PRO RATATOUILLE
Butterfly Free Flow Development
Country/ Town: Hungary, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county
Topic: Organic Agriculture

Changing communities

through farming

Why?

Hungary, where the Pro Rataouille project was initiated in 2012, is one of the EU member states ridden by poverty. Statistics differ, but the following things can be taken for granted: around 10% of the Hungarian population is Roma, most of which is poor and living in segregated rural settings. Pro Ratatouille is focused on these areas, especially knowing that the potential of agriculture on the rural level is not used adequately and that active citizenship, a flagship of the European Union, is difficult to realize in these regions because it is difficult to find topics which directly concern and appeal to people.

Pro Ratatouille concept turns to economy in a new sense, where small scale economic activity, circular economy, organic development contributes to the overall well-being of the members of society, and so the well-being of the society as a whole.

The aim

The aim of the programme is to start and maintain sustainable, small scale agricultural projects in cooperation with the local government and the involvement of disadvantaged Roma and non-Roma members of the community. After meeting the needs of the producers and the villages, it is our aim to introduce a fair-trade brand with emphasis on quality, solidarity and sustainability. The development of the brand would enable the connection of producers through a social business inspired company that would produce its profits with environmental and social awareness.

Pro Ratatouille, a community based organic agricultural program for disadvantaged Roma and non-Roma people, aims thus to spread sustainable developmental models among small village communities. The main reason behind this goal is the fact that community based agriculture helps to develop community awareness, lowers unemployment, fights malnourishment and introduces a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Combined, these effects positively influence the worldview of the participants and show a livable alternative to younger generations. The program also helps to fight the prejudices towards the Roma minority by enabling Roma and non-Roma members of a community to work together towards a common goal.

Project

Timeline

BFFD wins the prize of Social Business Idea contest and starts cooperation with the ERSTE Foundation. This marks the moment when Pro Ratatouille project, with the help of Alina and SIMPACT, begins its story!

BFFD starts working with villages from Norway as an international network and, in consequence, establishes working contact with other international organizations. In the same time, it starts working out the marketing and branding system for offering a clear perspective over their work within the Roma communities;

Was marked by festivities, educational and community events, markets and more other public festivities where Roma and non-Roma people could gather and communicate about the Butterfly Free Flow Development project, as well as social and community related topics, thus, a place for discussion,inclusion and togetherness was born.

*not a direct achievement of the project, but nonetheless Butterfly Free Flow Development team considers it worthy of being mentioned: after years of talking about the issue, the need of “problem solving approaches” was finally pinned on the international agenda under the ERGO – Brussels based Roma umbrella organization.

” The cross-cutting approaches are known at the level of civic organizations, but at funding level, it was not practiced yet. We are not directly profiting from this efforts, but it is still an important development. We also make efforts to give information about the working way of ERSTE Foundation. ” (Butterfly Free Flow Development team)

Meant a healthy production of 25-30 types of vegetables. That means about 104,81 quintals from 6 villages (4 in North-East Hungary, 2 in Pest county) and 10.400 sqm of cultivated land. What is more impressive is the fact that the leafy vegetables were excluded from the counting, and only the heavy ones were being weighed!

Important people

and resources

Melinda Kassai, Project Coordinator

Firstly I have to mention ourselves, our little team. Without our engagement and drive which served as a running engine this project, we could not achieve our results and overcome any obstacles. I mean, certainly not in the beginning, when we continuously heard that it is impossible.

Local trainers and instructors who are involved in the project

People from the ERSTE Foundation: Hajni, and later Alina, Franz, Camillo

Because, as Pro Ratatouille team says, “The true partnership which we could build up was really important to us.”

Local municipalities that accepted to build up a partnership

Core members of SIMPACT who offered their support

Achievements

One of the biggest achievement of the Pro Ratatouille project is the fact that it put together a complex methodology, which is ready to be scaled up and out and which can be easily used in other countries as well. If one adds to this the development of the “Pro Ratatouille network” and the fact that Pro Ratatouille found a donor, from the start a big challenge, BFFD seems rather successful within their community. Finding a steady sponsor was harsh, as hard as building now a steady relationship with it and finding other ones to join the community. But, zooming out, on the international level, seems to build up some confidence about this matter: Pro Ratatouille is selected by Social Platform, a Brussels based NGO, to be presented as a good practice at the social summit from November 2017.

The Social Platform nomination strengthens what Pro Ratatouille sees as a relationship with alike international minds. This also means that organizations are able to show that there are good grass-roots initiatives, but they need more tools and means to help further.

Challenges

Lack of human resources caused by the huge number of immigration

“There are about 500.000 Hungarian people emigrated (the young and educated ones), and presently, wages in other sectors are higher that we can pay. This is slowing down our development plans for fundraising, marketing and communication.”
(ProRatatouille team)

Creating a space

Where work can be done around the “win-win” principle and enabling partners to realize and work with the same mutual interest

Finding donors

Engaging them in a mutual benefit dialogue. Pro Ratatouille wants to open their doors for sponsors and partners that can come with solving and cross cutting approaches, and also to create the needed space where these sponsors can also learn about the need of NGO’s, and not only the other way around.

Financial insecurities

Finding ways towards expanding this very valuable work

Administrative obstacles

Difficult politics schemes from Hungary and the quite hostile environment towards NGOs

Extra

content available in local language

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