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.