Viscri Cheese Production Centre

Design a local cheese value chain in the Saxon Villages area of Transylvania (Viscri), which will give added value to the milk produced by grass-fed cows owned by family farmers in the region.

Funded by: The Carrefour Foundation

Project Duration: March 2019 - March 2020  (1 year)

Budget: 250.000 Euro

Project Objectives

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


Viscri Farmers Association
5,000 families in Târnava Mare


Adding value to the milk produced in the area by designing and creating a local cheese value chain


Reduce poverty
Encourage people to stay in their family farms


Restoring and equipping 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.


What we will do

  • 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.

Project Updates

We are now working on this project in partnership with Carrefour Foundation (France), Carrefour Romania, Orange Foundation and Earthworm Foundation (Switzerland)-formerly The Forest Trust (Switzerland).


Carrefour Foundation  has generously donated €239,220 to the project.

With Carrefour Romania, we will also be exploring organic certification for small-scale farmers under their "Grow Romania Bio” programme.

Earthworm Foundation are providing essential expertise in product development and business development.

We have already had a few discussions with Viscri Farmers Association to set up the location of the micro-processing unit.

Initiated discussions with the Sanitary Veterinary authorities to establish the conditions that need to be met from this point of view.

Managing Body & Contact

Cristi Gherghiceanu

Executive President - Fundatia ADEPT Transilvania

Liliana Gherghiceanu

Project Manager


Overall goal: give these communities greater financial stability and provide a model which can be used by other communities.

Objectives: add value locally by processing the milk produced in Târnava Mare into a speciality cheese, and creating and marketing the cheese that carries all the uniqueness of the Târnava Mare “terroir”. Local small-scale producers will benefit directly from the added value.

Action: we will build on ADEPT’s strong community links 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, in which farmers are already successfully cooperating in other ways. We will start working with the Viscri Association, and later we will scale up to neighbouring villages which share the same farming and landscape characteristics.


The village of Viscri has been selected as the most promising site for the processing unit. The village is remote, and surrounded by pastures and meadows with exceptional diversity of wild flowers and herbs, which have a strong effect on milk quality and also present a strong marketing image for products linked with the grasslands, including milk and meat.


ADEPT will work with the farmers to manage the investment and set up the production unit, with technical expertise from The Forest Trust and marketing support from an retail expert.

Marketing and selling

ADEPT will develop an original cheese recipe taking in account the types of cheese that the market demands, containing the “values”, quality and the uniqueness of the Târnava Mare landscape.

Unique Selling Points

Consumers wish to connect to nature through their food, and be sure that the food they eat is healthy for them. The cheese from Viscri allows them to do both at once. This product will 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.

Our Partners

The project is funded by the Carrefour Foundation. The link was made possible by the vision of the Earthworm Foundation. We will work closely with Earthworm’s Rurality Programme during implementation of the project.

Our Partners

Biodiversity conservation and community development in Transylvania