and food products of the area. ADEPT hopes to develop new products also, such as high-value beef and unique local cheeses, well suited to the landscape and to continued management of haymeadows. At processing level, ADEPT has developed and is demonstrating micro-food processing plants that show how communities can meet EU hygiene regulations relatively cheaply at village level. ADEPT has had strong local impact. Now, in partnership with TFT Forest Trust Rurality, we wish to move this business-and-biodiversity project to another level, where we can have more than a niche impact, and help to save a larger proportion of the hundreds of thousands of farmers who live in and maintain these special landscapes in Transylvania, and elsewhere in Romania. This will be by working together, to give the farmers a proper value for their products, so that they are not sold as commodities competing with industrial products, but receive a proper price that values nature conservation and food quality, and in larger volumes with wider impact on the communities and the landscape. We share a desire to innovate and co-develop a prosperous future for communities and their ecosystems in Transylvania with those economic actors in the value chain who share the same interests and values.
Support

Help us restore and equipp a Milk Processing Plant for Viscri Farmers Association

The goal of the project is to design and create a local cheese value chain in the Saxon Villages area of Transylvania (Târnava Mare), which will give added value to the milk produced by grass-fed cows owned by family farmers in the region.

The Târnava Mare landscape is one of the last and richest landscapes in Europe in terms of biodiversity of the region. The cows grazing on these pastures in a “naturally organic” farming system produce a high quality milk which can be demonstrated scientifically, by analysis, to be especially rich in healthy and tasty compounds and elements. From this raw material, a cheese can be made that carries all its uniqueness and natural quality to the table of those consumers in Romania and around the world who are eager to value that quality.

This project aims to allow the farming communities (around 5.000 families) of the area, the stewards of this land, to give it the value it deserves through developing an entrepreneurial vision, differentiating their products from industrial quality commodity products, while at the same time escaping from the niche ‘trap’ that can restrict volume of sales and innovation in production, and ultimately allowing for the sustainable long term survival of these landscapes and their communities.

Support

Help us create a better future for Viscri community

  • Investigate potential recipes;
  • Repair the cheese production building, purchase and install equipment, including laboratory apparatus allowing good quality control. Consistent quality is vital to guarantee a market, and inconsistent quality is the most frequent problem for Romanian micro-enterprises;
  • Produce first professional batches in the cheese making facility;
  • Define the quality criteria of the Viscri cheese from farm to finished products. Define the production guidelines including type of animal feed; traceability; cheese recipe etc. in order to maintain unique character;
  • Draft possible marketing, packaging, brands strategy.

This project will help lift them from poverty and encourage young people to stay in the family farms.

Viscri, like many villages in Romania (and not only Romania) suffer from lack of mutual trust which undermines their ability to withstand social and economic pressures. The project will be a catalyst for cooperation and trust.

Consumers will have better access to quality food and will also be more aware of the values of Romanian HNV farmed landscapes and more supportive of them in their purchasing choices.

CSR

Corporate Social Responsabiliy Solutions

Social Responsibility of Corporates can step in and offer their support to local communities threatened with abandoment. With your company’s co-financing, we will be able to offer a better sustainable future to rural communities.

According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), “Corporate social responsibility is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders. CSR is generally understood as being the way through which a company achieves a balance of economic, environmental and social imperatives (Triple-Bottom-Line Approach), while at the same time addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders. In this sense it is important to draw a distinction between CSR, which can be a strategic business management concept, and charity, sponsorships or philanthropy. Even though the latter can also make a valuable contribution to poverty reduction, will directly enhance the reputation of a company and strengthen its brand, the concept of CSR clearly goes beyond that.”

14

Years of Activity

30

Projects

10

Awards

80.000 ha

HNV landscapes

30.000

People

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Our Strategic Partners

Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania
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