Celebrating food culture in heart of Carpathian mountains

Two weeks ago, peasant farmers and activists from all over Romania came together in the small mountain town of Rosia Montana for FanFest – a festival forming part of a wider demonstration against a proposed gold mining project. If carried out, the mine will become the largest open pit gold mine in Europe, destroying the surrounding mountains and poisoning the landscape and its inhabitants with cyanide. The argument aganist its development given by demonstrators is that while gold might be the temptation from down below, the real richness lies in the sustainable agriculture and quality products offered by small scale farmers working and protecting the area’s extraordinary landscape.

Local products from the region

Rosia Montana withstands through culture” was the slogan of this year’s FanFest (Hay Fest in English). The event saw 4000 people gather, united in their interest in this mountain village and their belief in the healthy, diverse peasant products offered by the surrounding small scale farmers.

The FanFest peasant market celebrated healthy food, produced by small peasant families that respects the environment and consumers. Small producers from all over Romania fed the visitors and the village inhabitants with products made from both traditional and creative recipes. Visitors could enjoy the taste of local honey, cheese or bread baked at the famous Old Mill from Hosman, Sibiu county. Fresh vegetables or processed ones, such as “zacusca”, delighted the curious crowds attending the festival. Home made brandy, traditionally known as “palinca”, completed the diverse and rich peasant tables.

Luiza Boldizsar, a traditional baker

Luiza Boldizsar, a traditional baker from Transilvania remarked: “People feed themselves with bread every day, not with gold. My job is to offer healthy, nutrious bread for the people from my region. The Government must put the lives and health of the Rosia Montana inhabitants in front of the interests of a foreign company, and assure them sustainable jobs. However, it must also preserve the grass under their feet.”

“The prosperity and richness of every rural region must be measured thorugh its agricultural diversity and its respect towards nature. The mountains of Rosia Montana are offering honey and milk through the farmers’ bees and freely grazing cows. It is our duty to protect this legacy for the sake of the next generations”, concluded one of the event organizers.

During the festival, many photos were taken for the Good Food March photo campaign. People were invited to write a message about the future of food and farming they want in this round of the CAP reform – the first one since Romania joined the EU. You can find all the photos and more information about the Good Food March here: http://www.goodfoodmarch.eu/home.html